V-Tech Master Video Painter (V-Tech, 1994)

INFO: My “Retro Vault” reviews are not scored. Instead, I just talk about why I have fond memories of whichever game I’m writing about at the time. Generally, I won’t pick out any bad games for the Retro Vault feature, so scoring them is essentially useless anyway. Enjoy the read.

When I was nine years old (this was in 1994 for those who are curious), I had the coolest freaking thing ever. It was called the V-Tech Master Video Painter. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, neither did approximately 99% of the world’s population. I couldn’t even remember the name of the darn thing until just now, and it appears that a lot of other people looking for the name of the device can’t remember it either! Well, I hope that they end up finding this page.

Photo by Martin Kou.

Anyway, so what was this V-Tech Master Video Painter? Essentially it was a large drawing tablet (about 1×1.5 feet) that plugged directly into your TV and allowed you to do draw, paint, and much more. It was sort of like Mario Paint, only it was not dependent on a console and used a plastic pen and tablet in favour of a controller and mouse. Does this already sound more intuitive than Mario Paint? Well, it was. The V-Tech Master Video Painter was designed specifically for children (the design of the tablet is evidence of this), so it had to be pretty easy to use while still being able to be pretty flexible.

So, what could the Master Video Painter do? It had all of the drawing capabilities of Mario Paint and more since it was a drawing tool – not a drawing game. Since it has been so long since I had this device, I had to look up what it was capable of. Here’s what the V-Tech Master Video Painter could do, courtesy of Martin Kou (I’ll link to you friend, no worries).

  • 14 colour palette
  • 10 drawing functions (2 pencils, 2 spray modes, a transparency pen, paintbrush, stamps, geometric objects, eraser, text, background/clip art)
  • Animation capabilities (limited to 5 frames)
  • Music capabilities (5 built in background songs as well as a tool for users to make their own songs using 10 different notes)
Photo by Martin Kou.

Aside from being able to express yourself creatively, there’s also a “game” option. This brings up a jigsaw puzzle game, but the pieces are all square. Not very difficult, and this could not hold a candle to the fly swatting game in Mario Paint. I never really played the game too much since the Master Video Painter’s painting tools were far too engrossing and fun for a nine year old boy.

I spent most of time just drawing, which was a lot of fun. The draw/paint options were very similar to what one would find in MSPaint, the dinky little art program that comes with every version of Windows. Heck, it can even zoom into an image and allow you to edit pixel by pixel! I vaguely remember that being a little difficult since editing something pixel by pixel was no easy task when my tool of choice had to be a pen.

The music editing software in the Master Video Painter wasn’t too bad. As stated above, there were 10 different notes which were themed on animals and such (again, like Mario Paint). The music was midi-based, so you wouldn’t be able to make anything breathtaking. It was still fun to play around in though.

Photo by Martin Kou.

I remember being the only person I knew who owned one of these things. A boy who lived in my neighborhood stopped by, saw the device and what was on my TV, and wondered what the heck it was! So many had never even seen one of these things before, it was really incredible. I feel a little funny because I was usually the kid who had less than others my age growing up, so to have something that nobody else in the neighborhood had was really quite cool. I’ll always remember the Master Video Painter with fond memories. It was a very fun device to play with as a child!

I’ll finish this off with a link and two videos. Check out this page by Martin Kou for loads of information on the V-Tech Master Video Painter. He has the luxury of actually having one of these bad boys, so he gets to be a lot more descriptive than I could ever hope to be.

And secondly, here’s a video I found! Enjoy!

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9 thoughts on “V-Tech Master Video Painter (V-Tech, 1994)

  1. LOL I was checking my site referral stats today (for the first time in many months) and got a link to this page. Yeah when I was a little kid, before I owned my own computer, I had one of these things to keep me occupied (along with other fun novelty toys). I only had a Sega Genesis at the time (and I missed much of the 16-bit gaming generation) so I can’t really comment on how it compares to Mario Paint, but it was sure fun back in the day. 🙂 These things occasionally show up on ebay as well as local classifieds (more often on the latter though) and the prices are often reasonable. The one I purchased though, is beginning to feel less sensitive (i.e. you have to press harder on the pen to the pad in order to draw anything) but it was in fair condition when I bought it from the owner. Glad I brought some nostalgia back in someone.

  2. I was born in 1994 but I remember “Santa” bought me this one year, about 1998/9 or so and it was the coolest thing EVERR!! Like you, I didn’t have a lot of fancy things as a child but one of my earliest memories was playing on this on the tiny little telly in my mam’s bedroom and it was so cool! I think I still have it in the attic somewhere, I hope I do any ways! I’m 18 and I would STILL play it if I had it lol and the Sega Genesis too

  3. I got one of these for Christmas in 94 when I was 8 and I loved it! Nobody I knew had one or had ever heard of them either! What’s amazing though is that my mam produced it from the attic the other day and it still works perfectly, my 3 year old is having a great time with it, even if he’s just using the pencil/spray can at the moment!

  4. About an hour ago, I started thinking about my super cool drawing thingy I had when I was younger! Finally found it. I remember spending hours on this to the point, where my mam would pull the plug on it. I absolutely loved it! I don’t know where the main part is, but I have the plug, of all things! I wish I could find it! Im sure its in the shed somewhere. Also, I never knew another person who had it, except me. Being a typical only child, no one was allowed to play with it! Although I am 21, maybe I should grow up? Nahhh!

  5. I still have the Video Painter, I bought it for my daughter many many moons ago…..I pulled it out the other day and well, maybe my grandson will like it!

    • I have the same tablet that I find on ebay for my 7 year old son but I did not notice or cartridges that knows where you can still get them thank you to answer me

  6. I am so happy to see this!
    I got mine when I was about 10 or 12 years old, as a gift from my uncle. It was awesome! I used to make animations and then record them in VHS cassettes. Those cassettes with my animations have to be somewhere in my house. Now I want to search for them!!! hahah.
    I always wanted to get a cartridge for it, but here where I live, Chile, they were not sold. (I don’t even know where did my uncle get the Video Painter anyways…).
    I would still love to see (and have) a cartridge. So I ask too if someone can show us how the cartridges look like!

    I still have my Video Painter. I will go right now and connect it to the TV again to remember the old times.
    Thanks for bringing back these memories to me 🙂

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