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CVC GameLine

Hardware theme

Published on the Gameline service for the CVC Gameline modem cartridge.

77
games
2
platforms

The first video game about CVC GameLine was released in 1978.

20th Century Fox, US Games and Imagic has published most of these games

The GameLine modem was created by Control Video Corporation). It was cartridge with 4k of RAM that allowed users to download games and access other services using an ordinary phone line.

The modem was invented by William von Meister whould had big plans for it (basically, the Internet as we know it today, but on 1980s TV sets). But intellectual property egest prevented all practical uses uses of the technology. To start out, he wanted to send music to Cable TV subscribers. This lasted just long enough the get the product built before someone decided that music was illegal if it arrived using new technology other that vinyl, cassette, or radio waves. The invention was retooled to download games, where new technology is always encourage and bizarre new legal issues were not yet made up. Customers could dial up the server, enter their PIN (if they were full members,) and download a game and 5 to 10 offline plays for it. Members also got free play for their birthdays (sucks to be born February 29th). When the plays where used, another connect was needed to add more, or download another game. There were highscore tables and other contests with prizes too. Full members received a free monthly magazine explaining the current games and activities line-up, technical help, game tips, and gaming news. This was comparable but better than what cable subscribers got for their premium channels, at the time. StockLine and SportsLine (news) were nearly added to the service. NewsLine, MailLine (like email), BankLine (online banking), OpinionLine, InfoLine (classified ads and personals), airline and public transportation purchases and time-tables, and horoscopes were planned. But this new way of delivering entertainment and practical tools apparently did not appeal to the bigger game publishers (such services will never be in demand and profitable, right?). Only Imagic and some other minor companies signed-on. The videogame crash killed CVC while Gamline was still in test market stage (a dozen or so major cites) and would never be expanded. Most of CVC's key people, including investors, then founded Quantum Computer Services. They retooled the Gameline infrastructure and added QuantumLink, for Commodore computers and delivered to C64s and C128s, almost everything that had been planned for GameLine. In October 1991, they changed their name to America Online. At some point, they dropped support for Gameline. QuantumLink support was 'migrated' to AOL for PC and Mac on 1994-11-01. In 2004, the fan based QuantumLink Reloaded succeeded in making a work-a-like clone of the original server that allows the client software to connected over the Internet when run on and emulator or a real commodore computer with Internet access. Gameline is apparently not supported.

All Gameline games were also available as cartridges from their respective publishers except for one. Save the Whales was published exclusively for the Gameline service and never published as a cartridge. However, a prototype cartridge was later discovered am the game was published in 2002.

Platforms

Atari 2600 76
APF 1

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