The first gaming handheld, Surpisingly big but extremely rare.

Microvision was a hand-held gaming console that was released by the Milton Bradley Company in 1979. It was the very first handheld console to have interchangable cartridges. The Microvision led to moderate success but due to a fairly small screen and limited support from gaming companies and very few games, the sale and production of the Microvision ended in 1981.

Designed by Jay Smith (who later designed Vectrex). 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.
Microvision units and cartridges are now very rare. Those that are still in existence are susceptible to three main problems: screen rot, static damage, and keypad destruction.

Technical specifications

  • CPU: Intel 8021/TI TMS1100 (on cartridge)
  • Screen type and resolution: 16 x 16 pixel LCD
  • Register width: 4 bit (TMS1100), 8 bit (8021)
  • Processor speed: 100 kHz
  • RAM: 32 nybbles (16 8-bit bytes, integrated into CPU)
  • ROM: 2K
  • Cartridge ROM: 2K masked (integrated into CPU; each game's CPU was different)
  • Video Display Processor: Custom (made by Hughes)
  • Sound: Piezo beeper
  • Input: Twelve button keypad, one paddle
  • Power requirements: One 9 volt battery (TMS1100 processors), Two 9 volt batteries (Intel 8021 process

Microvision games