The other night while digging up some information on a future post. I came across Mego’s 1976 Star Trek Phaser Battle game. An electronic ‘handheld game’ that is just stunningly amazing. Placing the Player on the bridge of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) to seek out and destroy enemy Klingon vessels.
Of course it’s not like Mego wasn’t known in the 70s for making quality Star Trek products. Starting in 1974 they began manufacturing 8″ figures. The line of toys included characters that you would naturally assume they would release. Like Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, Mr. Scott, Lt. Uhura, and a Klingon.
Which resulted in the incredibly rare 1975 USS Enterprise Gift Set!
Doing a little research this morning I was able to find some interesting facts about the Star Trek Phaser Battle game. It was rather expensive for the time. In 1976 it was being sold for $69.99 which would cost a little under $300 today. So obviously this electronic game had a hefty price tag. It was also quite large – measuring 13″ x 13″ by 16″.
Viewing the vintage television commercial below however…I have to say I think it would be worth it. Take a moment and check out all of the bells and whistles this game had to offer.
Thanks to the Handheld Museum we can also scope out the front and back of the game box. While I really enjoy the back of the box – used at the top of the post, with Kirk, Chekov, and Sulu. I admit I get a chuckle out of Mr. Spock’s rather disdainful look at the child. At least that is how I read it.
Box art images courtesy of the Handheld Museum.
“Judging by your score, it is only logical to point out that a game of tic-tac-toe is more your speed.”
While the commercial for the Star Trek Phaser Battle game is impressive. How would you like to see it in action?
I have a soft spot for defunct toy companies: Ideal, LJN, Worlds of Wonder, Coleco, Kenner, and my personal favorite, Mattel Electronics. Whether its specific products, the logos or the retro technology, Mattel Electronics is one of those extinct brands that instantly ignites nostalgia in me.
Simply put, Mattel Electronics was just what the name implies. It was a subsidiary of Mattel, founded in 1977, that focused on the creation of electronic games. They quickly became an innovator in handheld electronic games, most notably Football. Then they evolved into one of the pioneers of the home video game boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s with the introduction of the Intellivision and corresponding games and accessories.
Enjoy this classic Commercial
As the video game industry grew, so did the company. They grew rapidly. From 100 employees to 1,000 in 1982 as a response to demand for creating their own game titles. Since many of us have strong memories of the Intellivision it is easy to forget that this storied company was not in business for very long. Due to heavy competition from Atari and new consoles, like the Colecovision, and market saturation, Mattel Electronics suffered from the Great Video Game Crash recording $394 million in losses by 1983.
Those losses were too much for Mattel so it had no choice but to sell or close all of its non-toy-related subsidiaries. On January 20th of 1984, Mattel Electronics ceased to exist. Even though the company lasted less than 10 years, it wasn’t without its impact on pop culture.
In 2013, I began to collect anything with the Mattel Electronics name on it. Through a series of articles I will be highlighting different aspects of the company. Whether its specific products or product lines, there is a lot to reminiscence about Mattel Electronics.
The site is created by a company called Hipopotam Studios. It features 26 games recreated in Flash and controlled by your keyboard. Some of the games listed are Donkey Kong, Parachute, Zelda, and The Terminator.
I remember when I was a kid, I had a Handheld Football and Handheld Baseball game, and then when I was in junior high I had an Altered Beast Game Watch by Tiger Electronics. Something about playing such a simple style game makes me wish we still had those games around now. Until I can find playable Tiger Electronic games or videogame watches again, I have this site. Definitely worth checking out!