Microvision - 01

The first of all handheld videogames with replaceable games,
the grandfather of portable gaming fun, was the MicroVision from
Smith Engineering (later Milton Bradley)!
Yes, way back in 1979! Unbelieveable! 

MicroVision History:

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 Game Boy 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.
There are at least two different boxes which the MicroVision unit was
packaged in.
One lists only the six original carts; the second adds Baseball and
Sea Duel.
The original units did not include an anti-static shield.
These shields, which fit above the LCD screen, were included with
cartridges and also sent out with repaired units.
Two different static shields exist - one is copper in color,
the other silver.
Cartridge programming was done at Milton Bradley in East Longmeadow,
MA, Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX, and in Santa Monica,CA.
Robert Hoffberg programmed Connect Four and Cosmic Hunter, as well as
assisting on Sea Duel and Baseball.
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.

MicroVision Retailers: 

MicroVision units and cartridges are nearly impossible to find.
When they are available, it's usually at a premium - I've seen asking
prices as high as $30 for a cartridge, $75 for a unit.
However, even as a dedicated fan or garage sales, thrift stores,
and flea markets, I've only once come across any MicroVision equipment,
and at that it didn't come cheaply.


The Microvision was brought to us in 1979 by MB (Milton Bradley) who are
more well-known for board games than electronics.

It was designed by Jay Smith (also responsible for the Vectrex in 1982)
and combined interchangeable cartridges with portability.
Even though the idea was a good one the timing and support for the
system was minimal.

Initial success in it's first year of production (grossing $8 million US
plus more overseas) and the 7 game cartridges available at launch,
including the one that came with the system, was let down by the fact
that only 2 new games were released in 1980 and a further 2 in 1981 and
the final cart in 1982 signaled the end of the Microvision.

The small library of games the fact that there was no tie in to another
home system and the lack of resolution on the screen ment that the
Microvision soon faded into obscurity.

Still the fact remains that the Microvision was a pioneer it overcame
the limitations of the LED screens that were a standard for the other
single game handhelds of the time.
For all the limitations the machine had the game themselves were
quite good.

The first wave of the units used two 9-volt batteries the later
versions only used one and had a gap for a spare one to be kept instead
of the second battery.
The single battery version also had a slightly bigger control knob and
some versions also had a volume control.

The original units did not include an anti-static shield.
These shields, which fit above the LCD screen, were included with
cartridges and also sent out with repaired units.
Two different static shields exist - one is copper in colour,
the other silver.


Manufacturer MB Name Microvision
Type Handheld Origine USA
Introduction Date 1979 End of production 1982
Built in Language ??? Keyboard None
CPU Texas Instruments TI TMS1100 on cartridge that replaced the Intel (Signetics) 8021 Speed 100 kHz
Coprocessor Custom Video Display Processor (made by Hughes) Amount of Ram 32 nibbles
Vram ??? Rom 2 K
Text Modes ??? Graphic Modes 16 x 16
Colors LCD, 16x16, Monochrome Sound ???
Size / Weight 24.5x9.1x4.6 Built in Media Cartridges
I/O Ports Cartridge Slot OS -
Power Supply Batteries Introduction Price ???
Sold ??? Serial Number ???
Other Extras Boxed, 3 games (2 Boxed) Bought Where Ebay
Bought When December 24, 2002 Condition Unknown
Price Paid 14 Specs of my Model -
Setup Today -

Nicely Boxed Back View on the Box

inside the Box

Boxed Games Bowling & Shooting Star


Bought via ebay on 24/12/02
Paid 10 + 4 Shipping Costs

Came boxed and with 3 games