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Video Game Essentials: Action Max – The VHS Console

The ‘Action Max’ was a VHS based console system released in 1987 by ‘World of Wonders’.

The console, which required a separate VCR, played light gun based shooting games only. The games were limited in scope and very repetitive. An infrared sensor was placed at the lower right hand corner of the TV. The sensor would flash when you’re required to shoot and points were scored, or stolen from your opponent in two player mode, if your shot was timed with the sensor flash. Points would then need to be tallied by the player as; there was no real way of truly winning or losing a game.

The console was discontinued within a year and only had a limited release outside of the USA. Only one game was known to be available on the PAL format. Five games were produced for the system all similar in game play and scope. A planned six game was shelved when the console was removed from sale.

It was a brave pitch by ‘World of Wonders’ to try and recreate the thrill of arcade shoot’em ups on the home console. It was also an attempt to give the game player a more realistic experience due to the limitations with the eight bit graphics available at the time. As flawed as it was it was quite innovative and different; something ‘Nintendo’ now use as a selling point when they’re developing new consoles.

The games:-

38 Ambush Alley – a game based on a Police target range.

Blue Thunder – a tie in game based on the film of the same name.

Hydrosub 2021 – underwater voyage shoot’em up.

The Rescue of Pops Ghostly – a comic hunted house adventure.

Sonic Fury – aerial combat (included with the console).

Unreleased game:-

Fright Night – a horror based shoot’em up.


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