Watara Supervision

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Watara Supervision
Watara Supervision Logo.png
Watara-Supervision-Tilted.jpg
The Watara Supervision with tilting screen
ManufacturerWatara
TypeHandheld game console
GenerationFourth generation
Release date1992
Introductory priceUS$49.95 (equivalent to $92.12 in 2020)
MediaROM cartridge
CPU8-bit 65SC02 @ 4 MHz
Display160×160 pixel resolution, 4 shades of grey
SoundMono speaker
Headphone jack
Power4 × AA batteries or 6V AC/DC adapter
Related articlesGame Boy

The Watara Supervision, also known as the QuickShot Supervision in the UK, is a monochrome handheld game console, originating from Asia, and introduced in 1992 as a cut-price competitor for Nintendo's Game Boy.[1] It came packaged with a game called Crystball, which is similar to Breakout. One unique feature of the Supervision was that it could be linked up to a television via a link cable. Games played in this way would display in four colors, much like Nintendo's Super Game Boy add-on for the SNES.[1] A full color TV link was also in the works, but because of the Supervision's failure to make a major impression among gamers it was cancelled, along with the games which were in development for it.

Though the machine garnered some attention at launch (mainly due to the low price for the machine and its games, which many felt might enable it to make inroads into Nintendo's market share) it was ultimately unsuccessful in unseating the Game Boy from its position as the world's most popular handheld. Reasons commonly cited are the poor quality screen which was prone to blurring and made following the action difficult, a general lack of games and the simplistic nature of those that were released.

Yet another problem was that most of the games that were available were developed in Taiwan or Hong Kong, meaning that fans of big-name Western and Japanese developers were underwhelmed by the apparent lack of support from these companies. Only a tiny handful of games were developed by third parties, including Sachen and the British developer B.I.T.S.. Up against Nintendo's list of popular franchises (Zelda, Mario, Metroid) and those of its third parties (Castlevania, Mega Man) - all of which eventually surfaced on the Game Boy - the Supervision's games were of little interest to most.

Marketing[edit]

The Watara Supervision's main marketing point was its low price; the Supervision was US$49.95 in 1992[2] while the Game Boy was US$89.99.[3] Games for the Supervision were also much cheaper than Game Boy games,[2] and advertisements emphasized this price difference, with one British ad for the Supervision calling it "the affordable hand-held games machine".[4] It was also bundled with headphones, batteries, and a Breakout clone titled Crystball.[4][5][6]

To keep their costs down, Watara farmed out the international marketing and distribution to third parties leading to various versions including the QuickShot Supervision, Travell Mate, Hartung SV-100, and Electrolab in Argentina, under two different models: the Supervision (in a form factor resembling Nintendo's Game Boy) and the Hipervision. In Taiwan and Hong Kong, it was released as the 泰可BOY (Tiger Boy).[1] The QuickShot version differed from the original Watara format by having the console body split into two parts enabling the screen to be tilted in relation to the control section.[1] This version was also the initial release in North America, although without the QuickShot branding.[7]

In the mid 1990s, the Supervision was once offered as a final prize on the television game show Legends of the Hidden Temple[2] (as well as Masters of the Maze). It was also offered as a prize on the premiere of the similarly short-lived The New Price is Right in 1994.

The Supervision model released without the tilting screen.

Quickshot's UK version of the Supervision was heavily featured for a time on ITV's gaming show Bad Influence![1] Presenter Violet Berlin could be seen playing a Supervision in many of the show's publicity photos.

History[edit]

A prototype of the Supervision was exhibited at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in 1992.[6] The Supervision was released before Christmas 1992 with eighteen launch titles,[8] and it was advertised that fifty games were released by November 1992.[5] The Supervision's game library was criticized for being 'too simplistic' compared to that of other consoles, which outweighed the value of their budget price, which ranged from US$8.95. to US$14.95 per game.[2][6] One critic from Electronic Games said in respect to the Supervision that "it is still possible to be disappointed in a game that costs under fifteen dollars".[2][6] Soon after the Supervision's release, the Game Boy Basic packaging option was announced, which made the Game Boy more affordable, costing only ten dollars more than the Supervision; this undermined the Supervision's 'budget' marketing strategy.[6]

Similar to the functionality of the Super Game Boy, the Supervision can be connected to a television to allow for a larger screen to play on.[2][9] A peripheral that would add color support to games was planned for release in the latter half of 1993, but was never released.[2][6] The Supervision was distributed in the US by Goldnation,[6] and in France by AudioSonic.[10] More third-party games were planned for release for the system in 1993 but never materialized, including movie licences such as Rambo and Terminator.[6]

Technical specifications[edit]

  • CPU: 8-bit 65C02 processor, running at 4 MHz
  • Screen: 61 mm × 61 mm (2.37 inches × 2.37 inches), 160 × 160 pixels, 4 greys LCD.[1] There was no hardware video acceleration, graphics had to be drawn by software to a framebuffer.
  • Sound: 2 Tonal and 1 Noise Channel plus additional audio DMA stereo output channel. Built-in speaker and headphone jack with stereo earphones included.
  • Power: 4 × AA batteries or 6V AC/DC adapter
  • Communication port: Two Player Link using DE-9 connector.
  • Cartridge port
  • Controls for 1 Player
  • TV adapter (optional)
  • Tiltable Screen (2 positions)

List of games[edit]

Watara Supervision cartridge

Main titles[edit]

# Title Developer(s) Release year
1 Alien[4] Watara 1992
2 Balloon Fight Thin Chen Enterprise 1992
3 Block Buster[4] Watara 1992
4 Brain Power Watara 1992
5 Bubble World Bon Treasure 1992
6 Carrier Watara 1992
7 Cave Wonders Bon Treasure 1992
8 Challenger Tank[4] Watara 1992
9 Chimera Watara 1992
10 Chinese Checkers[4] Sachen 1992
11 Classic Casino Bon Treasure 1993
12 Climber Bon Treasure 1992
13 Cross High GTC 1992
14 Crystball[4][6] Watara 1992
15 Dancing Block Thin Chen Enterprise 1992
16 Delta Hero[4] Bon Treasure 1992
17 Dream World Bon Treasure 1992
18 Eagle Plane[6] GTC 1991
19 Earth Defender Bon Treasure 1992
20 Fatal Craft Bon Treasure 1992
21 Final Combat[4] Thin Chen Enterprise 1992
22 Galactic Crusader Sachen 1992
23 Galaxy Fighter Thin Chen Enterprise 1992
24 Grand Prix[4] Bon Treasure 1992
25 Happy Pairs Sachen 1992
26 Happy Race[6] Sachen 1992
27 Hash Block GTC 1992
28 Hero Hawk Thin Chen Enterprise 1992
29 Hero Kid[6] Watara 1992
30 Honey Bee Bon Treasure 1992
31 Jacky Lucky Bon Treasure 1992
32 Jaguar Bomber[4] Bon Treasure 1992
33 John Adventure Sachen 1992
34 Journey to the West Watara 1992
35 Juggler Bon Treasure 1992
36 Kabi-Island: Gold in Island Thin Chen Enterprise 1992
37 Kitchen War Bon Treasure 1992
38 Kung-Fu Street Thin Chen Enterprise 1993
39 Linear Racing Watara 1992
40 Ma Jong Watara 1992
41 Magincross Thin Chen Enterprise 1992
42 Matta Blatta B.I.T.S. 1992
43 Olympic Trials[4][6] Divide By Zero/B.I.T.S. 1992
44 P-52 Sea Battle[4][6] Watara 1992
45 Pacboy & Mouse Watara 1992
46 Pacific Battle Bon Treasure 1992
47 Penguin Hideout Thin Chen Enterprise 1992
48 Police Bust[6] Bon Treasure 1992
49 PoPo Team Sachen 1992
50 Pyramid Thin Chen Enterprise 1992
51 Recycle Design Bon Treasure 1992
52 Scaffolder Bon Treasure 1992
53 Soccer Champion[4] Watara 1992
54 Sonny Xpress! Watara 1992
55 Space Fighter[4] Bon Treasure 1992
56 Sssnake[4] B.I.T.S. 1992
57 Super Block Bon Treasure 1992
58 Super Kong Thin Chen Enterprise 1992
59 Super Pang Sachen 1992
60 Tasac 2010 Thin Chen Enterprise 1992
61 Tennis Pro '92[4] B.I.T.S. 1992
62 Thunder Shooting Thin Chen Enterprise 1992
63 Treasure Hunter[4] Bon Treasure 1992
64 Untouchable Bon Treasure 1992
65 Witty Cat Bon Treasure 1992

Multi-game titles[edit]

  • Block Buster/Cross High [2-in-1] (1992)
  • Hash Block/Eagle Plan [2-in-1] (1992; developed by Bon Treasure)
  • Hash Block/Jacky Lucky/Challenger Tank/Brain Power [4-in-1] (1992)

Homebrew[edit]

As of 2020, the first aftermarket game Assembloids by PriorArt is available for the Supervision.[11]

Preservation[edit]

Like many consoles, the Watara Supervision has lived on through emulation (see MESS).[12] Cowering's Good Tools includes a tool called GoodSV, which catalogues 69 Supervision games as of version 3.27.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Retro Console Review: Quickshot / Watara Supervision". RetroCollect. 2011-02-05. Archived from the original on 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Smith, Ernie (November 7, 2017). "Rise of the Wannabes: The Game Boy's Many Uninspired Knockoffs". Vice. Vice News. Archived from the original on October 28, 2020.
  3. ^ Moriarty, Colin (October 15, 2013). "The Real Cost of Gaming: Inflation, Time, and Purchasing Power". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Supervision Magazine Advertisement". N-Force. No. 11. Impact Magazines. May 1993. p. 45. ISSN 0966-097X.CS1 maint: ignored ISSN errors (link)
  5. ^ a b "New Handheld Launched!". Sega Force. No. 12. Europress Impact. December 1992. p. 6.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Dille, Ed (May 1993). "Test Lab: East Meets East". Electronic Games. Vol. 1 no. 8. Decker Publications. pp. 92–93. ISSN 1063-8326.
  7. ^ "Syd Bolton - SuperVision Specs". pixelpower.on.ca. Archived from the original on 2018-06-16. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  8. ^ "Les News: Supervision" [The News: Supervision]. Joystick (in French). No. 33. Groupe Sipress. December 1992. p. 109. ISSN 1145-4806.
  9. ^ Lane, Gavin (April 17, 2019). "Feature: The Handheld Rivals Which Tried And Failed To Beat The Game Boy". NintendoLife. Nlife Media. Archived from the original on April 17, 2019.
  10. ^ "Supervision Magazine Advertisement". Tilt (in French). No. 104. Editions Mondiales S.A. July 1992. p. 87. ISSN 0753-6968.
  11. ^ "Assembloids (Limited Edition) for Supervision (2019)". Archived from the original on 2020-12-16. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  12. ^ Simms, Craig (April 2002). "Feature: Game not over". Atomic: Maximum Power Computing. No. 15. AJB Publishing. pp. 30–33. ISSN 1444-8998.

External links[edit]