You strike me as the kinda person that gets a lot of joy out of classic consoles. I bet you can spot a Turbografx-16 at a swap meet from a hundred yards. I bet you can tell whether an estate sale has any Atari hardware from smell alone. I bet you can hear EPROMs.
We’re birds of a feather, you and I, and I want you to succeed in your quest to find the coolest, weirdest stuff when you’re on the hunt. With as many weird disasters as the video game industry produced in the early 80s, it can be tough to know what’s worth buying, and what should’ve stayed in the attic. To that end, here are two exceptionally rare video game consoles that’re worth a pretty penny. If you see one in a thrift store, don’t ask questions.
Entex Adventure Vision
Released in 1982, the Entex Adventure Vision is one of the rarest and most valuable consumer production video game consoles in history, despite the fact that a majority of game-playing folk have never heard of it.
Like most bizarre rarities, the Entex Adventure Vision was an enormous failure, and its shelf life of just one year lead to the console becoming the pricey collector’s item that it is now. A working Adventure Vision can go for anywhere from $1,500 to $5000, depending on condition and how much of the original packaging and/or games are included.
But as an actual video game console — as something you’d want to sit down and enjoy — well, there’s a reason they only sold this thing for a year. The red monochrome screen could only display graphics at a maximum of 15 frames per second, due to the unusual spinning mirror mechanism that reflected images onto a glass panel. Sound quality was comparably limited, and even in 1982, people had way better options for a home console.
Only four games were ever produced for the system: Defender, Super Cobra, Turtles, and Space Force, all of which were rudimentary ports of arcade titles.
Tomy Pyūta Jr.
The Tomy Pyūta Jr., as one might suspect from its name, is a scaled-down version of the Tomy Pyūta, which was a home personal computer released in Japan in 1982.
Daddy Pyūta was not entirely dissimilar to the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A from a technical standpoint, but due to the total saturation of the personal computer market in the early 80s, as well as Tomy’s reputation as a toy manufacturer, the Pyūta never gained notable traction.
Thus, Tomy decided to pivot in an appeal to the home console market, and its solution was 1983’s Tomy Pyūta Jr., seen above. While the Pyūta Jr. could not be used for programming — or anything else that required a keyboard for that matter — it was able to run all of the same software and games as the original unit.
This thing is, in my opinion at least, one of the best-looking consoles ever produced. There’s something intangible about its friendly blue-and-white color scheme, minimalist legends, and angular, symmetrical geometry that just works. It wouldn’t be out of place as a prop in a 1960s sci-fi serial, nor as background dressing in the home of a Ghibli character.
There’s nothing particularly exceptional about its system architecture or software library, but from an aesthetic design standpoint, it just doesn’t get much better. I’d love to add one to my collection someday, but at $300-$700 for one in good condition, it’ll have to wait.