[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Tandy Memorex VIS

March 9th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Tandy Memorex Video Information System VIS - Tiger Electronics Catalog - 1995CD-ROM ON YOUR MOTHER LOVIN' TV!!

Back in 2009, I made a list of the worst video game systems of all time for PC World, and the Tandy Memorex Video Information System (1992) was #2 on the list.

Six years later, I am not fond of dishing out bad vibes toward any game console. But the VIS was indeed an underwhelming commercial product.

And honestly, calling the VIS a video game console is a stretch. As more of a multimedia appliance than a straight up "video game system," its lineage lay half-way between game machine and general purpose PC. Its designers intended it to run educational software as frequently as games.

For fans of odd an interesting systems, the VIS definitely stands out. Under the hood, it sported a modified PC architecture based on an Intel 286 CPU and a custom embedded version of Windows called "Modular Windows." In addition, the VIS allowed storing data on removable memory cards that plugged into the front of the console (a feature that, in game consoles, arrived second only to the Neo Geo, I believe).

Of course, ever since I saw this section of a 1995 Tiger Software catalog (Tiger had apparently bought up a clearance stock of the machines — see also this scan of the Jaguar CD in a Tiger catalog), I wanted a VIS regardless of its faults. While I have used them before — including some in-store demos at Radio Shack — I still do not have one in my collection.

[ From Tiger Software CD-ROM Buyer's Guide - Vol. V Issue 6, 1995, p.56 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you own any CD-based game consoles from the multimedia console era? (i.e. CD-i, VIS, 3DO, CDTV, Jaguar CD)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] TRS-80 Model 4

February 9th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 4 advertisement - BYTE October 1984Philodendron not included.

[ From BYTE - October 1984, rear cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you use a TRS-80 or Tandy computer of any kind back in the day? Tell us about it.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Glorious, Colorful World of Radio Shack Toy and Game Box Art

February 6th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Old Radio Shack LogoAfter 94 years in business, it is likely that Radio Shack will soon be no more. And sadly, it has taken the impending death of Radio Shack for me to realize how absolutely ingrained its products have been in my life.

As the son of an electronics engineer living in the US, our home growing up held at least five Radio Shack products per room (or those of its related brands: Tandy, Realistic, Optimus, Archer, or Micronta).

I am not joking or exaggerating. I could probably go through my parents' house today and fill a whole room with that stuff: speakers, tapes, radios, hi-fi receivers, turntables, headphones, microphones, clocks, intercoms, outlet timers, telephones, cables, wires, adapters and more.

It's almost absurd, I tell you. My first IBM compatible PC was a Tandy 1800HD laptop. My first cassette recorder, microphone, telephone, cordless telephone all came from Radio Shack. My first kiss…well, a Radio Shack robot, of course.

And who can forget the batteries. The batteries!

Radio Shack LCD Football GameAbove and beyond all that were the games, the toys, the amusements. The Armatrons and Cosmic Fire Away 1000s. Pocket Blackjack, electronic chess, Pocket Repeat, RC cars, tiny kid DJ stations, microphone FM transmitters, electronic coin banks, joysticks, talking alarm clocks (Dare I add the Tandy 1000 series and the TRS-80 Color Computer). The list is endless, I tell you.

In honor of the foundering electronics retailer, I pulled together a slightly massive collection of Radio Shack toy and game box art from the late 1960s up to the early 2000s. For good measure, I threw in a handful of non-toy product boxes as well (such as one for a Zack Morris-sized cell phone and a pocket TV set).

As you look through them below, I have but one question to ask:

How many of these have you owned or played?

[ Continue reading The Glorious, Colorful World of Radio Shack Toy and Game Box Art » ]

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] TRS-80 Dino Wars

October 1st, 2012 by Benj Edwards

TRS-80 Color Computer Dinowars Manual Cover - 1980Dino Wars cast a long shadow in the world of manual covers.

[ From Dinowars manual Cat. No. 26-3057, September 1980, cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Off the top of your head, name the first video game you can think of that involves dinosaurs.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] TRS-80 Color Computer 2

August 27th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

TRS-80 Color Computer Operation Manual Cover - 1983Every instance of those 16 TRS-80 logos is trademarked, so hands off!

See also: Hot CoCo (2) for Christmas (2007)

[ From TRS-80 Color Computer 2 Operation Manual, 1983, cover]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you owned a TRS-80 Color Computer (any model)? Tell us about it.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Hot CoCo (2) for Christmas

December 17th, 2007 by Benj Edwards

TRS-80 Color Computer 2 Christmas Ad

As a sequel to last year's "Very TRS-80 Christmas," we have this ad for the TRS-80 Color Computer 2. I'm not sure what makes this model "better" than the first Color Computer (CoCo), aside from obvious: different keyboard, ugly case-retooling, and perhaps more RAM.

Unfortunately, this unit ages to a nasty brown and its rubber-dome keyboard isn't much of an improvement (I still like the CoCo 1′s keyboard better). But at least Tandy saw it fit to advertise the unit with a Christmas theme, which is quite relevant to the season at hand.

[ From Computers and Electronics, December 1983 ]

If you use this image on your site, please support "Retro Scan of the Week" by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,