“Can I copy games illegally?”

Other magazines give you the question first and then they give you the answer. But we’re not like other magazines. We give you the answer first. Why the answer and then the question? Because we here at EF think the answer is the most important part, so we put it first. And have we got answers for you!

The answer is: A computer add-on can be a joystick forever. You don’t have to use the keyboard. Although all computer games can be played using the keyboard as controller, not all of them have to be. The games that require more complex control require the keyboard. Other games—and these will say so in the instructions-can utilize a joystick add-on that is easily plugged into the computer’s joystick port. Quite a few computer companies market their own joysticks. or you can buy one made by the multitude of independent manufacturers—such as WICO—now making such add-ons for computers. Be aware that computers like the Apple don’t have a joystick port built in. You must purchase an adapter in order to use joysticks.

I have a computer and I like to play games on it, but frankly, I’ve never been much of a touch typist. Must I use the keyboard to play or are there joysticks available for computers?

Jeon Halpern

The answer is: Randy Fromm’s Arcade School. Founded in 1980, Randy Fromm’s Arcade Schools offer training programs in how to repair coin-operated video games. The six-day course includes lectures and lab sessions that give students hands-on experience. Late model video games are used during both labs and lectures to increase familiarity with the types of machinery most likely to be encountered on a job. No previous knowledge of electronics or video games is required. Tuition is $400 and Arcade Schools are located in 11 major cities. For more information write or call: Randy Fromm’s Arcade School, 6123 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92115 (714) 286-0172.

I’m interested in going into business for myself. Since I’m a very avid video game player I thought that something related to this area would be perfect. Where can I go to learn to repair arcade video games?

Sandy Goldberg
New York

The answer is: Of course. And you’re right. The number of companies making games—not only for the VCS but for all the systems—is legion and keeping track of them is harder than remembering all the names in a Russian novel. Here’s a list of those companies currently making VCS-compatible games: Activision, Apollo, Arcadia, Atari, CBS Video Games, Coleco, CommaVid, Mattel M Network, Spectravision, Telesys. 20th Century-Fox, Tigervision, Ultravision and U.S. Games. Phew! Later in the magazine, you’ll see our ratings for every one of these games and others.

With all the new companies making Atari VCS-compatible games, it’s hard for one person to keep track of them. I was wondering if you could possibly print a list of the companies and the games they produce in your magazine.

Randy Abel

The answer is: You can use both. The Atari Expansion Module comes with joystick ports all its own, and both the Atari joysticks and the ColecoVision controllers may be plugged into it. So it’s all a matter of personal preference.

And while we’re on the subject of ColecoVision and expansion modules, if you had any plans to purchase the Intellivision Expansion Module, don’t hold your breath. According to Michael Katz, vice president of Coleco, the company has no immediate plans to produce a module for Intellivision games.

I own a ColecoVision and want to buy the Atari Expansion Module. What I want to know is, when I play Atari games, do I use the Atari joysticks or the ColecoVision controllers?

Bill van Horn

The answer is: No. Although Mattel’s new M Network includes games that are similar to games available for Intellivision, the M Network is made exclusively for the Atari

VCS and will not fit or work on the Intellivision Master Component. Unfortunately, some of them don’t fit or work on the VCS either. Many people have had problems with the Super Challenge Football cartridge, for example. If you have trouble with any of your M Network games, simply bring it back to the store where you bought it and it will be replaced with a new one. Mattel promises that in the future all M Network cartridges will be perfect.

I have Intellivision and I really love the games. I notice that Mattel has a whole new line of games called the M Network. Since I want to own all the games that Mattel makes, I want to know, can I play the new M Network cartridges on my Master Component?

Avi Liberman

The answer is: Because nothing is simply black and white anymore. Not only does the color/b&w switch control the obvious, it is also being used in an innovative way by two companies—Activision and Spectravision. In Star Master, the color/b&w switch is used to call the galactic chart which informs you of your location in space. In Spectravision’s Nexar, the switch is a “pause” button allowing you to interrupt game play in case you are losing and need a break, winning and need a break, or winning but have to take out the garbage.

There are a lot of switches on the Atari VCS and all of them seem to do something useful, reset, difficulty switch and, of course, on/off. I notice there’s also a color/b&w switch on the console but no one has a b&w TV or plays games in black and white anymore, do they? Why doesn’t Atari just get rid of it?

Michael Dinora
New York

With a sixth sense that is not to be believed, we have already divined all the answers. All we need now are questions. Do you have a question about video games or computers that matches one of our answers? If you do, send it to: Output/input, Electronic Fun, 350 E. 81st St., New York, NY 10028.

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