All lined upThe DS of 1978, the PSP of 1978, the Merlin.
Actually, Mattel Football probably fits that bill better, but the Merlin was definitely a way-cool handheld of the time.
Merlin was released in 1978 by Parker Brothers and was one of many handheld electronic games released in that time period. It sported 6 individual games to play, Including an unbeatable tic-tac-toe ( isn't tic-tac-toe unwinnable anyway? ). Fun for the whole family as they said in their ads.
At the end of the ad, note the disclaimer for "6 penlight batteries - not included". When was the last time you heard of AA's referred to as penlight batteries?
When I heard that the Merlin was next up on Cracking Open, I felt a rush of nostagila. That game, that I had spent hours dawdling with, had completely fallen off of my radar until then. I Googled it and found this great Java Merlin emulator.
...A sound like none other. And that "laugh" when Merlin wins!
So here we go - busting open my beloved Merlin and taking a look at what makes it go. I have to say that I didn't expect to see any technolgy breakthroughs, but I also didn't expect to see something that I could have, in those days, built from a kit. Our specimen comes with a manual, even. We'll have a look at that soon enough - good stuff in there.
Notice the "futuristic" box with the mercury hand.