VTech was founded in October 1976 by Allan Wong (Chi-Yun) and Stephen Leung in Hong Kong. The company was initially focused on developing video games. In 1977, the company created its first home TV game console, a version of Pong. Since only consumers in North America and Europe could afford such items, the company targeted primarily these markets. In February 1980 VTech unveiled its first electronic learning product at the New York Toy Fair, a game called “Lesson One”.
At the beginning of the 80s, both the microcomputers and the video game console were on the rise. Most video games console of the time tried to some extent, to include microcomputers capabilities via external add-ons while microcomputers also included video game capabilities through the use of joysticks and cartridges. At the time, none of the video-game console were conceived with built-in microcomputer capabilities. These capabilities were mainly as it was an afterthought and resulted in expensive and bulky add-on that removes the main advantage of buying a video-game console over a microcomputer in the first place : the price.
VTech saw this as an opportunity and decided to create the first video game console / microcomputer hybrid : the CreatiVision
The CreatiVision was built around the idea of being both a computer and a video-game console. The controllers, much like the ColecoVision, had a keypad that would form a full keyboard when put together. The console had interfaces for a cassette player, an extra rubber keyboard, parallel I/O interface, floppy disk drive and one memory expansion module for use with the Basic language cartridge. Any Centronics-compatible printer could be connected to the I/O module if present.
The CreatiVision was distributed in many countries. Its bear the name CreatVision in Europe, Japan and South Africa and Educat 2002 in Israel. In Australia and New Zealand, the system was sold under the names/brands Dick Smith Wizzard, FunVision Computer Video Games System and Hanimex Rameses.
Although released in many countries, the CreatiVision never got the popularity it was looking for. The system faced a lot of competition in both the video game and the microcomputer segment and sadly, never truly managed to excel as a microcomputer nor a video game console. Realizing that a hybrid system was not what the consumer wanted, VTech decided to launch a computer system. Based on the CreatiVision , the Laser 200 was released in Europe in 1984 and was compatible with most CreatiVision games. VTech continues to support both systems until 1986 were the low sales volumes and the newest video game system and computer made this technology obsolete.
- Processor: 8-bit Rockwell 6502 CPU at a speed of 2 MHz,
- RAM: 1KB
- Video RAM: 16KB
- Resolution : 256 × 192 with 16 colors and 32 sprites.
17 Games were released for the system, plus a Basic Interpreter 1.0 cartridges.
- Air/Sea Attack [Submarine in Japan, Air/Sea Battle in New Zealand]
- Auto Chase [Car Chase in New Zealand]
- Crazy Pucker
- Planet Defender [Earth Defense Force (Chikyū Bōeigun) in Japan, Galaxy Defender in New Zealand]
- Sonic Invader [Invaders in New Zealand]
- Tank Attack [Tank Battle in both Japan and New Zealand]
- Tennis [Who’s for Tennis? in New Zealand]
- Astro Pinball
- Crazy Chicky
- Deep Sea Adventure
- Mouse Puzzle
- Police Jump
- Chopper Rescue
- Music Maker
- Stone Age