Handheld Mattel Electronic Games

Handheld Mattel Electronic Games

Looking for a good good gift this year? How about a little baseball, basketball, or football on a Handheld Mattel Electronic Games? I can’t remember which of these I owned as a child and which ones I picked up over the years. Mattel’s original electronic football game was released back in 1977, but reproductions of those early games are still available in stores today.

There’s even an iPhone version of the games available, for those who miss these old games but haven’t been able to find one.


Thanks to Matt Shevin for the iPhone photo and Mattel for all the years of fun!

Rob O'Hara

I'm into old video games, old arcade games, old computer games, writing, photography, computer/network security, and of course, the 1980s!

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9 thoughts on “Handheld Mattel Electronic Games

  1. Doug says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong on this. I think the official name of this game was Mattel Electronics Football. However, we all referred to it as “Electronic Football”. That’s how I remembered it. When I began researching it for an upcoming book, I found the Mattle Electronics Football name. That night, though, I saw Super 8 and the kid refers to it as Electronic Football. So that was its popular name, right?

  2. Well, the kids on my bus certainly called it Electronic Football. I can still remember that three or four of the kids got them for Christmas, the beeps were very soothing on our way to school. :)

  3. Doug, technically, you’re right. The company was Mattel, but the sticker on the front says “Mattel Electronics” at the top and “Football” at the bottom. The newer ones just say “Mattel” (no “Electronics”) and things like “Classic Football”. I always assumed that the proper company name was Mattel and “Electronics” was the division, like saying “Mitsubishi Cars” vs. “Mitsubishi Tools” or something like that. At that same time there were Mattel games and Mattel toys, so the “Electronics” label was probably to differentiate between them. I suspect that the slang “Electronic Football” was probably to differentiate between this and the old, “buzzing-board” style of football games.

    I remember very specifically getting my first one. My dad and I went to visit one of his friends who had recently retired from work due to cancer. He had recently had his leg amputated and it left a very vivid impression on me. He had one of the Football games lying around and when I started playing it, he said I could keep it. I was probably six or seven years old at the time.

  4. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Recently found my trusty Battlestar Galactica Space Alert while clearing out the family home.
    Like finding an old tag-along friend.

    One of my cousins had the Football one, and I’d switch it on whenever I’d visit and spot it on the coffee table.
    I remember the warm comfort of being able to do that and never being told to put it down (I may have learned self-control because of it – then promptly lost my composure at the sight of his imported box of Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch cereal)

    Great series of games by a beloved company.
    My long-departed array of Big Jims agree on this.

  5. plcary says:

    Handheld electronic games were a huge part of my childhood. It made the bus ride to and from school a lot more fun. Did you guys ever trade games with friends? We used to trade them on a Friday, play them over the weekend and trade back on Monday morning. Although I had the Mattel and Coleco Football at different times, my favorite handheld of all time is Bambino Football. I still have it along with a few others in a box in my garage. Got them out a couple of weeks ago and gave them a try.

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