[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Hand-to-Handheld Combat

June 9th, 2008 by Benj Edwards

Irem Game Boy Ad - R-Type - Kung-Fu Master - 1991Of Aliens and Men

This richly illustrated advertisement for Irem's R-Type and Kung-Fu Master on the Game Boy made me bristle with excitement as a kid. Unfortunately, most Game Boy games (when played on the blurry, slow-response, low-contrast, pale green LCD display of the original GB unit) didn't live up to the promise of their vivid, colorful ads. Sure, I tried my hand at many action games on Nintendo's famous handheld, but the lackluster experience made me mostly stick with Tetris until the vastly-improved screens of the Game Boy Pocket and Color came along.

[ From Handheld Video Games, Spring 1991 ]

Discussion topic of the week: What was your first portable electronic/video game experience? Describe it for us.

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15 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Hand-to-Handheld Combat”

  1. SirPaul Says:

    Three words: Game and watch.

    Most of the games were quite simple and dull, and they made me look at the Game Boy longingly, but they were a good boredom-breaker when camping or waiting in the doctor's office.

  2. Jeff Says:

    The first one that made an impression on me was Mattel Football. It's funny how long that 9 x 3 grid of red LEDs kept my interest.

  3. SQLGuru Says:

    I liked Merlin better, but I did play Mattel Football, Baseball, and Basketball. I even had a Pac-Man watch. I've never personally owned any of the portables in the sense of a Gameboy et. al.

    Layne

  4. XCALBR8 Says:

    Mattel Football II for me. I couldn't put that down and probably went through 100 batteries. That was lost through the years but I got it again just a few years ago. After Football II it was the Game Boy. Strangely I still have my Game Boy w/ fresh batteries on my desk which I play regularly. Tetris and Super RC Pro-am are my favorite games.

  5. Captain Angry Says:

    Don't bash the Gameboy! Final Fantasy Adventure and Links Awakening are a couple of my top games of all time. Its amazing they could fit these huge RPGs on that little tiny cartridge.

    I spent soooo many hours in the backseat of my parents' minivan on road trips playing GB. I'd say the Gameboy Pocket specifically, with its crisper screen and smaller footprint, may have been my top gaming system of all time.

  6. Benj Edwards Says:

    I'm not bashing the Game Boy. I loved it as a kid. I was just mentioning how hard it was to see fast-moving action games on the original Game Boy's slow-response screen.

  7. Jim Ulrich Says:

    Mickey Mouse Game and Watch:
    http://www.gameandwatch.com/screen/widescreen/images/mickey.gif

  8. jgoreham Says:

    My uncle won a Gameboy in a draw or something, and I became an absolute fiend for Tetris. I would argue that most of the time that I spent in my aunt and uncle's house during my childhood was spent playing Tetris!

  9. Mr. Ksoft Says:

    When I was really little I had an "Independence Day" LCD game, but it was kinda silly so I never really played it.
    My first real handheld game was a Game Boy Pocket with Super Mario Land. I played that single game for literally months. Then I got Tetris Plus and Pokemon and my life was forever changed.

  10. Red Says:

    Ah, this thread brings back memories. I had Mattel football, and Mario Game & Watch. I also had Mattel baseball & basketball, and head to head baseball, but I have to say that Tetris on my new Game Boy beat them all. I was so addicted, I would actually have dreams about it.

  11. Rockin' Kat Says:

    Personally, my first handheld gaming was on the original gameboy. I still have mine… I was actually playing it A LOT while I was stuck in bed for almost a week after getting surgery just over a month ago.

    Before I had that though, my mother had a Manhole Game and Watch which I played a few times… it's mine now. It's pretty cool, I get batteries for it every now and then when I feel like playing it.

    My second hand held system was the Game Gear. I've still got it too, and a second one.. and the ever so hard to find link cable… and a load of games too.

  12. Zoyous Says:

    I had (well, still have) a Nelsonic Pac-Man watch with joystick. It's really fun! As I recall it came with a few plastic joystick extensions which plugged into the socket of the metal joystick, but those quickly broke.

  13. Kitsunexus Says:

    A Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Tiger LCD game. I was insanely good at it too.

  14. Chris B. Says:

    Really, my first handheld experience was with my own Game Boy Color that I received for my sixth birthday with Pokemon Blue. I can't tell you how many hours I spent playing that game. Unfortunately that first Game Boy of mine now sits crucified above my window, it broke about a year back. Fortunately though, I have about 7 back up GBAs, my DS, and my Gamecube whenever I get that urge to play me some Pokemans.

  15. Jason Says:

    Before the Game Boy(which I got for Christmas the year it launched(89?)), It was all about the Tiger hand held lcd games. My brother and I must have had at least 10 of them. These days, I would be lucky if I could play one for more than 5 minutes.

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