The Konix multisystem console, also known as the Konix slipstream, was a joint development between 2 british businesses, Flare Technology and Konix. Konix were on a high in 1988 after the success of their Joystick range and well known through gaming channels. Flare Technology was formed by 3 ex-Sinclair engineers, all of whome were involved in the aborted Loki "Super Spectrum", which was shelved after Sinclair sold the computer division to Amstrad. Not wanting their work to be wasted, they formed their own company to bring the idea into the real world.
Flare first developed the RAM Music Machine for the Spectrum, this used some of the ideas from Loki's sound subsystem to make a synthesizer/sampler add on
for the speccy, and generated a revenue to fund development of the Flare 1 computer system. The Flare 1 was based around the Z80 processor, had a BLiTTER
chip, 4096 colour palette, advanced 16bit sound system (8 voices) and graphics modes which rivaled the Amiga, all thanks to the custom processors within the system. This specification was very similar to the Loki, which as far as we know, never left the drawing board (Or did it?).
In 1988, Flare had a working Flare 1 board with all custom chips fully working, but they did not have the means to put it into production. An article in Persomal Computer World that year, gave a climpse of what this super machine could do. The graphics demo's were astounding, even as photographs. Flare 1
had something the Amiga lacked, the ability to do 3D polygons in the graphics subsystem (The Amiga had to do this with the CPU, just like the ST). As a result of the article, Flare and Konix got together for a meeting, and the multisystem was announced to the public a few weeks later.
The multisystem was really the Flare 1, but replaced the 8 bit Z80 with a 16 bit 8086. It was to be released in 1989 at a price point of 200 pounds, with a range of additional hardware being made available soon after. This included hydrolic chairs, light pens/guns and a whole range of additional controllers. The system never saw the light of day. Constant modifications to the case design, adding of storage devices (such as the floppy disk) caused delay after delay.
Eventually Konix folded and Flare Technology designed the Flare 2, an improvement on the origional Flare 1 machine, which would eventually be the starting point for Atari's Jaguar console.
Somehow, the system was later sold as the MSC Multi System! In fact it used the same cosmetic design but was only a controller for IBM PC compatible systems (and maybe some other type of computers), with no specific electronic hardware inside. This super controller (driving, moto and flying modes) was also marketed as the Pearl Multi-Spiele-Konsole in Germany.
Text and info by Malcolm Ramage.
We need more info about this console ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system,
please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.
Video taped footage of some unfinished games for this unreleased system survives. Could have been a great system judging by the footage.
Saturday 4th December 2010
I actually had one of those MCS controller-only devices. It might be weird but I remember that it came with a obscure, rather bland racing game on a diskette. I would love to hear from someone who still has such a disk, as I cannot find mine anymore. It was just called RACE or something like that, so it probably was only shipped with this controller. If so, it must be one ridiculously rare!
I remember a major write up in a magazine (Videogames and Computer Entertainment?) here in the US in the late 1980's. While all the add-ons and expandability were nifty, I remember a knock against this unit was that it was lacking in a few key technical areas in comparison to the competition. It's not surprising that this concept never made it to market, as it seems the developers cared about cramming every feature possible into the units without concern for getting the core out to the public.