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Spectravideo International Limited
IndustryComputer hardware
Video games
FoundedUnited States, 1981
Key people
Harry Fox
Alex Weiss

Spectravideo International Limited (SVI) (printed as Spectra Video, with the space, in game manuals) was an American computer manufacturer and software house. It was originally called SpectraVision, a company founded by Harry Fox in 1981. The company produced video games and other software for the VIC-20 home computer, the Atari 2600 home video game console, and its CompuMate peripheral. Some of their own computers were compatible with the Microsoft MSX or the IBM PC.

Despite their initial success, the company faced financial troubles, and by 1988, operations ceased. Later, a UK-based company bought the Spectravideo brand name from Bondwell in 1988,[1] but this company, known as Logic3, had no connection to the original Spectravideo products and was dissolved in 2016.


The SV-318 has a built-in joystick.
The QuickShot I joystick was introduced in 1982.

SpectraVision was founded in 1981 by Harry Fox and Alex Weiss as a distributor of computer games, contracting external developers to write the software. Their main products were gaming cartridges for the Atari 2600, Colecovision and VIC-20. They also made the world's first ergonomic[citation needed] joystick, the QuickShot. In late 1982 the company was renamed to Spectravideo due to a naming conflict with On Command Corporation's Hotel TV system called SpectraVision.[1]

In the early 1980s, the company developed 11 games for the Atari 2600, including several titles of some rarity: Chase the Chuckwagon, Mangia and Bumper Bash.[2] A few of their titles were only available through the Columbia House music club.[3]

The company's first attempt at a computer was an add-on for the Atari 2600 called the Spectravideo CompuMate, with a membrane keyboard and very simple programmability.

Spectravideo's first real computers were the SV-318 and SV-328, released in 1983. Both were powered by a Z80 A at 3.6 MHz, but differed in the amount of RAM (SV-318 had 32KB and SV-328 had 80KB total, of which 16KB was reserved for video) and keyboard style. The main operating system, residing in ROM, was a version of Microsoft Extended BASIC, but if the computer was equipped with a floppy drive, the user had the option to boot with CP/M instead. These two computers were precedent to MSX and not fully compatible with the standard, though the changes made to their design to create MSX were minor. The system had a wide range of optional hardware, for example an adapter making it possible to run ColecoVision games on the SVI. SpectraVideo also created the QuickShot SVI-2000 Robot Arm which could be connected to a Commodore 64 user port or be controlled stand-alone with two joysticks.

In May 1983, Spectravideo went public with the sale of 1 million shares of stock at $6.25 per share in an initial public offering underwritten by brokerage D. H. Blair & Co.[4]

However, Spectravideo quickly ran into trouble. By December 1983 its stock had fallen to 75 cents per share.[4] In March 1984, the company agreed to sell a 60% stake of itself to Hong Kong-based Bondwell Holding in a deal that would have also required the resignation of president Harry Fox and vice-president Alex Weiss.[5] That deal was set aside when Spectravideo was unable to restructure about $2.6 million worth of debt, and another deal where Fanon Courier U.S.A. Inc. would have purchased 80% of the company was struck in July.[6]

The Fanon Courier deal similarly fell through, and Fox resigned as president in September, with Bondwell Holding purchasing over half of the company's stock and installing Bondwell vice-president Christopher Chan as the new president.[7]

A later computer, the Spectravideo SVI-728, was made MSX compatible.

SVI-738, also MSX compatible, came with a built-in 360 KB 3.5" floppy drive.

The last computer produced by Spectravideo was the SVI-838 (also known as Spectravideo X'Press 16). It was a PC and MSX2 in the same device.


The SVI-738, a portable MSX computer

The Spectravideo name was used by a UK-based company called SpectraVideo Plc, formerly known as Ash & Newman. That company was founded in 1977, and bought the Spectravideo brand name from Bondwell in 1988. They sold a range of products branded as Logic3, and have no connection to the original Spectravideo products.[1] The company changed its name to Logic3 in 2006,[8] and entered administration in 2013 after a licensing deal with Ferrari proved to be a failure.[9] The company was formally dissolved on 19 April 2016.[8]

List of video games[edit]

There are 68 games for Spectravideo that are not compatible with MSX computers[10][11][12]

Title Publisher Release year
21 Spectravideo
Antimeteor Spectravideo
Armoured Assault Spectravideo 1983
Bobo Spectravideo
Bone of Contention Spectravideo
Busy Bee Spectravideo
Cake Bandit Spectravideo
Chest Spectravideo
Crunch Spectravideo 1984
Cryptic Cube Spectravideo 1984
Emergency Landing Spectravideo 1984
Findit Spectravideo 1984
First Step Softy 1983
First Steps Spectravideo 1983
Flipper Slipper Spectravideo 1984
Fluffy JTM Soft 1987
Frantic Freddie Spectravideo 1984
Ghostrap Spectravideo 1983
Gobble Spectravideo
Graphic Chess JTM Soft 1986
Grave Digger Spectravideo 1984
Hare & Tortoise Spectravideo
Jet Alf and the Manic Masters Revenge ELS 1984
Killer Car Spectravideo 1983
Kiwi Country Spectravideo 1984
Kung Fu Master Spectravideo 1984
Logit Spectravideo 1984
Masterbrain Spectravideo
Megalone JD Team 1986
Moon Lander Spectravideo 1984
Munch-a-Math Spectravideo 1984
Ninja Spectravideo 1984
Nomis Spectravideo 1983
Old Mac Farmer Spectravideo 1984
Othello Spectravideo
Para-Jump Spectravideo 1984
Perilous Journey Spectravideo
Planet Patrol Spectravideo 1983
Pogo Stick Choice Soft 1985
Prince & Dragon Spectravideo
Puzzle Master Spectravideo
Puzzlebrick Spectravideo
Rescue Spectravideo 1984
Robot Ball Mirage Soft 1983
Roulette Spectravideo
Sasa Spectravideo 1984
Sector Alpha Spectravideo
Spectra Break Spectravideo
Spectrabrain Spectravideo
Spectrafrog Spectravideo
Spectramind Spectravideo 1984
Spectrapede Spectravideo
Spectron Spectravideo
Star Words Spectravideo 1984
Stockholm Adventure Mirage Soft 1983
Struggle for Livelihood Choice Soft 1985
Supersaver Spectravideo
SV Jungle Spectravideo
Techtour Spectravideo
Telebunnie Spectravideo 1984
Tennis Spectravideo
Tetra Horror Spectravideo 1984
Think! Spectravideo
Treasure Chest Spectravideo 1984
Trouble Trolley Spectravideo
Turboat Spectravideo 1984
Uncle Albert Spectravideo 1984
Uni's Learning Factory A Spectravideo
Uni's Learning Factory J Spectravideo


  1. ^ a b c "The history of Spectravideo".
  2. ^ "AtariAge - Companies - Spectravision". AtariAge. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  3. ^ "SpectraVision". Everything2.com. Retrieved 2022-08-22.
  4. ^ a b Brammer, Rhonda (23 January 1984). "No R.I.P. for IPOs". Barron's National Business and Financial Weekly. ProQuest 350759580.
  5. ^ "Spectravideo Agrees to Sell 60% Stake to Hong Kong Firm". Electronic News. 19 March 1984. Retrieved 8 April 2018 – via Gale Computer Database.
  6. ^ "Fanon Courier to Purchase 80 Percent Interest in Spectravideo". Electronic News. 30 July 1984. Retrieved 8 April 2018 – via Gale Computer Database.
  7. ^ Chin, Kathy (19 November 1984). "Spectravideo Tries Again". Google Books. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b "LOGIC3 PLC overview - Find and update company information - GOV.UK".
  9. ^ "Logic3 administrators in talks with Apple and Ferrari".
  10. ^ Spectavideo software
  11. ^ Gaming History
  12. ^ Spectavideo complatible games with MSX

External links[edit]