The top ten retro gaming secrets
7. Hi-tech used to be very low-tech
You may think that the likes of the Magnavox Odyssey, with a beam of light moving around on a TV behind a (literally) stick-to-the-screen translucent overlay, or even Pong where you ‘hit’ a blob from one side of a screen to the other were, well, pretty simplistic. However, compared to the electro-mechanical ‘video games’ that followed some five years later they were hugely sophisticated bits of tech.
Tomy released a whole batch of games consoles that were, actually, wind-up mechanisms powered with batteries to light a single red LED light, or sometimes just a plain old bulb. Blip was the most popular, being an electro-mechanical version of Pong, released in 1977. This was followed by a racing game (Demon Driver, mentioned above) in 1978 and a shooter (Missile Strike) in 1979. In the early eighties Tomy used the same electro-mechanical innards but within arcade-shaped housings under the Mini Arcade brand.
8. Games were green in 1982
The concept of environmentally friendly games might seem a little precocious now, let alone back in the heady consumption days of the early 1980s. Back then, though, some video game handhelds were truly thinking green. How does solar-powered gaming in 1982 grab you?
The Bandai Terror House handheld was released in 1982 and featured two LCD panels (stacked one on the other for 3D-alike effects) and a solar panel to provide the power. As soon as there was enough ambient light the game kicked into action, although as soon as the light faded so did the gaming experience…