A revolutionary idea that Milton Bradly no doubt had no idea just how much potential lie behind. We take handheld gaming for granted nowadays, but back in 1982 handheld video games consisted of cheap single game LCD units that were little more than child's playthings. I never really liked LCD games, they just get boring too quickly. This was the very first handheld console with interchangeable carts.
The resolution of the screen is incredibly low (16 x 16) so detailed graphics were just not possible. Think 1980's calculator screen. Most of the games are of the Atari 2600 era of gameplay, like Blockbuster (Breakout,) or Alien Raiders (Space invaders,) although some more original games like Star Trek Phaser Strike are available on this machine as well. There is at least one unreleased game, Barrage.
Funny thing about this console is that the actual carts all contained their own CPU. The "console" is just the controls, LCD panel, and a few chips. The game cartridges themselves contained the guts of the system. A very novel approach for what was at the time untried technology.
Each cartrige had it's own unique casing that allowed a cartridge to have a unique number of buttons in addition to the knob on the console. U.S. carts had vynl buttons that tend to get dented after repeated use.
There are two models, one that takes two AA batteries, and another that works from one AA battery. The second battery compartment was transformed into a "spare battery" space. Other than that the machines are identical.
Apparently the Microvision also got around, there are at least six confirmed forgien versions out there, from Germany, Italy, France, Canada, the U.K., and the Neatherlands. The European carts are pretty much identical except each cartridge is color coded, also at least one extra game was released overseas, Super Block Buster. The European cartridge also have plastic buttons that tend to break off.
The problem with collecting this console is that it's pretty hard to find complete working units. The carts may come wihtout the casing, or with screwed up buttons, or with overlays scratched off. The machine itself is hard to find with a working screen (some early models all you had to do was lay the console down a certain way to zap the screen unusable.)
The console is pretty primitive by today's standards but still has a bit of retro coolness. Pretty cheap and common on Ebay but read the description carefully.
Star Trek Phaser Strike
Super Blockbuster (French)