The top ten retro gaming secrets
4. Steering wheel controllers are older than you think
While we’re shooting down myths, steering wheels weren’t invented by Sony for the PlayStation in 1994, nor Nintendo for the N64 in 1996.
Forget about the force-feedback wheels of today, and jump back to 1978 for the electro-mechanical Tomy Demon Driver complete with mini-wheel, or totally bizarre Tomy Turnin’ Turbo Dashboard driving simulator of 1983.
However, for a true steering wheel controller peripheral look to the Hanimex TVG-3000 plug-into-your-telly console from the early 1980’s which had an optional wheel to accompany a racing game and beat the big boys by at least a decade.
5. The Nintendo DS was not the first dual-screen handheld
The Nintendo DS has sold in excess of 130 million units since 2004 to become the best-selling handheld video games console of all time. Yet the DS bit was far from innovative: dual-screen handhelds have been around for nearly 30 years! Nintendo itself had a range of multi-screen ‘Game & Watch’ devices, including the million seller ‘Mario Bros’ from 1983.
Nintendo wasn’t alone in developing this kind of technology. The 1982 VTech ‘Diamond Hunt’ handheld went one better with play across three screens, as did the Monkey Kingdom handheld from Tronica which adopted a side-to-side screen approach rather than the top-to-bottom scrolling of Diamond Hunt.
6. The Game Boy was not a game changer
More bad news for Nintendo fanboys: the Game Boy, released in 1989 and selling nearly 120 million units worldwide, was not the pioneering cartridge-based handheld you might imagine. Atari fans can sit down as well: neither was the backlit colour-screened Atari Lynx of the same year.
Jump back a whole ten years to 1979 and the Milton Bradley Microvision was actually the very first handheld with interchangeable cartridges to hit the games market. It had died by 1981, a victim of being a little ahead of its time and a little short of screen estate and games to play, but did manage to put in an appearance in Friday the 13th Part 2.