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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