We’re not normally ones for making assumptions, but we’ll go out on a limb and say that most of you reading this have one or more portable gaming systems lying around somewhere. Handheld video gaming has always been a few steps behind its console counterpart, but that’s proven to be a small trade-off for the benefits of portability and, to some, even part of the appeal.
So, while most gamers are now enjoying their PSPs and Micros and DSs, we thought we’d take a little trip back and look at some of the handhelds from whence they came before them. Although we have to warn you, reading this feature may cause an uncontrollable urge to jump over to eBay.
The Early Years
Mattel’s LED-based Handhelds – 1977-78
The idea of handheld video games with interchangeable cartridges wouldn’t take hold for about another decade, but Mattel managed to pry video games away from quarter-swallowing arcades and dim televisions with their successful line of LED-based, single-game handhelds. Most people today will remember Football, but the company also released the creatively-titled Basebal and Basketball, as well as the non-sports titles Missle Attack, Armor Battle, and Sub Chase. Mattel also managed to jump on the retro-chic bandwagon, re-releasing Football and Baseball in 2000.