Control-Vision

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The Control-Vision (originally codenamed NEMO)[1] is an unreleased video game console developed by Tom Zito. It is notable for using VHS tapes rather than ROM cartridges, prompting the creation of game content which survived on into much more advanced CD-ROM platforms.

History[edit]

Originally codenamed "NEMO", initial development began in 1985 and was supported by Nolan Bushnell's company Axlon. The team created a prototype which used a modified ColecoVision console to combine interactive images with a video stream transmitted through a cable. As a storage medium, Nemo employes VHS tapes that contain computer data and multiple tracks of video and audio.[2]

To take the project beyond prototype status, they searched for a partner who would fund further development. The Hasbro toy company agreed to invest $7 million in exchange for the video game rights to the technology.

Three short trial games were finished by the middle of 1986: Scene of the Crime, a four-minute interactive mystery; Bottom of the Ninth Inning, a baseball game; and an interactive music video for the song "You Might Think" by The Cars. The next step was the interactive movie Night Trap. In 1987, Zito created the second full-size game named Sewer Shark, in one month's filming time and at a cost of $3 million.[2]

After filming for Sewer Shark was done, and two months prior to the 1989 release, Hasbro abandoned the project because the projected US$299 price was deemed uncompetitive against the well established and much cheaper Nintendo Entertainment System.[2] Zito purchased the rights to the games and stored everything in a Rhode Island warehouse.

Legacy[edit]

It wasn't until the early 1990s that the CD-ROM became an affordable storage medium for video game consoles, enabling full motion video (FMV) games at home. Sega was looking for content for the 1992 introduction of the Sega CD accessory. They contacted Zito, who created versions of Sewer Shark and Night Trap for Sega CD through his Digital Pictures company. Ports to other systems would follow.

Footage of a presentation of a NEMO prototype to Hasbro executives can be found in the Sega CD version of Night Trap when entering a cheat code. This footage is from December 1986, recorded in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (the hometown of Hasbro). Lawrence H. Bernstein, working for Milton Bradley Company at that time, plays Scene of the Crime, the prototype of Night Trap.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vinciguerra, Rev. Robert A. "Where are they now? Nolan Bushnell's Axlon". The Rev. Rob Times. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Plunkett, Luke (March 28, 2011). "Only In The 80's Would They Put Video Games On A VHS Tape". Kotaku. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 

External links[edit]