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Microvision

 


Microvision

The Microvision was the very first hand-held game console using interchangeable cartridges. It was released by the Milton Bradley Company in November 1979. The Microvision was designed by Jay Smith, the engineer who would later design the Vectrex gaming console. The Microvision's combination of portability and a cartridge-based system led to moderate success, with Smith Engineering grossing $8 million in the first year of the system's release. The hand-held also appeared in the movie Friday the 13th Part 2. However, very few cartridges, a small screen, and a lack of support from established home video game companies led to its demise in 1981.

Andy Stout  stoutat@southwind.net  on Friday, May 4, 2001 at 20:13:31 
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I just purchased a WORKING Microsystem in MINT condition at a garage sale with 8 games all in the original box with instructions for 5 bucks!  I was wondering if these are worth anything... let me know!

Thanks,  Andy Stout 


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Knuckles  knuckles@home.com  on Thursday, August 31, 2000 at 15:20:48 
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This was a neat little system that allowed you to play some simple liquid crystal games. each  cartridge (if you can call them as such essentiall replaced the front face of the unit and put an overlay on top of the small LCD screen. For example the overlay for Connect Four allowed the  small black squares to become circles (ingenious hehehe) 

With that in mind, one of the best and most addictive being Connect Four. Released in Canada by Milton Bradley it sold very poorly. I managed to pick mine up at a garage sale for $5 with about 10 games. I can't remember all of the titles but there was some simple Star Trek game that leaps to mind.

"Microvision was introduced by Milton Bradley in 1979.  Designed by Jay Smith (who later designed Vectrex),  Microvision combined the cartridge interchangability that was propelling Fairchild and Atari into the forefront with  the portability that had helped Coleco and Mattel sell millions of hand held games.  While the idea was fine  (witness the success of Gameboy and Game Gear), the timing and support were not.  After some initial success  (grossing $8 million in its first year of production, and boosting Smith Engineering into a million-dollar operation),  and an initial release of seven cartridges (including Block Buster, which came with the unit), Milton Bradley rolled  out just two new cartridges in 1980, and a final two in 1981.  With a small library, no tie in to a home unit, and a  screen resolution that provided little ability to produce meaningful graphics, Microvision soon became little more than a memory.

Still, the Microvision was a pioneer, overcoming the limitations of the light-emitting-diode displays that were standard  for hand-held games at the time.  For all the limitations of the unit, many of the games produced were quite good." 
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