The Epoch Cassette Vision is a cartridge based console which was released by Epoch in Japan in 1981. It was the first affordable games console in Japan to use programmable ROM cartridges (the Bandai Super Vision 8000 was out in 1979 but was ridiculously expensive).
From the mid 80s to the late 90s, Japan was the first to see the latest consoles with some gaming machines being released in North America and Europe two to three years after Japan. However, this was the not the case in the early 80s.
The games for the Cassette Vision were not as good as those from the Atari 2600, and that system was released in the USA 4 years before. Though Japan wouldn’t get the Atari 2800 (the Japanese version of the 2600) until 1983, which was a little too late as this was the year the Nintendo Famicom came out.
The system had a strange design. Instead of a controller the console had 4 knobs attached to it. Each player controlled 2 knobs each: one for horizontal movement and one for vertical. There were two fire buttons for each player too (oddly named Push-1 to Push-4).
The front of the system had control switches: power, AUX, select and start etc.
12 games were released for the system, including the popular tree chopping game Kikori No Yosaku.
The original Epoch Cassette Vision was only released in Japan and didn’t sell too well.
Epoch released a smaller and cheaper version of the Cassette Vision called the Cassette Vision Jr.
Their follow up to the Cassette Vision was the Super Cassette Vision, which was released in 1984. This system was sold in Japan and in Europe. In Europe it was marketed by ITMC as the Yeno Super Cassette Vision.
The Super Cassette Vision used a Zilog Z80 CPU clone called PD7801G, which was clocked at 4 Mhz. It had 128 bytes of RAM and 4 kb of ROM. 16 colours could be displayed on a resolution of 256×256 pixels. It only had one channel of sound though.
The console had a numeric keypad on the front, power switch and a cartridge slot. The bottom half of the console lifted up to reveal two wired joystick controllers, which remained neatly hidden within the system when not in use.
It sold pretty well in Japan and in Europe.
The following games were released for the original Epoch Cassette Vision:
Big Sports 12
Kikori no Yosaku
These games were released for the Super Cassette Vision:
Astro Wars II – Battle in Galaxy
Dragon Ball – Dragon Dai Hikyou
Nekketsu Kung-Fu Load
Pole Position II
Pop and Chips
Super Base Ball
WaiWai(Y2) Monster Land
A commercial for the Epoch Cassette Vision which aired in Japan in 1981.
A short clip which shows the Super Cassette Vision and the controllers stored within it.
Dragon Ball Doragon Dai Hikyou for Super Cassette Vision
Kung Fu Road