How to play old games on your computer #3: Channel F, or the VES

The fairchild Video Entertainment System(VES), later renamed to Channel F, was the first home gaming console that had actual game cartridges as we think of them today. Up to this point, the systems either had the games built in and they were selected by cart, or like the Odysee, the games were basically stand alone and unique systems that plugged into a mostly empty console.

Many will remember the Channel F for its peculiar color palette which you can see below.


Aside from the 27 games sold for the Channel F, it shipped with two games built in. Both are basically fancy pong clones.

In order to play the Fairchild Channel F on your computer, you’ll need to run the MESS emulator. Since the MESS emulator is used for some other emulation we may be doing, it gets its own install page.


Lets get the Channel F working:

1. download the Channel F “Bios”( basically the brains of the game system).
I found one place to download them. You’ll need to click “telecharger”.

2. place the Channel F folder you just downloaded in the “roms” folder of your MESS emulator (what? where is this?)

3. double click on MESS GUI and you will now find “Channel F” in the list of systems to open.


Select it and press enter. You may have to hit enter again to get past an information screen.
You will be presented with the following screen, this means that the Channel F system is working.

Now that the Channel F is booted, you can play the default games that shipped with it. The easiest way would be simply hitting the #1 on your keyboard.

You can see what the input options are by clicking on “options” at the top of the screen. this will allow you to see how to move your puck around in the game as well as change various settings on the console.


To play other games, you have to find them and download them. I found a few at You can download any of these. To play them, all you have to do is load the Channel F emulation, and at the top of the screen, click Devices–>Cartslot–> mount.

This will allow you to select the game you just downloaded and play it

Here’s an example of “bowling” on the Channel F.






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