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Action Max

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Title: Action Max  
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Subject: Video game consoles, Atari 7800, Nintendo Entertainment System, Timeline of video game console releases in North America, 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System
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Action Max

Action Max
Action Max with light gun, headphones, and score signal
Manufacturer Worlds of Wonder
Type Home video game console
Generation Third generation
Retail availability 1987
Media VHS tape

Action Max is a home video game console using VHS tapes for games. It was created in 1987 by Worlds of Wonder.

The system required its owner to also have a VCR, as the console did not have a way to play tapes itself. Using a light gun (or two for 2-player games) players would shoot at the screen. The gaming was strictly point-based and dependent on shot accuracy. Players could not truly "lose" or "win" a game. This, along with the fact that the only real genre on the system were light gun games that played exactly the same way every time, greatly limited the system's appeal and led to its quick downfall.

The Action Max had a very limited release outside the US and only one PAL game is suspected to have been made.

Like the Fairchild Channel F, this unit had an internal speaker.


Sonic Fury (PAL)

In all, five VHS cassettes were released for the system:

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

A planned sixth cassette, Fright Night, was unreleased at the time Action Max was discontinued.

Each game followed an identical gameplay format (described below), differing only in theme.

Targeting system

Before playing, a red sensor had to be attached to the lower right corner of the television screen. This corner contained a circle that was usually black, but would flash rapidly whenever something on the screen was shootable. At the same time, targets would be highlighted by rapidly flashing panels, for the player to shoot at. The Action Max console used the corner circle and light from the targets (picked up by the guns) to determine when something had been hit. Flashes in sync with the corner circle would count as 'enemy' hits, and would earn points for the player. Flashes out of sync with the corner circle counted as 'friend' hits, losing points.

With this implementation, the unit can function with copies of the original VHS tapes, including those on more modern formats such as DVD-R or played off PCs over things like Apple Air Play. The console can also work with any filmed footage properly formatted to function with the console's light gun.

Technical specifications

An Action Max (PAL) PCB.
  • CPU: HD401010
  • Internal Speaker
  • 2 Character, 7 segment LED score display

See also

External links

  • Action Max Calibration Screen
  • Action Max on OLD-COMPUTERS.COM
  • Action Max Emulator

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