How VHS Gaming Conned Us | Nostalgia Nerd

31 mar 2021
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Head to ​ to save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain using code NOSTALGIANERD.... Please note, these games use *FLASHING LIGHTS*. It was bound to happen eventually. I couldn't get away with it forever. VHS Gaming. It was inevitable. The Action Max, Video Challenger, Hasbro Control Vision/NEMO, ViewMaster Interactive Vision, Sega Video Driver and everything inbetween. It's all here, and I've had to endure it. So I thought I'd dive in with the key question: How it conned us, and what I mean by that is; how any of these "game consoles" convinced us that they were something worth dabbling with in the first place.
Personally, having gulped an exceptionally large dose in one go, I don't want to play another VHS based game for a several months, possibly years. Thanks to Quang for letting me borrow his Interactive Vision (even if he doesn't know I did).
Thanks again to RetroReplay. Please find his view Interactive Vision video at
0:00 Intro & Backstory
2:28 Connor VideoSmarts
3:50 Worlds of Wonder
6:02 Action Max
13:25 Video Challenger
17:34 Captain Power
19:57 Sega Video Driver
21:29 Hasbro Control Vision
26:26 View-Master Interactive Vision
30:00 Atmosfear
30:52 TV Teddy
32:14 Toby Terrier / VEIL
35:27 Closing Thoughts
🔗Video & Reference Links🔗
Nintendo Training Video:
Action Max Commercial:
After Burner (Video Challenger):
Road Blaster (Video Challenger):
Pops Ghostly (Action Max):
Ambush Alley (Action Max):
NES UK Advert:
Captain Power:
Night Trap Scenes:
Dragon's Lair:
📚Reference Material📚
Teddy Ruxpin:
WoW: /
Action Max Discussion:
Video Challenger: /
Encoded Light:
VEIL Press Release:
Anime Bargain Bin:
Sabre Star:
VEIL Interactive:
Light Gun Technicals:
NEMO Briefing:
Polygon Sources:
Kotaku Video Tape Report:
Continue? The Boss Fight Anthology (book) text media search results
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🎥 Equipment & Software 🎥
Panasonic Lumix G5
Topaz Video Enhance AI
Sound Forge Audio 13
iZotope RX Studio
Corel Video Studio Ultimate 2020
Corel Paint Shop Pro 2021 Ultimate
📜 Resources 📜
All music via. EpidemicSound or through other licenced channels.
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Errors and omissions excepted.
Some material in this video may be used under Fair Dealing / Fair Use. Where under section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 (UK: Sections 29 and 30 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988), allowance is made for purposes including parody, quotation, criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, education and research. Fair Dealing / Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

  • Please remember to SmAsH tHaT bElL

    Nostalgia NerdNostalgia NerdMånad sedan
    • You know, given how easy video editing is now compared with the 80s...wouldn't it be possible to give the challenger a second life? Imagine doom footage with blinky frames shoved in over the monsters. Just an idea. I almost bought one and then decided it would be cheaper to build one out of wood...and it wouldn't all be in Japanese. I couldn't find any tapes official either(you'd think someone might make a few copies). I still have a VCR hooked up to a CRT for watching older movies and such, so I thought this was kind of a neat idea to try out. Thought I'd toss this idea out onto the etherwebz in case anyone else loves cheesy games and bad movies.

      Peter LamontPeter Lamont4 dagar sedan
    • l actually remember the TV teddy being a toy but a that time l ever played much attention to anything as at that time l was like 6 or 7 years old. Even so l found really strange that technology came up to my country as lm from the most austral country in America so almost none of the less popular enterteinment systems ever got here. But lm sure it was the TV Teddy for sure in fact it was called TV Teddy "interactive" and it would play at some point with some specific channel show, not a video cassette. l can even remenber some parts of the commercials, l got kinda hooked to that toy not for the toy itself but for the actual technology. l was always interested in robotics and frecuently disassemble any toy that was more complex than an action figure.

      hard modehard mode23 dagar sedan
    • @Mat Ricardo no shit.i dont even have epilepsy and have a gnarly headache now. What a dangerous toy.

      Walsh WalshWalsh WalshMånad sedan
    • Galador toys also interacted with tv broadcasts, and I believe one or more generations of transformers

      GigaBuster_EXEGigaBuster_EXEMånad sedan
    • Oh God. I had forgotten about Captain Power. We ended up with just the tape and one of my siblings loved it enough to just watch it as a video...far too often as children do.

      DustquakeDustquakeMånad sedan
  • As a kid, I remember my neighbor had a Barney doll that interacted with certain VHS tapes..

    Nova GreenNova Green4 timmar sedan
  • if my parents had given me the Video Driver for revenge I would have stolen his car and done the same as in the game

    RED CULTRED CULT16 timmar sedan
  • I had atmosphere. It was awesome at birthday parties.

    BritishColombianBritishColombian16 timmar sedan
  • Thanks 👍 like that

    YouTube HolicYouTube Holic2 dagar sedan
  • That's what I've noticed about such toys, you have to load up the non-TV part of the package with features but they so often didn't and the experience became shallow. For example 80s game console keypads were barely used but handhelds like Merlin were very fun with light and sound actions. I still think about it sometimes, how to get it to work better, there was a raw cost potential in the concept that LD was never going to accomplish at it's price point that VHS could have. There is that factor of who makes the content in that a cold executive goes for a cash grab novelty but someone like the late Gunpei Yokoi could actually make simple concepts into charming fun products with some replay value. I actually liked the NEMO concept even though I don't like DP at all, as an analog device it would have been impressive, as a digital Sega hand me down it was pretty lousy. :P If it could have been reduced to a cheaper VCR add-on adapter I think it could have stood a chance.

    Logan JorgensenLogan Jorgensen3 dagar sedan
  • I had the game that you held a jet in your hand it was cool game I wish I still had it

    Johnathan RodgersJohnathan Rodgers3 dagar sedan
  • Captain Power! Oh boy young me was so fooled

    Heavy PalmzHeavy Palmz3 dagar sedan
  • I remember getting Video Driver as a kid. I was quite pleased when I figured out how it worked. It seemed like such a brilliant yet simple idea to have a bar at the bottom that the car could sense to keep score. The game itself wasn't that fun to me, but I still played with it often just because the concept behind how it worked seemed so brilliant to me at the time.

    RevRedmondFarrierRevRedmondFarrier3 dagar sedan
  • I was hoping to see Nightmare (Atmosfear)!!! I still have my Nightmare game in the original box and play it with my kids!

    Steve SmithSteve Smith3 dagar sedan
  • Oh no, I have to put a censor. Seriously, how does a censor make a console unpromising. I mean, yeah it is bad, but you said a censor gives you doubts. WTF?

    Wee GohWee Goh4 dagar sedan
  • "Kids, kids, wake up! Its 6AM, Captain Power is on!"

    CELEB ALERT!CELEB ALERT!4 dagar sedan
  • the way no one with epilepsy can play these "games" bc they rely in quickly blinking images 💀 they sure didnt think of that

  • Wait a minute... California Chase and Road Race? Made by SEGA and distributed by Tyco?! That VHS was featured on the Wheel of the Worst! RedLetterMedia’s Best Of The Worst is one of the funniest shitty movie review shows I’ve ever seen, and I SPECIFICALLY remember that being on the wheel and wondering where it came from. You finally answered that question for me! Subscribed!

    Chris HandsomeChris Handsome5 dagar sedan
  • I have an intellivision 2, and i've owned a tandyvision! both pretty much just play intellivision games lol

    M4 MediaM4 Media5 dagar sedan
  • I always thought it was quite shitty for parents to underestimate their kids intelligence so bad, all in the name of being cheap. I stopped really asking for anything else after I asked for a PlayStation, and got an N64 with no games. I was so sad Christmas 2000. I was 6 years old and ready to play. All I could get from them was that I should appreciate it. I said no, you think I'm stupid and that's so not cool. Still had to apologise before I could play the game they borrowed from someone else. Thankfully that game was Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

    Jamel FrazierJamel Frazier5 dagar sedan
  • a fine example of how scams creep into everything fun in the world.

    M4 MediaM4 Media5 dagar sedan
  • Connor VideoSmarts sounds an awful lot like a Terebikko but without a phone.

    Максим Галайчук - Mypka_MaxМаксим Галайчук - Mypka_Max6 dagar sedan
  • Do a video on 3DO consoles

    muffinz Lealtamuffinz Lealta8 dagar sedan
  • i loved captain power growing up

  • 👍

    Gacheru MburuGacheru Mburu9 dagar sedan
  • That was by far one of the best squarespace ads I've seen on SEworld. Almost all the other channels tell me how easy and quick it is to make a website. But you actually showed me how easy it is. If you could make a good looking one off website to show off in a video, then that definitely better illustrates how easy it is to use then just the usual stock video most others show.

    JasonJason10 dagar sedan
  • This says more about these companies utilizing the resources at hand, than producing shitty products. They were pretty much hackers exploiting the capabilities of vhs and including other processing and hardware capabilities.

    jo hnjo hn10 dagar sedan
  • Had the Video Challenger gun and vhs has a kid, wish i had kept it, i'd like to play this again

    Stephane CoteStephane Cote13 dagar sedan
  • The lazer tag ad with the kids running around shooting each other looks like something from a Paul Verhoeven film.

    Marcus BrannonMarcus Brannon13 dagar sedan
  • VHS Gaming was a thing?? I thought that was just a visual pun from the Fairly Oddparents?!

    Dandy GuyDandy Guy14 dagar sedan
  • Honestly a lot of these are pretty ingenious. Interesting to see how people worked around limitations of the time

    lukeshdoesntknowlukeshdoesntknow14 dagar sedan
  • So, you can do a multiplayer online game in the past using the TV, antenna, console, and phone line for a better online experience for voice interaction with your friend.

    jamie rossjamie ross14 dagar sedan
  • toby terrier is a raging narcissist...who wears a jacket with their own face on it lmfao

    Zoning ViolationZoning Violation14 dagar sedan
  • Video games that look too much like real life suck if I wanted something that look like real life I would be playing in real life.

    Jonnp99 TvJonnp99 Tv15 dagar sedan
  • Thank you for the lesson

    iCom3ntiCom3nt15 dagar sedan
  • America NEVER STOPPED gaming between 1982 and 85. We were all gaming more than ever, not on consoles but a little something called a Commodore 64. I know you probably never heard of it (LOL).

    Randy SmithRandy Smith15 dagar sedan
  • Great job. 👍🏽

    eric adamseric adams15 dagar sedan
  • I need to stop watching things that make me angry

    Charley WeinhardtCharley Weinhardt15 dagar sedan
  • Teach and teddy gave me nightmares for 2 years as a 3 year old 😲

    Henry LozanoHenry Lozano16 dagar sedan
  • As a poor kid from a third world country, this is my first time hearing about these :(. But hey, that means I wasn't one of those who got duped kekw

    NoBodyNoBody16 dagar sedan
  • Captain Power was pretty awesome

    retropcdurhamretropcdurham16 dagar sedan
  • Tv Teddy while watching a horror movie

    Martin RasconMartin Rascon16 dagar sedan
  • Amazing!! I had the video challenger and TMNT. I was wondering what it was called for the longest time, thank you! I sold it to my cousin for 4 pounds, which seemed like a lot of money at the time, instantly regretted it haha!

    s34nVideoss34nVideos16 dagar sedan
  • Very intetesting how these scam-systems operated. But still... What an absolute load of garbage. I am so sorry to everyone who ever got this as a gift.

    Cherry's DIYCherry's DIY16 dagar sedan
  • I had a teddy ruxpin. My sister replaced the tape with Madonna's like a virgin

    Boyce CatBoyce Cat16 dagar sedan
    • Gotta love how Teddy would essentially freakout with regular cassettes lol

      Cherry's DIYCherry's DIY16 dagar sedan
  • Times have changed. Now we have augmented reality that is simple to implement on a video stream and an application on a smartphone so it is seamless and doesn't detract the way the bright lights in these retro games.

    MasterYoshidinoMasterYoshidino16 dagar sedan
  • Does anyone else get this dull feeling in their chest where you both miss the past but acknowledge how much better tech is now?

    ComfortableWedgieComfortableWedgie17 dagar sedan
  • I had the see and say video phone growing up.

    Jonathan GriffinJonathan Griffin17 dagar sedan
  • 25:29 Well. "Short scenes held in ram" sounds like it would require a LOT of RAM for 1988 standards. 160x192 15fps at 16bpp would need 900KB a second.

    mrmimeisfunnymrmimeisfunny17 dagar sedan
  • So I guess epilepsy wasn‘t a thing back then

    DoppelG2008DoppelG200817 dagar sedan
  • This is basically like giving your younger sibling an unplugged controller.

    Marek SumaMarek Suma17 dagar sedan
  • i don't care what anyone says. My Captain Power plane was the best. I really didn't use the tape when i played with it, but i did watch the tape numerous times and enjoyed it....despite the fact it can cause major seizures with all the flashing in it

    MaTTiTudeMaTTiTude18 dagar sedan
  • No Captain Power VHS games? Those were awesome.

    Thrawn002Thrawn00218 dagar sedan
  • You know you've got something good when the box itself has a message from the president

    KikodeKlikoKikodeKliko18 dagar sedan
  • If it's the device that was doing the work and registering the points why didn't they have the game audio come from the device instead of the TV?

    melloyellomelloyello18 dagar sedan
  • 32:45 I wish the headbobbing was synced to the backround music. Would've made my week.

    Ben BruendermanBen Bruenderman18 dagar sedan
  • I remember watching captain power and thinking I could do better graphics.

    RobeightRobeight18 dagar sedan
  • As i kid we had a vhs driving game, we played a lot with it.

    nobody nowherenobody nowhere18 dagar sedan
  • I remember finding the video smart videos on SEworld like 10 years ago. They gave me a really weird feeling. Like nostalgia for something I had never experienced

    BandrosonkBandrosonk19 dagar sedan
  • Yesterday - 'Convinced VHS was magic' Today - 'Convinced Magic must have been used to get those things to work' Tomorrow - 'Convinced you'll figure it out'

    PuremindgamesPuremindgames20 dagar sedan
  • The Video Driver was my first experience with anything "video game"-related. I couldn't believe how realistic it was. Then again, I was like 3 or 4 at the time.

    John LJohn L20 dagar sedan
  • 80’s tech was so mind bogglingly crap. You kids have it so easy.

    Steve NicolSteve Nicol20 dagar sedan
  • What was the music used?

    Obsidian DragonXObsidian DragonX21 dag sedan
  • Lmmfao I had action maxx because it was cheap .. but I already had an nes .. btw action maxx sucked 🤣🤣

    Chris RodriguezChris Rodriguez21 dag sedan
  • Quazar and Mega Zone! I was just pulled back in time when you said that like Quantum Leap. That brought back some memories!

    Jose JacobJose Jacob21 dag sedan
  • Hm, I was expecting something like the Star Trek board game I remember us playing once when I was little. According to google, it was called "A Klingon Challenge" and its methods were very simple. No fancy gadgets reading flashing lights, just a guy playing a klingon fundamentalist to the hilt using vague terms like "you who just moved" to refer to players. I only ever recall playing it once, and, being something like 8 at the time, totally bought into it being something clever and not just using deliberately vague phrasing to get around the fact that it's really just a 1 hour long video that is playing while we play a board game. I definitely had fun with it, even though I wasn't the Star Trek fan, just the little brother roped into being sociable and playing a board game. Honestly, I'm glad I wasn't around when these were going on, because I could totally see myself as a kid falling for this trickery hook line and sinker, and then being really disappointed when I figured it out. (Of course, given the controllers all being toy guns, there was small chance of my ever being allowed to play them - my parents were pretty adamant about my not playing with toy guns.

    rashkavarrashkavar21 dag sedan
  • this is how i felt playing sega cd pilot games

    john prescottjohn prescott21 dag sedan
  • "It could do the same job as the Laserdisk, bur cheaper..." True. "...and better." Whoa dude. Can't agree there.

    maxis2kmaxis2k21 dag sedan
  • Growing up with tangible playthings was awesome. Today the only thing tangible is the glass panel on a screen.

    Xxx XxxXxx Xxx22 dagar sedan
  • "What could go wrong", did you ever experienced 2020? /s

    DevHONKDevHONK22 dagar sedan
  • brilliant video. As always. Had to look up what " boxing day" meant though

    elsombrero1000elsombrero100022 dagar sedan
  • I never knew Hasbro had gone SO technically deep with VHS as that. Very ambitious stuff. Never even SAW the tiny car one either back then. It looks like it's DESIGNED to break / not function right.

    JinzoCrashJinzoCrash23 dagar sedan
  • idnono where it came from , but i had a captain power tv toy thing that was based on the bad guys ship.

    Turbo print3dTurbo print3d23 dagar sedan
  • As long as you add two of them and a friend, that second one still looks fun to me...

    Chad 1337P-De$tr0yer69Chad 1337P-De$tr0yer6923 dagar sedan
  • Tank you veddy much.

    William WrightWilliam Wright23 dagar sedan
  • Never knew that exist 😂😂😂

    Jean-François DagenaisJean-François Dagenais23 dagar sedan
  • Thankfully I never had this shit. I started with nes.

    Jolfer 13Jolfer 1323 dagar sedan
  • The main vcr game I played and remember is Captain Power and the soldiers of the future

    TerryfanTerryfan24 dagar sedan
  • I had the black Captain Power ship. Never seen it again anywhere

    Vincent DroletVincent Drolet24 dagar sedan
  • Hope everything is ok atm fella. You seem to be drifting. Production value increases, volume decreases? Anyway. Keep up the good work fella and stay safe.

    Acorn ElectronAcorn Electron24 dagar sedan
  • I like how you said "usually at 6am in the morning" as if there's a different 6am.

    Damián "el Salsuero"Damián "el Salsuero"24 dagar sedan
  • This video inspired me to come up with an idea for a game console based on VHS tapes capable of playing games along the lines of visual novels and some variations on the format based on things like time of choice, using an internal loop of high quality tape to temporarily store multiple alternative sequences, with a moving second reading head that would be positioned to select from a small bank of yinyang-spiral-reellers in the loop to pick the appropriate section to play depending on the player's actions and instructions encoded either in the picture borders or audio tracks; the system would work by first recording at faster than real-time all the current alternative sequences from the inserted VHS tape and into the internal tape loop, and load the selection instructions, then after reaching that section, it would start playing at normal speed straight from the VHS tape, and when the user interacted, it would position the second reading head into the appropriate yinyang-spiral-reeller of the internal loop (yinyang-spiral-reellers so a longer section of tape could be wrapped into a small space), and play the appropriate section in real time, while simultaneously recording the next set of alternate clips as the loop was rolled, with an additional yinyang-spiral-reeller (maybe bigger) tightening up while the other reelers unwound, to let the record head have tape running faster thru it, while the selected segment played in real time, allowing all the sets of next alternate clips to be recorded while the selected clip played. And for more advanced pick-your-own-adventure formats, there could be some code in the clips to indicate which time-code to rewind/fast-forward the VHS tape to allow for branching, with some sort of eletronic loading screen when needed. Though, it would probably cost too much; definitely more than a plain VCR (but it could come with the ability of play conventional tapes as well, so people wouldn't need to buy that and a standalone VCR).

    TiagoTiagoTiagoTiago24 dagar sedan
  • I'm sorry WHAT!? did you say that there were toys that interacted with a cartoon? That is the coolest thing i could imagine.

    regorllerrefregorllerref24 dagar sedan
  • I find it super fascinating how people basically hacked together solutions to get this stuff to work. Some of these solutions are super ingenious honestly.

    Jessie Crimson HartJessie Crimson Hart25 dagar sedan
  • Wow, finally I can play video games without the hassle of actually playing a video game!

    F. F.F. F.25 dagar sedan
  • 11:35 more like a 7 segments display than LCD

    Squid GertSquid Gert25 dagar sedan
  • Omg totally forgot I had a video challenger as a kid! Must admit it was fun for a week! Had the turtles game and one or two more I think!

    Nickie BrookNickie Brook25 dagar sedan
  • I had the captain power joint

    Aaron SmithAaron Smith25 dagar sedan
  • Why did Worlds of Wonder or "WoW" not sue Blizzard for Copy Rights :) Captain Power was one of the greatest shows EVER! Damn you canceling culture.

    Just JordanJust Jordan25 dagar sedan
  • I'm surprised companies dont still attempt this kinda thing in toys targeted at 3-5 year olds

    Engineering RealityEngineering Reality25 dagar sedan
  • This reminds me of Captain Power where the flashing light would hit a sensor on your toy and cause “hits” from the enemy

    hatednychatednyc25 dagar sedan
  • Of course the my were confederate flag touting fighter pilots

    Alpha TAlpha T26 dagar sedan
  • I remember my buddy brought over a copy of Nightmare and it's one of my favorite board game experiences, if a bit gimmicky.

    Adam OwensAdam Owens26 dagar sedan
  • omg this is like a twilight zone i am happy i missed this vhs "thingy"..

    IceLancer SRIceLancer SR27 dagar sedan
  • If they give you a gun to shoot jet fighters .and you accepted this concept ... it's not their fault it's your IQ

    MadDog Mc CreeMadDog Mc Cree27 dagar sedan

    아기오리duckling아기오리duckling27 dagar sedan
  • I would love to have the first light gun as a prop, looks like a good .44 Automag prop.

    MemeReviewerMemeReviewer27 dagar sedan
  • Video games are totally just a fad.... Right?

    theFLCLguytheFLCLguy27 dagar sedan
  • I find it interesting that you showed a retail demo Toby instead of one that was actually sold, as it invokes a second one of my weird indescribable feelings, probably because I'm imagining someone showing off an old phone in a video, but then shows a retail demo model instead, which would be running the original software, and can't be turned off normally. Edit: Also, judging by the character design, I won't be surprised if the Toby toys ended up being one of many indirect entry points into the furry fandom for many children.

    Kevin BhasiKevin Bhasi27 dagar sedan
  • The way they used the vhs frames to hold scenes for Night Trap like that is actually pretty ingenious

    Miseri ChordeMiseri Chorde27 dagar sedan
  • I remember seeing an Interactive Vision at a thrift store back in the day. I never wanted anything to do with it at the time because I was too busy reselling Atari 2600 kits and games I'd pick up for dirt cheap, but I remember the janky-ass styling of the system and controller.

    Fryode - The Fried DiodeFryode - The Fried Diode27 dagar sedan
  • Why couldn't they have a VCR tied in with a console with an AV passthrough, use the VCR for the world and the console only processing the character sprite? In that case the SNES would be able to produce near VHS quality images if it could use all of it's power only on a couple of sprites, same with the Genesis. Of course that would probably lead to "run on a track" type games like the early Sega CD games, Sewer Rat, etc... it would have worked for stuff like the Terminator 2 shooter though, however, that game looked pretty good on the SNES anyway.

    Glen WaldropGlen Waldrop27 dagar sedan
  • Nothing quite like taking your little brother's Teddy Ruskpin and playing Motley Crue's Girls Girls GIrls...

    Glen WaldropGlen Waldrop27 dagar sedan
  • As a kid playing N64, I tried to give an unplugged controller to another kid to make him think he was playing a character on screen. He didn’t fall for it lmao!

    TheCharmIsGlobalTheCharmIsGlobal27 dagar sedan