What was the first video game console released in Brazil?
Games are one of the main forms of entertainment around the world and Brazil stands out within this industry. According to the consultancy Newzoo, our country is the biggest game market in Latin America and it is estimated that almost 75% of the Brazilian population is video game fanadding data from the Brazilian Association of Electronic Games Developers (Abragames).
But do you know what it was the first console released around here? His name was telegame and its popularity was intense at the end of the 1970s. In the midst of the military regime, the combination of rising inflation rates and the policy of market reserve, Brazil still did not have great importance or participation in the world of games. However, an unusual partnership allowed us to have our first console in stores.
The first console in Brazil (1977)
Telejogo was launched in 1977 in Brazilian territory. It was based on Pong machines made by atari, with a wooden and metal design, two controls/dials fixed to the device and buttons that allowed alternating between “game” and “training” sessions. It also had a mechanism that made it possible to associate the equipment with channel 3 or 4 of the television, which was very practical for the TV models of the time.
With the growing popularity of video games in the 70s, Telejogo sold very well in Brazil. (OLX | Dfpvepe)Source: OLX
This console offered three games: Wall, Football and Tennis. All three had basically the same gameplay – strokes that went up or down to hit a square. Each of the controls on the device represented a team/side. Here, we can also mention the beginning of the “couch coop” in Brazil, but the logistics were still limited: if you wanted to play with a friend, you would have to leave the console on a table.
All games had pretty much the same gameplay – pretty limited for today, but very advanced for the time of release. (Mercado Livre | AVCASELLA)Source: Mercado Livre
Ford-Philco: key partnership
A curiosity about Telejogo is that the Ford Motor Company was instrumental in the launch of the console – yes, the well-known car manufacturer. In 1961, the company bought the Philco (Philadelphia Storage Battery Company), which initially worked with automotive batteries and later went on to manufacture car sound systems, portable radios, cassette players, air conditioners, among other home appliances.
As the Telejogo was a great success, the Ford-Philco division decided to release its second version in 1979. The great novelty in its hardware was the two controls now released individually. Each had a lever/stick and a button.
Another evolution happened in the number of games that the console offered. This time, there were ten, still based on the original gameplay: Paredão I, Paredão II, Football, Hockey, Target Shooting I, Target Shooting II, Barrier, Basketball I and Basketball II.
The success of Telejogo and Telejogo II made other companies test similar projects. (Games Collection)Source: Games Collection
How did Telegame “end”?
For some time, Telejogo and its “rivals” dominated the market, as video games gained popularity and it was a great novelty to be able to enjoy arcade games without having to leave home. However, it didn’t take long for other consoles like Nintendinho and the Master System to appear and steal the show. Among its advantages was the possibility of playing several games through cartridges.
Another important fact for “the end” of Telejogo was the transfer of Philco. Ford turned over the business to hitachia multinational conglomerate based in Japan, which gave up investing in the games market a few years later.
For collectors and other players who wish to have the Telejogo as a souvenir, the device can be found nowadays on sites like OLX and Mercado Livre. Prices vary according to the state of conservation and, of course, whether they work or not. In a quick search, the values are between R$ 200 and R$ 800.