Smash TV (Williams, 1990)

"BIG Money! BIG Prizes! I LOVE IT!"

It's Smash TV, the most violent game show of all time!

YOU are the next lucky contestant!


With gameplay derived from Robotron: 2084 and a theme inspired by the classic action flick The Running Man, this game marked Williams' re-entry into the world of video games.

Smash TV appeared during the tail end of my second year in University. I credit the game as being the single biggest factor that kept me sane during this period.

I also consider Smash TV as the game that marked the end of the "drought" of creative ideas that so badly mauled my opinion of arcades towards the end of the 1980s. Yes, there were some other great games released during this time, but Smash TV is the first one that immediately transported me back in time and made me remember what I enjoyed about video games in the first place! The graphics and sound may have been new and flashy, but the style of play was 100% "classic". The "game show" theme and cavalier attitude towards violence may have added to my enjoyment of the experience, but the thing that kept me pumping in the quarters was the gameplay.

There's a lesson for would-be game designers in there, I'm sure.

Anyways, kudos and thanks to the Williams crew for keeping me in the arcades and out of the loony bin (well, University was pretty loony too, but that's another story) during the early '90s.

Prequels and sequels:

The Pleasure Domes:

Ah, the elusive Pleasure Domes. No description of Smash TV would be complete without it. So here's the scoop:

Board Description:

Smash TV runs on the Williams Y-Unit hardware platform. This consists of both a motherboard and a sound board.

The Y-Unitmotherboard is squarish in shape and has a TMS34010 processor to do most of the work, and a VLSI ASIC designed by Williams taking care of the graphics.

The sound board is of the design featuring two audio amplifiers.

One of these days, I'll make a Y-Unit page and document the variations on the theme. For now, you'll have to wait.

Technical information:

ROM locations, checksums, preferably in table format. Other info on custom parts and/or PLDs also here.

Pinouts and Switches: