Mid-week Memories

Hand-held fun

Hand-held fun

Last night I found my old hand held LCD games and was reminded of how much fun they are. I put a couple of batteries I had in them, but they didn’t last long as they must be flat. We got these games in the 80’s and were the primary means of entertainment when bored on long car trips, living out in regional NSW meant many of those. These little hand-held games had many advantages: the batteries generally lasted a long time, they were relatively low cost, and the games could be replayed many times. I remember sitting in the back of the car competing with my brothers for high scores on the ones we had.

I had two games, one called Soccer and another called Space Castle. Both games were obviously very simple, Soccer had you playing as a goalie catching soccer balls that would be kicked at you by a number of players in the field. You had to be fast as frequently many balls would arrive at nearly the same time. Space Castle had you flying a space ship through a pile of obstacles to a landing pad. Both games would speed up as you played getting harder and harder, you could tell the change in pace by the ticking sound many LCD games made as they played. Soccer fortunately would slow down to a lower level once you’d beaten the fastest speed, only to later speed up again, whilst other games would just speed up until it became unplayable.

My older brother had a few of these games as well, Mickey and Donald and Pacman that I remember. Pacman unfortunately got broken, and as it was a seemingly rare game I’ve not seen one since. Mickey and Donald also seems to be rare, but there are some simulators on-line that let you play. I think we might still have this one, but I haven’t seen it in years.

If you’re looking for a simulator to play these games there are a few places to look. Madrigal Design has a number of them, as does hand-held remakes. If you want to play in your browser pica-pic has a number of games you can play there, including the rare Mickey and Donald.

It’s nice to know that people are preserving these and creating simulators so that others may play them and get a feel for what they are like. This is one form of old-school gaming that could easily disappear, as everything is in hardware and knowledge of the internals long since lost.

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