Sunday, August 29, 2010

Classic Handheld Gaming

Earlier today I was playing Pinball Hall of Fame on the Sony PSP. While I was impressed with the game's graphics and physics, it got me thinking back to a simpler era of handheld gaming. Let's go back to the late 1970s when all you needed to make a compelling handheld game was a series of red blips on the screen. Of course, I'm referring to Mattel's Football, Basketball and Baseball games.

I got football as a Christmas present while my brother got basketball. I added baseball a little while after that. I'm guessing that virtually every boy between the ages of 8-12 in the late 70s owned at least one of these three games. I can promise you that the hours I put into football alone far eclipses all of the time I've ever put into the PSP.

A few years ago Mattel re-released these games. My wife bought me the football game as a Christmas gift, making it the only non-clothing gift I've ever received for Christmas twice.

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MadPlanet said...

Great! Now you're really speaking my language FG40. I had the Football and then later on we had the updated Football II. I think maybe you couldn't actually pass in the first one or something like that but you could in II. I don't remember the upgrade features exactly. Hell it may have been the exact same game. I also had Space Alert which was a Battlestar Galactica shooter game. You should check out the program called LEDHEAD that simulates all these games on your computer. Pretty cool for a quick nostalgic trip down handheld gaming memory lane in the comfort of your own office:

Fallguy40 said...

I'll check out that link. You definitely could NOT pass on the original football.

Another handheld system that I remember playing was Microvision. It was a cartridge-based system with these giant cartridges that snapped on the front of the thing with screen overlays.

I never had this but a friend of mine did. Microvision's Breakout game was a lot of fun at the time.

I also remember wanting a miniature Pac Man game that duplicated the arcade machine's cabinet. Never got to play that one though. Looked cool in the Sears catalog though.

gnome said...

I do remember being baffled by the football game ages ago. I never knew there actually was a version of football played with the hands andI just couldn't understand the thing.

MadPlanet said...

And to confuse the issue further outside of America I vaguely remember seeing a Soccer version too. Not in person but in that Sears catalogue again.

I vaguely remember playing a Microvision but I have no idea where because I don't think we owned one. We DID have a Donkey Kong mini arcade though. Seems like it didn't last too long before breaking. I bought Mrs. MP a Frogger one off of eBay for her birthday a few years ago.