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Apple Pippin – Apple making video games, what?

May 15th, 2010 by admin
Black US version of the Pippin

Black US version of the Pippin

I’ve been a game collector for a long time, but it was only recently that I heard about the Apple Pippin. No I’m not referring to a hobbit, the Pipping was Apple’s attempt at breaking into video games and multimedia. Much like the CD-i, the Pippin was designed to be released by multiple 3rd party manufacturers. Bandai was the first to pick it up. Apple created the technology, and licensed it to Bandai for production.

The Pippin was released in 1996, amongst the Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, and Sony Playstation. With a retail price of $599, the Pippin could not compete. There was shortage of software titles for the system, only 18 discs were released in the US.  The system was doomed, and quickly discontinued. Bandai produced less than 100,000 units, making this one of the rarest video game systems.

Apple described the unit as a ‘Multimedia Player’ – basically a computer with the ability to run interactive software on CD-Rom.

The Pippin 'Apple-Jack' controller - note the integrated track ball

The Pippin 'Apple-Jack' controller - note the integrated track ball

Aside from having a game controller, the Pippin has other accessories such as keyboards, modems, floppy drives, and drawing tablets – further evidence that the device was really more a computer than a game console.

The Pippin was named after an apple variety, much like the Macintosh. Below are the basic specs of the unit at launch:

  • 66 MHZ Power PC RISC Processor
  • 5 MB RAM (combined system and video)
  • 128k Flash Memory
  • 4x CD-ROM drive
  • 16bit video with dual frame buffers
  • S-Video and composite out

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