middle 90's were an interesting time
in the video gaming world. The 16-bit consoles were nearing the end
of their active lifespans, and public attention was turning to the
new wave of 32- and 64-bit consoles. Many of these machines claimed
to be fully-featured media centres, boasting CD-ROM drives and attempting
to make 'multimedia' king. Just as with the failed keyboards that
had been attempted in the 80's, these new machines attempted to give
users cheap home computers, instead of mere games consoles. Sadly,
(or perhaps thankfully) this did not come about. The public simply
did not want machines that were so confused as to their identity.
and Bandia joined forces in 1996, hoping to jump onto the multimedia
bandwagon - one with wheels about to fall off - with their Pippin.
Essentially a Power Macintosh in a smaller case, the Pippin was to
be a cheap, easy-to-use solution for families lacking a home computer
but wanting to use the Internet and play games. Internally more powerful
than the other consoles appearing on the scene - the Saturn,
Playstation and N64 - it
could have done well. But it was received less than successfully by
a market simply not interested in set-top box computing. It was another
of the growing number of failures achieved by Apple in the '90s (who
would only begin to return to success with Steve Jobs' return), and
yet another failure for Bandai, who have had a staggering number of
Black Pippin or white Pippin? All depends upon where you bought your
machine. The North American and Japanese models are, internally, the
same, but feature differently-coloured exteriors and name variations.
very, very limited quantity of Atmark Pippins were manufactured
in black instead of the normal white. If you should find one of
these, buy it! They are considered rarest of the rare, and will
typically sell for a vastly inflated price due to their scarcity.
CPU: A PowerPC 603 running at 66Mhz - an absolute beast of a processor.
The same chip was featured in early Apple Power Macitoshes, and works
RAM: 6Mb of RAM, shared between the system and video processing.
Video capabilities: The Pippin can display 640x480 in 8 or 16bit,
with up to 16.7 million colours available.
Audio capabilities: CD-quality (due largely to the fact that it has
a CD-ROM drive!)
The Pippin was designed from the very start to be an upgradable, Internet-browsing
machine. It even ran a modified version of the Mac OS. With this in
mind, its list of expansion options reads very much like that of a
modern-day laptop: there was the modem, a RAM upgrade module, keyboard
and mouse (which, depite using the same bus, were not compatible with
Macintosh ADB connectors), and so forth. It was, in essance, a mini-Mac.