Entex Adventure Vision
Type Console Developer Entex Industries, Inc.
Release Date 1982-Aug Region(s) United States
Initial Price $79.95 USD Games Released 4
     by Dark Watcher
In 1982, a company called Entex Industries introduced a portable system that demonstrated how well LED technology could be used in a game system.  Their system, called Adventure Vision, is not exactly what you would call a handheld.  It is called a tabletop.  It has a mock arcade cabinet design that measures 13.25" X 10" X 9".  However, the Adventure Vision still falls under our guidelines of being a console, just a portable version.
Rather then using a simple LED layout with plastic overlay graphics, the Adventure Vision used 40 vertical red LEDs and a constant rotating mirror to create "dot-matrix like" graphics at 150 x 40 resolution drawn at 15 frames/sec.  This was quite impressive for its time.  The controls accommodated both left handed and right handed gamers and (unlike LCD games) played best in dimly lit areas.  It was a power hog though, consuming 4 "D" cell batteries like it was its secondary purpose.

Even though it was an impressive machine, the Adventure Vision did not last long. Entex manufactured the units for only a year and only 50,000 systems were reportedly sold.  Other then the pack-in game Defender, only 3 other cartridges were produced (Turtles, Super Cobra and an Asteroids clone called Space Force).  Today, the Adventure Vision is definitely a hot collectors item.
FACT:  The Adventure Vision's red graphics display and rotating mirror would be used years later by famous handheld inventor named Gumpei Yokoi.  The device was called the Virtual Boy.
     by 98PaceCar
Not quite a console and not quite a hand held, the Entex Adventure Vision is one of the holy grails of video game collectors. Released in 1982 to a lukewarm reception, the Adventure Vision had only about a year lifespan on the market before it was pulled. The consoles that were sold were fragile and troublesome, so few have survived to today. This makes it difficult to find a working example and nearly impossible to find one for a low price. It's estimated that only 10,000 of the consoles were made with 1,000 each of the three extra games. The original price of the console was $79.99 with the extra games selling for $14.99.

Powered by a 733 KHZ processor (yes, KHZ, not MHZ) Intel 8048 processor with 1K of RAM and an additional 64 bytes in the processor, the Adventure Vision was not a powerhouse, even by 1982 standards.  Sound is handled by a COP411L microprocessor which allows the generation of 16 pure tones and 13 sound effects.  The cartridges are just a 1K eprom wrapped around a plastic connector that plugs into the base of the console, right in front of the screen.

The controls on the Adventure Vision consist of a short 4 way joystick flanked by 4 buttons in a diamond pattern on each side of the joystick.  This allows for ambidextrous play.  The controls feel good and work well, given the nature of the games.

The Adventure Vision's most unique feature is its display.  Created by a line of 40 LEDs and a spinning mirror, the Adventure Vision can generate a 2 color, 150x40 display at 15 fps.  Despite the relatively high resolution for an LED based game, the display is shaky and very fatiguing in even short game play sessions.

A total of 4 games were released for the Adventure Vision, which is very handy as there are exactly four spots on top of the console to store cartridges!  All four of the games are based on arcade games of the time.
The pack in game, Defender, is a bit difficult to play as it is sometimes hard to tell which lander has captured a person, but it is still fun and controls well with the joystick handling up, down, thrust, and reverse as opposed to using buttons like the arcade original.  Space Force is simply an Asteroids clone, but plays well.  There are a few moments of slowdown, in particular when the UFO crashes into an asteroid and the sound plays, but overall it runs smoothly.  The programmer was even able to capture the repetitive bass line of the arcade, though with slightly less aural impact.
My favorite out of the four games is Super Cobra, which is surprisingly fun to play.  It captures the essence of the arcade original almost perfectly.  The final game is Turtles, another arcade port which I am not fortunate enough to own or have access to for this review.  I'm always looking for it though!

As mentioned above, playing the Adventure Vision is a bit fatiguing due to it's display, but it is a fun console and the games are actually pretty good for LED games.  It is not a console you would spend a whole lot of time with, but unlike many of the other rare consoles, the games are not all bad.

If you want to add an Adventure Vision to your collection, you had better be ready to break out the checkbook.  Boxed examples routinely break the $1500 mark and can go above if extra games are included.  I've seen a small number of brand new systems floating around, but the price on those have been at the $5000 mark with the games.  The boxes are flimsy, so finding one in good shape is a bit of a trick as well.  I have never seen games sell by themselves, but the Digital Press price guide lists them at $60 a piece (which seems extremely low).

Few other consoles will have the star power of the Adventure Vision.  Its a well known grail item that any true collector will have at least heard of.  The only downside to hunting for an Adventure Vision is that you will often find yourself bidding against hand held collectors as well as console collectors, making the interested audience that much bigger.  But if you can get your hands on one, you will have a high end piece that few others will get to experience.
     Officially licensed releases
Pictures courtesy of Steve Or Steven Read
     Non-licensed hardware releases
No clones were released for this system.
     by 98PaceCar
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 06 The Adventure Vision is a very distinctive console with its miniaturized arcade machine look.  It stands among the best looking of the handheld family, but is an oddity among other consoles.
Console Durability 02 One of the primary reasons the Adventure Vision is so rare is that many of them were broken on delivery.  The spinning mirror is very delicate and easily broken in delivery.  If you are buying one online, be sure to get video of it working and pay extra for good packing and insurance.
Controllers 04 The controller setup on the Adventure Vision is ambidextrous, which is a nice touch.  The stick functions as well as any on a handheld machine and allows for good control on the games available.
Graphics 02 While the technology used to create the image is innovative, it doesn't support much of a refresh rate which can lead to eye fatigue while playing.
Audio 03 True to its handheld roots, the Adventure Vision features minimal beeps and bloops.
Media 05 Featuring games on small cartridges, the Adventure Vision continues its simple design approach on the design of the game media.
Game Library 04 With only 4 games released, there isn't much of a library to speak of. However, all 4 games are ports of great arcade games and can be fun in short bursts.
Gamer Value 01 With its high price tag, insane rarity, and limited library there's no reason a gamer should want the Adventure Vision.
Collector Value 10 With its high price tag, insane rarity, and limited library there's no reason a collector should not want the Adventure Vision. Considered a true grail by many collectors, it can easily be a centerpiece of a collection.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the Entex Adventure Vision was distributed on ROM cartridges. These carts are extremely small compared to media utilized by its contemporaries.  The boxes themselves are constructed of sturdy cardboard which contain the game, instruction manual and any correction addendum(s).

Sample Game Play (via emulator)
     Captured in-game images
Super Cobra

     First and third party system emulators

MESS (Multi-Emulator Super System) is a DOS based emulator capable of running many
 systems including this one.  It has a Windows based GUI and is extremely user friendly.
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
Intel 8048 733.33 KHz COP411L (sound microcontroller) 64 bytes \ 1 KB
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
150 x 40 2 N\A 16 pure tones \ 13 sound effects
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
Cartridge 1 KB eprom 4 None
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
1K ROM None Joystick \ Button Pad (4) None
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
One (1) Built-In None Headphone Stereo Jack N\A (display integrated into machine)
Power Supply Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
4 "D" Sized Batteries None AC Adapter jack
Entex Adventure Vision Owners Manual (PDF) - 0.24 MB

     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
Entex Adventure Vision Game Boxes

     Visitor insights and feedback
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