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CED in the History of Media Technology


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APF Imagination Machine

1979: The APF Imagination Machine

The most note-worthy feature of the APF Imagination Machine computer was the integration of a videogame console onto the top of the computer console. APF was ahead of the game in this aspect, as Atari and Coleco made later efforts to turn their videogame consoles into computers. The system also had a unique 1500 baud stereo cassette deck. Monaural cassette decks were common on computers in the late 1970's for program storage, but the stereo APF deck allowed programs to be recorded on one channel and voice (such as an explanation of the tape content) to be recorded on the other. The machine used a Motorola 6800 processor and could be programmed in both BASIC and 6800 machine language.

Despite its innovations, the Imagination Machine did not sell well when pitted against either the Atari 2600 game system or other personal computers such as the Apple II that had extensive 3rd party software development. APF went bankrupt a while after the Imagination Machine came out, not because of the computer, but due to the sudden demise of the market for dedicated PONG-style TV games which had been a strong revenue base for the company.


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