Ultravision Video Arcade System

The Utravision Prototype

“It’s a game! A computer! A color TV!” With that slogan, Ultravision planned to take the consumer electronics world by storm. “People are sometimes petrified when they approach a computer,” said Al Orosa, Vice President of Ultravision in a 1983 CES press release. “But everyone’s familiar with the television. From there, it’s one step after another until the unit becomes comfortable for the buyer to use.” The unit in question was Ultravision.

Ultravision, from the Miami-based company of the same name, (also sometimes referred to as “Video Arcade System) was actually a television, a videogame unit, and a computer add on. The eighty-four channel color television was to have a ten inch diagonal screen and input/output jacks to allow hook ups with a video recorder and camera. Weighing in at under ten pounds, the machine ran on AC or DC current. A car lighter adapter cord was to be available so the obsessed user can program in a car or on a boat.

The basic videogame component was to come complete with two sixteen position joysticks with top-mounted fire buttons. The unit accepted only Ultravision’s own line of cartridges. But the owner was to have the option of purchasing two add-on modules separately, one that will allow him/her to play Colecovision games on the Ultravision, and the other for games of the Atari VCS persuasion. The company also planned to release Atari compatible games to further expand interest, however only one ever made it to market – Condor Attack (a bad rip-off of the arcade game Phoenix).

Cartridges Announced for the Ultravision VAS console:

  • Baseball Top
  • B-52 Bomber
  • Condor Attack II
  • Dare Devil Driver
  • Emergency I
  • Football
  • Karate II
  • Quest for the Idol II
  • Space War
  • Spider Kong II
  • Swimming Contest
  • Unexpected Dangers

    The Ultravision with added computer component.

    The Ultravision computer contained 64K of memory, expandable to 128K. It used Microsoft Basic with four other languages accessible. 512 characters were displayable and sixteen colors. The typewriter-style keyboard contained sixty keys, eight programmable keys, and upper and lower case alphabet set. The optional disk drive required either five and a quarter or eight inch floppy disks, both single side, double density.

    The unit was to be compatible with Applesoft and CP/M software. so the purchaser was to be walking into a ready-made library. In addition to its own videogames, Ultravision was to release its own line of computer software. By covering all the bases, Ultravision ultimately hoped that its system would be the most software-compatible, the most versatile unit available.

    Ultravision planned to release the Video Arcade System in the summer of 1983 at a price between $875 and $1,000. Unfortunately, the project was just to far ahead of it’s time and costs started to overwhelm the company. The falling market of ’83-’84 didn’t help matters either and the Ultravision Video Arcade System soon disappeared without a trace.