Bandai Super Vision 8000 logo Bandai Super Vision 8000
Type Console Developer Bandai \ LSI
Release Date 1979-Dec Region(s) Japan
Initial Price $560 USD Games Released 7
     by Dark Watcher
Bandai had continued their successful TV Jack console line since 1977.  The final evolution of the TV Jack series came about in 1979 with the release of TV Jack 8000.  This version was named Super Vision 8000 or Bandai TV Jack Micro Computer System.  This release not only marked the series first programmable cartridge capable console (actually the first Japan programmable cartridge based-systems), but also marked Bandai's attempt to also delve into the computer markets.  It was developed with the help of Logic Systems International (L.S.I).
The Super Vision 8000 was an impressive console for its time.  It was driven by an 8-bit NEC D780C (Z80 clone) processor capable of max 3.58 MHz speed.  It also used a General Instruments AY-3-8910 audio chip, which supported 3 sound channels and two general purpose parallel IO ports that are used for joysticks.  Similar processors could later be found in the Amstrad GX4000 and the popular Japanese MSX computer line released in the 1980s.  This makes the Super Vision 8000 well ahead of its time.  The console chassis contained a housing for the controllers and had a small divot at the bottom for possible keyboard support.
Unfortunately being ahead of its time came at a price.  The Super Vision 8000 retailed for a high price of 59,800 Yen and came with a pack in game called "Missile Vader".  The high price must have kept the console out of the hands of many gamers, especially since its TV Jack predecessors retailed for much less.  Only six other games were released.  Bandai later dropped support for Super Vision 8000 in favor of becoming a distributor for Mattel's Intellivision in 1982.  This marked the end of the TV Jack console line.
FACT: The Super Vision 8000 console layout, particularly its controllers, may cause one to believe it is a clone of the Mattel Intellivision.  Both consoles use the AY-3-8910 co-processor, but the main processors are quite different.  The Super Vision 8000 used an 8-bit Zilog clone (3.58mHz) that was oddly faster then the Intellivision's 16-bit GI 1600 (500kHz), which displayed better graphics.

The console's time of release can also lead you to believe it's a clone. Bandai announced the Super Vision 8000 at the Tokyo Trade Show in September of 1979.  It was later released in December of that same year. The Intellivision was test marketed in late 1979, and was sold in 1980.   The Super Vision 8000 is clearly not a clone.  However it is our theory that Mattel duplicated the design of Bandai's controllers.  To keep things cool, Mattel approached Bandai with an offer to distribute the Intellivision in Japan.  Bandai later continues to remain a distributor well throughout the 1980s.
     by Marriott_Guy
Notable game developer Bandai was very involved in hardware development and manufacturing beginning in 1977 with its popular line of TV-Jack pong based consoles (six total releases within two years).  Building on their mild success in this arena, the Bandai Super Vision 8000 debuted in 1979 and was the very first programmable game cartridge system released in Japan.  This timeline (1979) and notoriety (initial entry and the developer, Bandai) may be a surprise to some simply due to the fact that Japan has been a leader in video game technology for some time, with big hitters Nintendo and Sega in the fold.

While the video game player in the USA had been exposed to the new programmable game cartridge systems (Fairchild Channel F, Atari VCS, APF MP-1000, Bally Professional Arcade, Odyssey 2) beginning in 1976, pong based consoles enjoyed a prolonged following within the Japanese market.  This initially retarded the growth, development and embracement of new technology.  The release of the Super Vision 8000 was a small, but significant, step taken by Bandai in changing the atmosphere within the hardware gaming market in Japan.
Constructed of hard, thick plastics, the light grey chassis of the Super Vision 8000 is accented well with classic black molding resulting in a clean, crisp look.  Cradles for the two included controllers flank the respective sides.  This console will never be mistakenly described as being small.  The Super Vision 8000 is a healthy sized piece of hardware, relatively rectangular in design with a gradual incline of roughly 15 degrees from the bottom to the top.  The seven (7) confirmed games were rendered in 16 colors across three sound channels, graphically in between the output of the Atari VCS and the Mattel Intellivision.  Powered by an 8-bit NEC D780C running at 3.58 MHz that was complimented by a AY-3-8910 sound chip, this advanced piece of hardware was quite revolutionary, as well as expensive, at that time in Japan.  With an initial offering of around 60,000 yen ($560 USD, $1,300 USD comparable in 1979), the Super Vision 8000 was priced out of the reach of most Japanese gamers.

This console is often mistaken for being a clone of the Mattel Intellivision, primarily due to controller design.  However, the exact opposite actually applies.  The Super Vision 8000 was released prior to the Intellivision and the internal hardware specifics are completely different and not compatible at all.  The story behind the controller similarity is varied, with half of those with actual knowledge of both systems siding with the thinking that Mattel was the original developer, the other stating it was Bandai.  There seems to be more historical data to side with the former in this debate.
Though the hardware technology at the time (1979) in Japan was not as advanced as that in the USA, there is evidence that the Super Vision 8000 was developed independently, and prior to, the Intellivision.  Further, there are claims that Bandai was going to sue Mattel for patent right violation(s) when the initial Intellivision was displayed at a gaming demonstration forum.  There seems to be some validity to this story since Bandai gained the rights in 1980 to be the sole manufacturer of the Intellivision console in Japan.  With the Super Vision 8000 not selling well at the time (due to the high price and a changing Japanese market), Bandai focused their efforts on production of Intellivision units.  This eventually lead to the cessation of production and development for of the Super Vision 8000 within one year of its release.

Bandai, though mostly known now as a great game developer, was a big player in the video game hardware industry in Japan and paved the way for juggernauts like Nintendo and Sega.  The Super Vision 8000 is an extremely rare system and is considered to be a holy grail amongst console collectors.  Games for this system will run you $100+ USD due to their rarity.  The system itself was not sold in great quantities.  Finding one at all (working or non) is quite a chore.  To land yourself a completely functional, CIB unit, expect to lay out $700+, plus S/H.  This is definitely a system that should be targeted by only the most serious of console collectors.

     Officially licensed releases
Bandai Super Vision 8000 (Model # 16131)

     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. Bandai Super Vision 8000 - System

Console Design 08 Though overly large, I love the chassis of the Bandai Super Vision 8000.  The simple design is completely functional in its design but exudes a certain elegance not found in the wood-grained housings favored by its contemporaries. 
Console Durability 08 With very little moving parts, the Super Vision 8000 is rather sturdy and not prone to mechanical failure.  Be careful with the controllers though - the cords are extremely short.
Controllers 07 The 16-way directional disc is very responsive.  The side fire button is a bit awkward to use (positioned too low) but is adequate.  I have never been a fan of the 12-button keypad, with the soft buttons are a nice touch.
Graphics 07 This is a difficult category to critique due to the limited number of game releases.  Missile Vader (Space Invaders clone) is well done and relatively flicker-free.  The same can be said for Submarine.  Othello is a bit bland, but the overall presentation is quite good.
Audio 08 Compared to the competition, this system entirely holds its own due to the AY-3-8910 audio chipset that was utilized.
Media 07 Super Vision 8000 cartridges are medium sized and well constructed.  I am not sure of the data capacity, but obviously it was sufficient for the seven games that were released for this console.
Game Library 02 Besides a couple of well done clones, the Bandai Super Vision 8000 does not really offer anything within its limited selection of titles.
Gamer Value 01 Basically zero.  Games are extremely expensive ($100+ USD) and this system is not recommended for the casual gamer.
Collector Value 10 This system is definitely considered one of the Holy Grails amongst console/hardware collectors and is extremely difficult to acquire.  Due to this limited availability, bidding wars often erupt when one does become available, driving up the price even further.  Your best bet is contact a known collector and deal with them directly.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the Bandai Super Vision 8000 was distributed on ROM cartridges.  Bandai was the sole developer of games for this console, releasing seven (7) titles during its brief life span.  Missile Vader came packaged with the system.

The boxes themselves are constructed of a rather flimsy, cheap cardboard that opens up book-style.  A plastic housing provides storage for the cartridge the game box.

Due to the extremely limited run, all games for the Bandai Super Vision 8000 are horribly difficult to acquire.  Expect to invest upwards of $120 USD for any of the titles.

An unreleased game was called Super Tank.  I have seen some pictures of this but do not know if this is a beta version or a finished game that just was never released due to the short lifespan of the system.  If you can find one, then this would definitely be the holy grail for this system.
Sample Game Play

Bandai Super Vision 8000 Game Boxes & Packaging
Bandai Super Vision 8000 Game Boxes
     Captured in-game images
Cassette 1 - Missile Vader
Cassette 2 - Space Fire
Cassette 3 - Othello
Cassette 4 - Gun Professional
Cassette 5 - PacPacBird
Cassette 6 - Submarine
Cassette 7 - Beam Galaxian
Unreleased - Super Tank
     First and third party system emulators
No emulators have been released for this system thus far.
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
8-bit NEC D780C 3.58 MHz AY-3-8910 (sound), S68047P (video), NEC D8255C (I/O) None
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
256 x 192 16 colors N\A 3 channel \ 1 noise
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
Cartridge Unknown 7 None
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
None None 16-Way Directional Disc, 12 button keypad, side mounted fire button Possible keyboard support
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
Two (hard-wired) None None RF
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Input: AC 100V, 50/60Hz, 18VA
Output A: DC 9V, 800mA
Output B: DC 9V, 100mA
None Channel 1\2 switch for Video Out
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