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april 08, 2013

Epoch Super Cassette Vision

I received the Scart cable today from England so I could try out my Super Cassette Vision (SCV). Can't believe someone makes those. They are some special thing, they look like a Master System (or Mega Drive) cable, but it has an extra connector thing in the middle. An MD cable will fit in the console but won't give a picture.

The console has the usual antenna output too, but it is almost impossible to get ANYTHING of it to show on my TV. I thought the console was broken first.

I bought this system after having looked at some youtube videos of the games Kung Fu Road and Punch Boy. The system was released in Japan in 1984, one year after the famicom was released.  A version was released in France that same year. The graphics is worse than famicom and the games seem quite limited in what they can do.

The SCV has some interesting sound effects though, and it doesn't have any flickering. The games have some weird movement, many don't move as fluidly as the famicom. But other games are alot more fluid, such as Battle In Galaxy that is a fun version of Galaga (or Galaxian, I can't remember which is which). Being used to the famicom, it is nice to play a shooter without flickering when there is a lot of things on the screen.

This is Punch Boy. It took a while for me to understand the purpose of this game. The purpose is to kill all the enemies, which you do by punching the green block thing in the corners. When you have pressed all four once, you need to grab a key that will appear to unlock them again. Primitive idea, but not too bad. And you start with 8 lives (in AMAteur mode).

It seems the SCV wasn't able to make any detailed graphics, maybe it has lower resolution. Well, I prefer Punch Boy to a game such as Clu Clu Land. I prefer Battle Galaxy
to Galaga (or Galaxian), and I find the sound effects of Kung Fu Road more amusing than the ones in Kung Fu (Spartan X). Super Baseball also plays better than Baseball on the Famicom/NES. But Boulder Dash was worse, it has no animation, you just move one square and it gets very choppy.

Elevator Fight, as you can expect, is like Elevator Action, a game I have reviewed earlier. Comic Circus is like one of those early Famicom arcade ports.

I have to say that they had primitive ideas for their games. In Comic Circus one guy drops down on a trampoline and throws the other one up in the air, and you just keep doing that. It is playable, but primitive. As if an intern thought it up in 15 minutes.

But it is nice to be able to play some games that are original for a system and are well playable. All the seven games I got have English text in them. There were 30 games for the SCV, and I assume it is backward compatible with the Cassette Vision from 1981 and its 11 games, although those 11 games are likely bad graphically.

As you may know, the earliest famicom games were also primitive ("black series" games), such as popeye, donkey kong, and so on. So imagine a system with 30 games like that.

The SCV is a common console and can usually be found on eBay for around 100$. If you want to play some games that you won't find on any other system, why not give it a try. Finding games can be more difficult, and you might also want to buy a cable for RGB output. The first Cassette Vision system (1981) doesn't have RGB mode, and can only play the early 11 games, so I don't recommend that system for a player.
A famicom, Master System or Mega Drive power works well on it, but as always don't mix it with your NES power supply. 

It is nice to play a system in RGB mode, with the crispy clear graphic you would get on an emulator or arcade. In hindsight, it was an unfortunate design choice for us that the Famicom/NES never could output RGB. I think it is the only console produced after 1983 that couldn't.

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