Gakken Compact Vision TV Boy
Type Console Developer Gakken
Release Date 1983-Oct Region(s) Japan
Initial Price $99 USD Games Released 6
     by Dark Watcher
Gakken was a popular manufacturer of arcade and handheld games throughout the 1980's.  In 1983, Gakken decided to try their hand at the home console market with the Gakken Compact Vision.

The Compact Vision was a cartridge based color game system that retailed for a nice low price of 8800 Yen.  The console design is by far one of the most unique and innovative for its time.  The one controller (Yes. Only 1 Player) is built into the unit.  However, rather then using a standard joystick or paddle it used a throttle / shifter controller that shifted both horizontal and vertical.  A fire button was mounted on the side of the throttle for easy access with the right thumb.  Obviously using this type of controller would cause the small console unit itself to move around.  To alleviate this problem, Gakken added a grip ready handle. Basically you shift with the right hand and hold the console steady with the left.  The "Start" button was built into the handle and the console dash contained the "Power" and "Pause" buttons.  The console was also labeled both above the throttle and on the box as TV Boy (Japanese Text).  This may also be another name used for the console (Gakken TV Boy sounds better aye).
The console design, though unique, may have been restricting for left-handed players.  It also lacked 2-Player support.  The console may have also fell victim to the popular Famicom, which was released shortly after.  Only six games were released.  This appears to have been Gakken's only attempt at the home console market.
     Officially licensed releases
Gakken Compact Vision TV Boy

     Non-licensed hardware releases
No clones were released for this system.
     by Marriott_Guy
Consoles are rated based upon the available technology at the time of its release.  A 10 point scale is utilized, with 10 being excellent.
Console Design 01 I'll give Gakken a thumbs up for creating a very unique system.  Unfortunately, this unorthodox design does not translate into a pleasant gaming experience.  Take a look at the picture on the right - need I say any more? 
Console Durability 04 Though I have not experienced any issues, the Compact Vision is extremely light weight and feels fragile to the touch.  My guess would be that the plastic base of the controls would be the first to show signs of stress due to the thin plastics coupled with the pressure being applied during game play.
Controllers 01 This is probably one of the worst game control interfaces that I have ever experienced.  The buttons, though adequately placed, are too recessed making it difficult to push.  The console moves all over the place when playing even the most docile of games.
Graphics 02 The blocky graphics are presented in four colors (out of a palette of 8) and on-screen play is very slow.  Overall way below the standards of the era.
Audio 03 I don't know the exact specs on the audio chip, but the effects are about on par with the Fairchild Channel F.  In other words, they are very limited and hollow sounding.
Media 05 The game cartridge packs a punch due to incorporating the microcontroller along with the game data.  Games are short, so my guess is that the actual programming canvas is rather limited for storing game code.
Gamer Value 01 Most titles are knock-offs of existing games.  There is little of interest for the average gamer.
Collector Value 07 Due to its unique design and limited run, the Compact Vision is an excellent addition for both the console collector and Gakken enthusiast.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the Gakken Compact Vision TV Boy was distributed in the ROM cartridge format.  Each cartridge contained a MC6801 microcontroller along with the game code.  Similar technology was utilized in the PC-50X line of consoles (PONG on a Chip).

Gakken Compact Vision Game Boxes

     Captured in-game images
Excite Invader
Mr. Bomb
Robotan Wars
Game boxes and screen shots courtesy of Game Nostalgia
     First and third party system emulators
No emulators have been released for this system.
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
MC6801 microcontroller (contained inside each cartridge) 4 MHz MC6847 video display generator 2 KB
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
128x64 up to 256x192 8 colors Unknown Yes (specs unknown)
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
Cartridge Unknown 6 None
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
None None T-Shaped, 2 Fire Buttons None
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
One (built into system) None None RF
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Input: AC 100V 50/60 Hz
Output: DC 7.5V 500mA
None Channel 1/2 switch
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