[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Pro 200 Super Electronic Handheld Gaming System

February 24th, 2014 by Benj Edwards

Protech Pro 200 Super Electronic Handheld Gaming System Catalog Advertisement 1998Plays the 200 variations of Tetris that Pajitnov rejected.

I must admit that I wanted this “Pro 200 Super Electronic Handheld Gaming System” upon seeing it in 1998 — even through I knew it was almost certainly a piece of junk. Not to play it, per se, but to collect it and to admire its gloriously gimmicky nature.

If history is any guide, I’m guessing that the Protech Pro 200 didn’t actually ship with 256 (or even 200) built in games. Rather, it likely contained 250 variations on a handful of distinct games — like most “1000-in-1” cheap off-brand multicarts from back in the day.

16 years since its release, I have still never played the Pro 200, so I can’t say if it had any play value. I did find this commercial on YouTube though.

Has anybody out there played one of these?

[ From Spilsbury Puzzle Co., Holiday 1998, rear cover]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the cheapest, crappiest piece of video game hardware you’ve ever bought (think peripherals too)?

8 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Pro 200 Super Electronic Handheld Gaming System”

  1. Alexander Says:

    When I was maybe 13, I was given one of those crap-tastic little “X00 in 1” little handhelds from my cheap aunt, who’s kids would always get those gas station or dollar store toys on road trips because they couldn’t be bothered to entertain themselves. Anyway, they gave me one, and I remember playing it out of curiosity , and learned quickly that it only had like 4 or 5 games on it, with a bunch of variations. The little piezo speaker was downright annoying to listen to.

    I ended up taking it apart and learning about how it was put together about a year later. None of the parts were worth cannibalizing for other projects, it was just that crappy. And nothing of value was lost.

  2. Eagles409 Says:

    For $10 you could own one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pro-200-handheld-gaming-system-as-seen-on-TV-1997-over-50-000-ways-to-play-/111284870315?pt=Video_Games&hash=item19e9185cab

  3. Stan Says:

    I’ve played that thing. I forget how; I never owned one myself, but a younger family member must have brought one over once.

    The build quality was crap, but, hey, you’re still playing Tetris and it was lots of fun.

  4. Matt Says:

    I collect LCDs, particularly Game and atch, but I buy a ton of off-brand terrible ones too. last year I got one at a flea market that had 6 really terrible games, and you play them by taking the entire screen out of the PSP-ripoff body and replacing them with the screen from the next game. Just wretched.

  5. idisjunction Says:

    I actually got a Pro200 for Christmas one year. It was fairly well built, and since my family was too poor to buy me an actual handheld console, I thought it was pretty fun. It basically had 16 different “games”, with 16 “variants” of each (mostly changing a couple of pixels or the direction of play, if you ever had the desire to play Tetris upside-down). The calculator had its own separate battery for some reason.

  6. Dar Says:

    I had, and still have, mine from back then.

    As you guessed, it only had a few games actually.

    Still, the “Tetris” and “Snake” games were decent.

    I didn’t always find the tv commercial funny how it avoided showing much of the actual screen.

  7. Multimedia Mike Says:

    Cheapest, crappiest piece of video game hardware? I bought a 1997-in-1 travel game from an in-flight duty-free shop a few years ago. I found 14 unique games on the unit, and lots of levels for each. Here is my write-up: http://games.multimedia.cx/1997-in-1-travel-game/

  8. Michael Says:

    I have one I won at an arcade in the 90s. Anyone who has one and looks at pictures of others’ devices will soon realize they’re basically all the same inside. I have a feeling that some company manufactured a bunch of cheapo controller chips in bulk and a bunch of different companies (or perhaps the same company, just operating under different names to not make it look like a monopoly) bought them to manufacture their “unique” handheld gaming devices. Each comes with the same (or slightly varied) collection of a few decent games plus a ton of Tetris clones, and a calculator.

    What’s unique about mine is that it is completely UNBRANDED, gray and green model. I’ve been scouring the Internet and posting on forums like these in an effort to hopefully, someday, track down the actual manufacturer of this product. Just to provide closure, LOL!

    That 1997-in-one that Multimedia Mike posted about, though it appears to have the same LCD and controller as the ProTech devices, is certainly the most unique button layout that I’ve ever seen of these. Maybe it’s an earlier version, as it also doesn’t appear to have a calculator…

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