[ Fuzzy Memory ] Grinning Triangle Man Toy

August 4th, 2010 by Benj Edwards

Fuzzy MemoryEvery once and a while, I receive emails from people looking for a certain game, electronic toy, or computer from their distant past. I then pass it on to intrepid VC&G readers to crack the case.

The Clues

Pseudo3D writes:

Hello. While reading about the Sega Pico on another website, I suddenly had a flashback to a toy I used to have a long time ago. I'm going to describe it in the best detail I can…

It was a yellow toy made by Texas Instruments (96% sure), all yellow (logo was in blue). It was larger than a modern TI graphing calculator or an original Game Boy, and also had a handle. Anyway, it consisted of an LCD screen (like a calculator would have), the mascot (I guess) was a grinning triangle man. To run the "games", you inserted a card into the front, which was a flimsy-looking touch-sensitive surface. The cards were made of paper and had a colored border on one side. The games were relatively simple. One was a simple calculator card, one had this Simon-like memory game…I'd say there were about 20 or so cards (I think they were two-sided). Unfortunately, when I google Texas Instruments toys, all I get is Speak & Spell (and its variants) and two more things that were definitely not it. Can you help?

The Search Begins

It's up to you to find the object of Pseudo3D's fuzzy memory. Post any thoughts or suggestions in the comments section below. Pseudo3D will be monitoring the comments, so if you need to clarify something with him, ask away. Good luck!

Have a memory of a computer, video game, computer software, or electronic toy you need help identifying? Send me an email describing your memories in detail. Hopefully, the collective genius of the VC&G readership can help solve your mystery.



18 Responses to “[ Fuzzy Memory ] Grinning Triangle Man Toy”

  1. aioine Says:

    Could it be this? http://datamath.org/Edu/TimeToGo.htm

  2. PS3D Says:

    aioine: No, it's not. It was more square shaped, with the touch-sensitive area being square. It wasn't the Touch and Discover either.

    However, that is kind of on the right track of what I'm remembering. The Time to Go, it appears, was from the early 1990s. This device was probably squarely in the 1980s, and I think that it came into our family's possession through a garage sale. There was never a manual as I can recall, and my family didn't buy "expensive toys" like that. The grinning triangle man would sometimes have a body, and sometimes not (when used with circles, squares, and stars). The fact that the four symbols (star/circle/square/triangle) showed up on the "Follow the Learning Path" brochure mentioned in the link above seems to cement the fact it was made by TI. Unfortunately, in looking through some of the older catalogs, I couldn't find it.

    I can try to limit the years in which it was released because I remember that they use the current Texas Instruments logo…

  3. Eagles409 Says:

    I don't suppose this is it? http://www.ilovethe80s.com/toys_toys_touchandtell.htm

  4. PS3D Says:

    No, although it did have removable cards, it had a display not terribly unlike a calculator. And it was a bit larger than an original Game Boy. The cards were about 3″ by 3″ and had a colored tab on one side.

  5. Geoff V. Says:

    If it wasn't Texas Instruments' "Computer Fun," I'm guessing it wasn't a TI game.
    Can you remember the name of any of the game cards?
    Did it have a speaker?
    What sounds could it make?
    What type of batteries?

  6. PS3D Says:

    One was definitely a Calculator card, one was a Simon-type memory game (with the shapes), one was a card that involved pipes being placed in the right squares. I don't know about the sound.

    There was a pocket on the back where the cards were stored, and as I continued to use it, some of the cards got really battered (from the process of putting them and taking them out) and had to be taped.

    The triangle guy never actually appeared on the actual system: he appeared on certain games (with a full body) and some games it would only have his head (when compared with a circle, square, star).

    I am still certain it wasn't anything but TI.

  7. Geoff V. Says:

    I spoke with Karen from TI. She and I went over a list of all legacy educational products produced from 1978 through 1994. First, I have to say that the rep from TI was very helpful and great to talk to. She and I spent nearly an hour talking about TI products and our memories of handheld electronic games. She was very excited to help someone reunite with a TI memory.

    Karen suggested we focus on educational products based on PS3D’s description and because all TI games from that era with removable cartridges/cards included educational offerings.

    Unfortunately, TI did not produce a device that had an LCD screen with a handle and accepted cards. We started from scratch and looked only at form factor (large calculator) with removable cartridges and again drew a blank. Karen suggested Tiger, VTech, or Milton Bradley.

    Wish this could have been more helpful,
    Geoff

  8. Benj Edwards Says:

    Very impressive work, Geoff.! I hope PS3D reads your comment and can help guide you guys to an answer.

  9. PS3D Says:

    That's too bad. I can almost draw it from memory…maybe I had mis-said something. Anyway, thanks for the help.

  10. PS3D Says:

    This morning I made a quick (read: sorta messy) sketch on notebook of what I remember.

    http://www.vintagecomputing.com/wp-content/images/fuzzy/ps3d_fuzzy.jpg

  11. Rayanna Says:

    It kinda sounds like the GeoSafari toys we had when I was growing up. Maybe it was an old version of one of these.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Geosafari-Laptop-Learning-System-w-60-double-sided-card-/370420303490?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0

  12. PS3D Says:

    No, it wasn't Geosafari, though I do remember using a GeoSafari at other places. It was older and more primitive

  13. SQLGuru Says:

    I went back to an early Fuzzy Memory to track down these links. I haven't found the exact product, but figured more eyes would help.

    Nothing here, but it's an easy source to search: http://www.handhelden.com/index.php?page=home

    Lots of stuff here: http://www.handheldmuseum.com/

    There's also this, but it's the most inconvenient to look through (but plenty of memories): http://www.wishbookweb.com/

  14. Laura C Says:

    I am currently in search of that exact same toy. I remember the pipe game, and the calculator. I also remember really enjoying a game about shapes, But that may have been the simon said game. You had to insert the cards in so they kind of stuck in there and i had a few taped cards too. That toy to me was amazing and if I could find it again I would love to have one for my daughter. I am 100 percent sure that it was texas instruments as well.

  15. PS3D Says:

    Holy smokes! I knew I wasn't crazy. I wish I knew what it was called, though…

  16. Jeremy Says:

    I am also looking for this toy!! I only sort of remember it, but it was definitely Texas Instruments. Indeed there were about 20 cards, and here's the one thing I remember most vividly about it–at least a couple of the cards featured Batman and Robin! Do you have any recollection of this??? There may have been one with The Riddler as well. I want to say there was a yellow-colored card with Robin on it where you answered math questions.

  17. Paulina Says:

    Hey guys I might be looking for the same toy. I'm trying to find this toy I had in the early 90′s that was (i believe?) red and white and rectangular in shape. It was an electronic learning device that accepted paper cards with different activities. I specifically remember playing a match game on it with little monster type things, where the computer female voice would say "Guess what I'm thinking about?" Does this sound familiar?

  18. Mike Says:

    What you had is called the little professor here is a link…

    Link

    hope that helps, found this site trying to find another game i had

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