Konix Multisystem

The Multisystem is/was probably the only serious attempt at a cutting edge British console. Well ok there was the GX4000, but cutting edge is not something you would use to describe Amstrad's Cylon attack ship.. Konix, the manufacturer, was reknowned in the game industry at the time for it's cheap, good quality joysticks. They teamed up with Flare Technologies, a company based in Cambridge to design and produce the Multisystem in the late 1980s. Initially the Multisystem was scheduled for release in late 1989 to mid 1990, however Konix really didn't have the resources for the project and the release never came, Konix imploding with the expenditure involved.

One of the Multisystem's guises

The console itself looked pretty promising, certainly capable of competing with the Megadrive which was released in Europe about the same time as the Konix was slated for release. The graphics could be pretty colourful (256 colours in fact), more colourful than any of the slated competition, except the unreleased Atari Panther, which was itself canned in favour of a later Flare design. 3D capabilities were also good, with the ST classic Starglider, slated as one of the early conversions. The system was an unusual shape, looking very much like a standard steering 'yoke'. The steering wheel's and handle bars that came with it could be detached and fitted depending on the type of game you were playing.

And another!

Slated pheripals included a 'Power Chair', which frankly looked lethal, but was however revolutionary. It was the first system to offer 'force feedback', the chair rumbling and moving with the action on the screen. Also a light gun looking like it was straight off the set of Flash Gordon was ready for release.

Jeff Minter tries out the Konix in another life!

After the death of the Konix Multisystem, Flare went back to the drawing board and designed what was to become another shortlived 'wonder' console, the Atari Jaguar.

Specs

CPU: 16-bit 8086 processor
Co-processor: ASIC processor (runs at 12MHz)
Graphics: Custom blitter
Resolutions: 256x200 (256 colours), 512x200 (16 colours), 256x200 (16 colours) from a 4096 colour palette, however the first two used up so much of the available RAM on a 256k model that they would have been next to useless..
Custom DSP Sound chip
Stereo sound
RAM: 256 to 512k (Expanded from the original 256k spec after comments (complaints?) from game producers
Storage: Custom 880KB 3.5" disk drive
Misc: Cartridge expansion slot
, two controller ports

Games

Obviously as the system wasn't released, there were no game releases for it, however here are a few notes and screenshots from the release games. Many thanks to S. White and 'sunteam_paul' for their input into this page.

Bikers (Argonaut Software)

Obviously a system that looks like a steering wheel is going to feature a fair few driving games, and this was Argonaut's offering, slated as the pack in game. It looks ok, certainly comparable with ST and Amiga games of the period. It's main purpose seems to have been to show off the 'power chair'.


Hammerfist (Vivid Image)

Platform game that Computer and Video Games (CVG) really seemed to like the look of (see preview below), as can be seen in the review below. Not sure I'd trust them though. Click on the picture for a full sized image.


Last Ninja (System 3)

Strangely behind the times, the Last Ninja's first appearance on the Konix was a remake of his earliest adventure. Doesn't look like it was updated hugely (see CVG preview below). Click on the picture for a full sized image.


Mutant Camel's '89 (Llamasoft)

Before Tempest infested the consoles of the 90s, Jeff Minter was busy spawning endless versions of Revenge of the Mutant Camels (which was available on just about every format going at the time). This version featured 256 colours and 'power chair' support.


Revenge of Starglider

Another ST conversion, Starglider was a 3D shoot'em up style game, the release of which would presumably have demonstrated the Multisystem's superior 3D graphics.


Starray (Logotron)

Another ST classic, Starray was a Defender clone reknowned for it's super fast , pretty graphics. The Multisystem's hardware scrolling and 256 colour graphics would have again made this something special.

Below is the CVG screenshot and preview of the game. Click on the picture to see the original full size image. There do seem to be a few differences between this and the above screen shot however, and it may be that CVG have just grabbed the ST or Amiga screenshots of this game and the others on this page.


Links to some classic Konix videos (Thanks to S. White for these)

Original Trailer

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=6779095719483582803

Konix Bikers

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-6085014194309857306&hl=en-GB

Konix Cube Demo

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-3973485558486766493

Starray

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-617877203538991510

Viktor the Vector Man

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=1460688655168686204


Feature in CVG about the Konix Multisystem

Many thanks to 'sunteam_paul' for this and the other CVG previews on this page. Click on the picture to see the original full size image.

 


If anyone knows of any other games or info on the Konix Multisystem then please get in touch.

This page was compiled from information from Wikipedia (specs) and Zero Magazine and and a magazine from Computer and Video Games (CVG) magazine called Video Games Complete Guide To Consoles published in 1989. Screen shots and pictures from Zero magazine and CVG.

 




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