History of Watara Supervision
The success of the Game Boy got a lot of attention by many companies. Some of these companies began to speculate on how they can get a piece of the market. One of this speculators was a company known as Watara. Watara came up with the idea to release a product that was slightly better in design than the Game Boy, but with a cheaper price and more reachable for the consumer to buy. The result of this idea was the Watara Supervision, a monochrome handheld game console originated from Asia and introduced in 1992 as a cut price competitor of the Nintendo Game Boy.
Watara made a distribution deal, which allowed for the Supervision to be priced only $49.95, which was considerably less than Nintendo's $89.99 Game Boy. The games of the console was also extremely cheap. The prices varied from $8.95 to $14.95. Also, inside the box there was already a game packaged called Crystball. The games were mostly developed in Taiwan or Hong Kong, by Watara's in-house development team. However, a tiny handful of games were developed by third party companies such as Sachen.
Technical Specifications of Watara Supervision
In terms of technical specifications, the Watara used a 8-bit CPU and has a screen of 2.37x2.37 inches, which is significantly bigger than that of the Game Boy. Like the Game Boy though, the Supevision also uses an LCD screen that can only display 4 monochrome shades and is powered by 4 AA bateries or a 6V AC/DC adapter. Upon the unit you can find a cartridge receiver, a contrast adjuster to ensure the quality of the game play even in light conditions and a DB9 connector receiver for multiplayer gaming. There is also a built-in speaker and a headphone jack.
Apart from the much lower price and the bigger screen, the supervision had one more trick up its sleeve. Watara had also available a TV link cable on the market, which connects the Supervision with a TV link box together, which plugs the system directly into the TV. This means that the system allow the same thing as what Nintendo Switch today and came quite earlier than Super Game Boy, which connects the Game Boy with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System console.
Appearance of Watara Supervision
The Supervision's external appearance also had variations too. The original appearance of the Watara Supervision was extremely similar to the original Game Boy, even copying the location of the power switch, headphone jack, volume and contrast adjusters. A second version was released with a redesigned d-pad and offered a bendable section in the middle, allowing the screen to be set up at an angle. Small tabs were included on the back to help hold the screen if the Supervision was placed in a flat surface. A third version also released which lost the bendable section and changed the d-pad once again. The location of the start and select button were also changed. This version was released in gray, green and yellow colors.
Variations of Watara Supervision
The console had a lot of variants and it came by many names too, like Hipervision and Tiger Boy. Different global distributors also made the system know as the Mini Supervision or the Video Jet Supervision or the QuickShot Supervision. Other regional differences and something that may only matter to collectors was the box variants between regions.
TV Appearances of Watara Supervision
Despite being a quite forgotten console today, surprisingly the Supervision made a fair few TV appearances back in the day. In the mid 90's the Supervision was once offered as a final prize on a television game show "Legends of the hidden Temple". It was also offered as a prize on the premiere of TV show in 1994. In United Kingdom the QuickShot version of the Supervision was heavily featured for a time on the gaming show "Bad Influence".
Critisism of Watara Supervision
There was a lot of criticism about Supervision's screen. It is said that it was blurring many times and made the game play difficult. This, in combination with the luck in the numbers of games, since Sega Game Gear, Atari Lynx and Nintendo Game Boy have a much vaster game library, contributed as a declining factor in Supervision's sales. Lastly, pretty much after Supervision launched into the market, Nintendo offered the Game Boy basic package for only $59.95. So Nintendo made Game Boy a budget console too.
Watara Supervision - Italian Commercials: