Written by Paul Monopoli
Let me start off with a little known fact: While Microsoft have been active in the home console market for roughly a decade, Apple were there first. The Pippin console was designed by Apple Technologies & marketed by Bandai, in a similar arrangement to the 3DO which was licensed by a few different companies.
Firstly thanks must go to the good people at Celga who are always fantastic in both customer service & response time for when you make a purchase or a bid. They’re not only useful for Japan Yahoo Auctions & if you’ve never used them before I suggest going to their website & checking out their FAQ. to see where you can buy from.
To cut a long story short we discovered someone in Japan who had come across some Bandai Pippins in a warehouse. The price was so good we bought 4 of them: 2 white “Atmark” Pippins & 2 “@World” Pippins. These are machines that can go for $500+ each on Ebay!
Let’s begin with the “Atmark” model. In Japan the “Atmark” was released first. This is the white model. The “@World” was the black model released in America & towards the end of it’s life in Japan. The “Atmark” is the more common model that appears frequently on Ebay.
Here it is, a brand new, never before opened Apple/Bandai Pippin. I confess I had some reservations about opening the box, but here goes…
The console is on the top with the accessories in the little white box sitting underneath. Let’s check out the console first.
On top we have some manuals, advertising & a CD catalogue. Nothing too interesting there. Let’s move those & unwrap the console.
Wow. I’ve been wanting one of these for a very long time & to actually get 4 of them in brand new condition… it really is about being in the right place at the right time. Now for the accessories. Lets check out what’s in the white box.
Some more manuals & there’s the Applejack controller that we covered HERE. Let’s move the manuals & see what’s underneath.
Top left is the box of software that comes with the system. On the top right we have the 33.6k modem that comes with it. May as well leave that there as we don’t have a dialup service to use it with.
The power & phone cables are in the bottom right with the Applejack on the left.
Here is the Applejack. As well as the buttons you can see here there are 3 buttons on the bottom & 2 orange buttons on the top. The top buttons appear to operate as a left & right mouse button along with the trackball in the middle.
On the back of the console itself we have the outputs. You have your standard AV & S-Video outputs with a VGA connection. You also have a printer connection & a connection for the modem. Let’s plug it all in.
I decided not to undo the cable around the Applejack as I have a hard time getting them back the way they were. Unfortunately I had to do that with the power cable as I don’t have a different one that matches.
Now, I own a lot of machines from the US & Japan & I’ve never had a cable that looks like this before. What is that little green bit sticking out the end? I guess I should check the manual…
Looks like it’s a ground connector. Well my step down adapter has an input for it, so that’s not a problem. Let’s turn it on.
Well it looks like it wants a CD. If you leave it long enough it performs a little animation of a CD entering the tray, then says “Pippin” & starts again. Let’s look at the software provided.
The only CD that seems worth checking out is “Word, Paint, Mail”. No games come with the console & like the Playdia it doesn’t really seem like it’s a machine for the “gamer”. That being said, Marathon (precursor to Halo) looks like it’s well worth checking out. Turning it on you see it starts up similar to Mac OS 7.5 which is the OS used for the system.
No point in checking out the mail application, but the word & paint parts of the program might be of interest.
The word part of the program has a pop up keyboard (for if you don’t have the keyboard peripheral, which I don’t) & you use the trackball to move the mouse pointer around. How about the paint application?
Again, nothing too exciting. With nothing else to do we may as well pack the console up. I’d rather get it back into the box as soon as possible anyway. Now for the black “@World” Pippin.
Hmm… the box is a bit smaller than the “Atmark”… Let’s open it & see what’s inside.
Umm… it’s just the console & a sheet of paper. As I mentioned earlier, the “@World” was released towards the end of the Pippin’s life in Japan. My personal theory is that these were leftover US machines that were sent to Japan & maybe used for warranty replacements. I could be wrong, but most of the information about the Pippin I could find doesn’t even mention that the “@World” was released in Japan, yet here we are…
As you can see, short of the branding on the front & the colour this is identical to the “Atmark” model.
Side by side there’s little physical difference between the machines. Plugging in the console we see that internally there’s no difference between the machines.
I suppose as the departed Michael Jackson used to say: “It don’t matter if you’re black or white”.