Released by Video Technology Ltd. (VTech) in 1981 the CreatiVision was sold in Australia, Europe and South Africa under the title ‘Dick Smith Wizzard’ sporting the name of the Australian entrepreneur, businessman, aviator, political activist and founder of Dick Smith Electronics – among other things. Dick Smith was awarded ‘Australian of the Year’ in 1986.
While the CreatiVision bears a strong resemblance to the Intellivision and Colecovision it’s technically more comparable in function to the ‘Videobrain Family Computer‘ and the ‘AFP Imagination Machine‘, both of which were more a combination home computer and games console rather than just a games machine.
The CreatiVision also seems to be a more ‘high class’ made unit over the Intellivision and Colecovision with more sturdy plastic used, screws threading into metal threads, not just the base plastic and numerous nice touches. It’s a shame that it’s physically such a boring looking block.
The CreatiVision was also released under the titles the ‘Dick Smith VZ 2000‘, ‘Hanimex Rameses’ and the ‘FunVision Computer Video Games System’, all of which were produced by VTech.
With an 8-bit, 2MHz 6502 Rockwell processor and 1kB of RAM plus 16kB of video RAM the CreatiVision was surprisingly capable for a low end computer and could output at a resolution of 256 x 192 with 16 colours and support for up to 32 sprites. The system’s onboard 1kB of RAM could be upgraded to 16kB (11kB usable) although very few of these upgrades were ever released and only in Australia.
As with the Intellivision and Colecovision the paddle-like joysticks were cabled to the base unit and incorporated joystick, action buttons and a membrane of additional buttons. But where the Intellivision and Colecovision had numeric keypads on the controllers, the CreatiVision’s combined to make an almost usable QWERTY keyboard.
As with most membrane based keyboards, it’s horrible to use for any prolonged period of time or for any serious coding so an add-on rubber ‘Moving Key Keyboard’ was released to address this. See other page on this site for details on the keyboard.
There were a number of other peripherals released for the CreatiVision, a BASIC cartridge, a cassette tape recorder/player and an I/O interface adapter which connected to the base units cartridge port and added a third of the units original size to the its footprint.
For its day the CreatiVision produced some impressive graphics and three channel (plus one noise channel) sound and, while fairly unimpressive physically, should have a proud place in any avid collector’s console pile.
Manufacturer: Video Technology Ltd
Variants: Creativision, Funvision, Hanimex Rameses, VZ2000 (this may be a fake)
Release date: 1982
Processor: 2 MHz 6502
RAM: 16 KB Dynamic RAM, 1 KB Static RAM, 2 KB system program
Graphics: 256 x 192 pixels, 28 columns x 24 rows of text, 16 colours
Sound: 3 musical channels and one noise channel
Key features: Membrane keyboard integrated into joysticks.
Accessories: BASIC cartridge, “Moving” rubber keyboard, cassette player, IO Interface, 16 k memory expansion (yes, these were released in a small number in Australia).
THE DICK SMITH WIZZARD
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THE DICK SMITH WIZZARD CASSETTE-STORAGE MODULE
Plug-compatible’ THE DICK SMITH WIZZARD Expansion Unit allows for massive and permanent storage of programs and data on ordinary cassette tape by the user.
THE DICK SMITH WIZZARD SERIAL & PARALLEL I/O INTERFACE
This expansion module provides the user with a wide range of input and output facilities to drive devices such as Graphic Printer. Floppy Disc Drive and Telephone Interface.
THE DICK SMITH WIZZARD MEMORY EXPANSION MODULE
‘Plug-compatible’ unit command your computer to perform more program statement functions and give you instant access of 16K up to 64K Bytes of additional stored data, depending on your needs.
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THE DICK SMITH WIZZARD MOVING-KEY KEYBOARD
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Youtube video of an advertisement for Dick Smith Electronics. There’s plenty of cool old hardware to be spotted in this commercial. The Dick Smith Wizzard even makes a (brief) appearance.