Saturday, July 10, 2010

Handheld Electronic Games

I was at an estate sale today in South St. Louis county off of Mueller Road (Foulk Road to be exact). This estate sale was restricted to the basement. It apparently had opened on Friday (lots of estate sales do, although I believe it's a recent development) and that's another reason I dislike them -- I'm usually unable to attend on their opening day and miss the best stuff. But I did manage to pick up a few items including a Halloween Pumpkin candy carrier to add to my collection and a set of 3 NOS (new old stock for you not in the know) Super 8mm film reels with cases, still sealed with Target price tag (25 cents on clearance). I also found a couple of vintage Dr. Pepper soda crates. I'll keep one to hang on the wall as a shelf and probably eBay the other.

The best find was a group of vintage handheld eletronic games: The unfortunately-named Atari Touch Me, a Parker Brothers Split Second game (the design twin of the popular Merlin) and a Coleco Zap!

Touch Me and Zap! both work great. I haven't been able to test Split Second yet as it takes 6(!) AA batteries.

Atari Touch Me

Touch Me is a handheld knockoff of Simon. You're given the choice of 8, 16, 32, or 99 patterns to repeat. It almost looks like a binary progression, until you hit 99. There are 3 skill levels which I haven't tried out yet. This one was in fairly good shape, although I did have to solder a new 9v connector on. But let's get back to that name. "Touch Me". Seriously, Atari? Maybe when this game was released, it implied something sexy. These days, it just leads you believe Michael Jackson handed these out to his Neverland Ranch guests.

Coleco Zap!

Zap! is a player vs. player game which involves 6 diodes (3 per side) that light to simulate movement of a "laser". If the "laser" reaches your goal, it's one point against you toward losing (the diodes serve as the scoring mechanism as well. Once the third light is lit, you lose). The longer you wait for the laser to reach your goal (ie: the third light) the faster it will return to your opponent. It's actually a pretty fun game (at least for a few minutes).

Parker Bros. Split Second

Here's Split Second. Like I previously mentioned, very much the design twin of Merlin (one of my favorites from my childhood). I haven't been able to test this out due to a shortage of AA batteries in my house.

None of these games are worth a whole lot. I'll just add them to the collection -- if the kids don't break them first!


  1. "Blip" was another of these games, but more of a hybrid between the true electronic and mechanical game. i always wanted to take it apart!

  2. I have Blip as well, but bought it off of eBay. Always wanted it as a kid. I was shocked to find it was an led light mounted on an arm that moved by gears. What a gyp.

  3. Yep, those handheld games are battery killers!


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