David Butleradded September 20, 2018

The Milton-Bradley Microvision was the very first handheld system to use interchangeable cartridges. It arrived in 1979, ahead of the Nintendo Game Boy. Unfortunately, it was too ahead of its time, and only 12 games were released.
The base unit is very simple, containing the control knob, keypad, display driver, LCD screen and batteries. The games themselves had onboard microcontrollers that handled the processing. The microcontroller also had an approx. 1KB ROM for holding the game data.
You will notice a sheet of copper on my unit. One of my games, Mindbuster, contained a sheet of paper to explain this. Apparently they had issues with static buildup in the plastic hurting the electronics. It seems that later games included these copper sheets with application instructions as a way of shielding the electronics.
You will also notice the "spare battery storage". Early games used either the Intel 6021 processor or the Texas Instruments TMS1100 processor. However, Milton-Bradley later swapped over completely to the TMS1100 for cost reduction. The first Microvision units used two 9V batteries because the 6021 was power hungry. However, when they moved everything to TMS1100, one 9V was sufficient. Also, there were issues with people overheating the batteries by putting one of them in correctly and the other one incorrectly. However, Milton-Bradley didnt want to retool the molds, so they just removed the contacts and called it a spare battery holder.
My unit seems to work for now. These screens do have a tendency to fail though. Also, the membrane keypad isnt the best. However, the games are simple, but charming. If anyone wants to play these, but they don't have a Microvision, look up the emulator "MVEM Build 15" It was originally a project by Paul Robson before he freely released it and Raph Koster improved it. That emulator plays all the original games, plus a few homebrew titles.
As an aside, the Microvision was featured in a few scenes in the movie "Friday the 13th Part 2

Year Made



Milton Bradley

@10red80September 21, 2018

Dont recall seeing this in the toyshop, ever and our local toyshop stocked ataris well into the 90s 🤔

heckSeptember 21, 2018

It takes 2 9 volt batteries!