[ 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)

4 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Tandy Memorex VIS”

  1. SirFatty Says:

    Tiger as like a more modern version of DAK. They always seem right on the edge of a scam.

  2. Intergalactic Says:

    I got a Playstation in 1996. The Disc player mechanism failed a couple of years later and had a hard time reading discs even if they were clean and no scratches were visible. I got a second PS in 1999 wit a good discount.

  3. THERetroGamerNY Says:

    I note with some amusement that the very excellent Microsoft Golf game is prominently displayed on the TV, but zero mention of its inclusion with the system is made…

  4. Jarson Says:

    I bought a CDTV new when it came out in ’89 or ’90. It cost a pretty penny. The CD player built-in application was really neat, with artwork and color cycling animation from Jim Sachs. I ended up eventually buying the black keyboard, mouse, and floppy for it to make it a full-fledged Amiga system to add to my other Amigas (a 500, 1000, and 3000).
    I also did work on a CD-I title before it was launched, an animated game with a seal as the main character. The developers used Amigas throughout the production process, as well as a Targa machine.

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