[ Retro Scan of the Week ] A PreComputer Christmas

December 22nd, 2014 by Benj Edwards

VTech PreComputer Power Pad JCPenney Christmas catalog xmas back cover - 1994Christmas morning wouldn’t be the same without a PreComputer Power Pad

I’m a big fan of educational, semi-toy computers like the VTech PreComputer Power Pad (seen here in his scan from the 1994 JCPenney Christmas Catalog) because historians and collectors alike often completely overlook them in study of computer history.

I’ve previously written about the much more famous VTech Pre Computer 1000 and even did a slideshow on kids’ computers for PCWorld back in 2011.

I don’t have a Power Pad at the moment, but I do have a few other educational computers, including some featured in that slideshow. My favorite is probably the VTech I.Q. Unlimited or the Tiger Learning Computer. But we’ll save those for another day.

Merry Christmas from Vintage Computing and Gaming

[ From JCPenney Christmas Catalog – 1994, back cover]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever own any educational or kids’ computers? Tell us about them.

7 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] A PreComputer Christmas”

  1. technotreegrass Says:

    My brother and I shared a Vtech Talking Whiz Kid Plus Electronic Learning Game System (that’s a mouthful) released in 1991.


    This was our go-to boredom buster for trips and other boring events up until our pre-teen years when Pokemon came out. It had a bunch of variations of spelling and basic math challenges with varying difficulty and was surprisingly addicting as hell. Maybe this was why I was so good at math class until I reached algebra and other advanced forms of math.

  2. cozfer Says:

    I remember getting the T.E.A.M.M.A.T.E toy/computer back in the 80s, and is detailed here (I switched my handle from Cozmo):


    I guess it was somewhat educational in that it taught some rudimentary programming skills, as well as some sort of mathematical equations and logic (I think). It certainly held me over until I received my first ‘real’ computer, the PCjr, haha

  3. Dar Says:

    I had a VTech Whiz Kid too, except the older 1984 one, modeled on the alas-forgotten Kaypro 2 mobile computers.

  4. Intergalactic Says:

    Merry Xmas Benj and Happy Holidays.

    Yes, in the late 90s we bought a “PC Compukid” for my younger sister.
    It was a NES 8bit packed in a small black minitower case, it came with a keyboard, mouse, 2 gamepads and a 64 games cart included.

    When u started the Compukid without the cart inserted there was a GUI Graphic Interface built in similar to Windows95, with a few programs for Writing letters, drawing and a map game. Very impressive considering there was a humble Famicom inside.

    Its memory was backed up by a 2 AA batteries. The plastic felt cheap and the mouse had a horrible precision, but we had some fun playing games in the evenings using the gamepads. I think the Compukid it still exists stored inside a box at my parents house.

  5. Dennis Says:

    I had the Children’s Discovery System as a kid. It was pretty cool at the time. I no longer have the machine itself, but I do have a few of the keyboard overlays, cartridges and even the manual for the Basic Programming cart (which, unlike the unrelated Atari 2600 counterpart, was actually useable for making small programs).

    I would love to find another one someday, just to be able to remember those early days as a kid.

  6. Charles Says:

    I have a Sears Talking Computron in my collection, it’s a pretty cool piece. Also, I spotted a Vtech Talking Whiz Kid (the brown/beige one) in it’s box and a Vtech Learning Window also in it’s box at a bazaar near my place, they’re asking 10$ each. I didn’t buy them but now I kind of regret it. Maybe I’ll go back and see if they still have it in the near future.

  7. CJ Says:

    I have a PreComputer Unlimited from 1998/1999 and it still had BASIC in it, alongside the I.T Laptop that also had BASIC. So it didnt stop in 1997, just 1998.

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