Game Story

My nephew loved this machine. He was raised on the NES and was a pro on every cart I installed. This was another one, I bought, installed, played and never received and trouble from the unit. One more victim of the Arizona move. This was a single monitor, 10 title machine.


Technical Information

PlayChoice was released in 1986 by Nintendo. The title was developed by Namco and licensed to Atari. It features a color raster display with a vertical orientation.

This game is built on the Namco Galaga hardware platform. Common features are 3 Z80 microprocessors and custom Namco PSG sound.

Cart ControlZ80Zilog
Video CPUCustom 6502Ricoh
Picture (PPU)RP2C02 (NTSC)
RP2C07 (PAL)
SoundCustom 5 ChannelNintendo


ActionControlUprightBar TopNotes
MoveJoystick228 Way, Black on Uprights
Tiny bat-sticks on BarTop
AButton22Black, Microswitch
BButton22Red, Microswitch
Channel SelectCone11Nintendo Cone
EnterCone11Nintendo Cone
Game SelectCone11Nintendo Cone
StartCone11Nintendo Cone
ResetCone11Nintendo Cone
GunGun11Add-on gun for Duck Hunt and Hogan’s Alley

Production Notes

This system was release in a bar top, single monitor upright and dual monitor upright. The Dual Monitor cabinet is similar to the Punch-Out!! cabinet. The dual monitors allow instructions to appear on the upper screen while the lower plays the game. In single monitor games, the instructions would switch out with the game. The PlayChoice is virtually a Famicon console with multiple cartridge slots. The games were not developed with coin counters in the plan. The arcade cabinet accepts the coins and adds time to a timer. When the time expires, the game is halted (like hitting Reset on the console) and the game select screen is displayed. Players could switch title while time remained on PlayChoice 10 title machines.

The boards are nearly identical to the NES (FamiCom) games we had in our houses. There was a security key system implemented to ensure only Nintendo Cartridges were played on the PlayChoice units. This made the home cartridges incompatible because an extra 8K of memory was added to PlayChoice carts to provide the instructions for the instruction screen and the title information for the Game Select screen.

Many titles were developed for the PlayChoice System. A version of Gauntlet was developed by Atari for this Nintendo platform. Version of Galaga and Pac-Man could be hacked into a PlayChoice cartridge. The title and instruction of the “host” title would remain but the title was overwritten.

The first cabinets had PlayChoice on the side art. The dual monitor cabinet is often labelled PlayChoice 10 because it could hold 10 titles. Not all cabinets release could hold ten, however. There is a PlayChoice 5 and several single-title machines were released.