[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Tandy Memorex VIS

Monday, March 9th, 2015

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)

The 10 Worst Video Game Systems of All Time

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

10 Worst Video Game Systems of All Time

Just yesterday, PC World published my slide-filled list of The 10 Worst Video Game Systems of All Time on their site. You might not agree with the list, but that’s almost the point — who agrees with Internet top 10 lists anyway?

I do have to say that I don’t think I could have found any worse video game consoles than those listed. Already, a few commenters at PCWorld.com have noticed that the standard Internet whipping boys (i.e. Virtual Boy, Sega 32X, Atari Jaguar, etc.) aren’t on the list. Well, believe me, those systems are downright wonderful compared to the dreck examined in my article. Instead of going for the “worst popular systems,” I just decided to shoot for straight-out worst, period.

And honestly, the Virtual Boy is not that bad. It has good games, and it’s a great concept (albeit with a few major flaws) — it mostly just failed in the marketplace. The Jaguar has a handful of genuinely good games that are unique to the system, and in my book that disqualifies it from the list. The 32X is a little iffy, but it’s still not as bad as what you’ll see in my piece.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, for what it’s worth. I’d love to hear your nominations for the worst video game systems of all time, so comment away.