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Action Max VHS Home Console Discussion


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Well, there might not be much to say about it but since I joined the Wierd, Oddball Systems Collectors club, and no one has posted anything in the past many months, I figure I'd start a conversatio  about the Action Max.

The Action Max was a home video game console using VHS tapes for games. It was manufactured in 1987 by Worlds of Wonder. The system had a very limited release outside the U.S. Using light guns, players shoot at the screen. The gaming is strictly point-based and dependent on shot accuracy, and, as a result, players can't truly win or lose a game. The system's post-launch appeal was limited by this and by the fact that the only real genre on the system are light gun games that play exactly the same way every time, leading to its quick market decline.

Before playing, a red sensor must be attached to the lower right corner of the television screen. This corner contains a circle that was usually black, but flashes rapidly whenever something on the screen is targetable. At the same time, targets are highlighted by rapidly flashing panels for the player to shoot at. The console uses the corner circle and light from the targets (picked up by the guns) to determine when something has been hit. Flashes in sync with the corner circle count as enemy hits, and earn points for the player. Flashes out of sync with the corner circle count as friendly hits, losing points.

There were only 5 game officially released for the Action Max:

  • .38 Ambush Alley, a police target range;
  • Blue Thunder, based on the eponymous 1983 motion picture;
  • Hydrosub: 2021, a futuristic underwater voyage;
  • The Rescue of Pops Ghostly, a comic haunted-house adventure;
  • Sonic Fury, aerial combat, bundled with the system.

Blue Thunder is basically the "Stadium Events" of the system.  I've been looking for one for years and haven't seen one on eBay.  The other four, however, are much more easily found on eBay.

Another cool aspect of this device is that since scoring is based off of basic light gun mechanics and detection from a device that attaches to the corner of your CRT display, you can actually make homebrew titles quite easily.  There are a couple that have been discussed on AtariAge but since the device is strictly using detection of what is happening on a screen, you can use a DVD player instead of a VCR player, or potentially YouTube/Streaming media sent directly to your CRT.

So, anyone else collect for this system?  I have every title sealed (except Blue Thunder) an a NIB Action Max.  Anyone else interested in this device and potentially making a VGS homebrew?

(PLEASE NOTE if you'd like to comment and can't, you might have to first join the club.  I've noticed that most club posts are locked until you join the club.)

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Edited by RH
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