Mobility

The Handheld Museum: A tribute to the early history of handheld gaming

Mattel Classic Football - The handheld Alpha Dog

Mattel's Football (I) (1977, LED, 9 Volt, Model# 2024)
U. S. Patent # 4,162,792 (game) and 4,344,622 (display technology)
Invented by: George Klose and Richard Chang (according to the patent)
Programmed by: Mark Lesser
View Manual / View 1st Football game, plated in 24k gold!

Football was released in 1977. It was labelled either Football or Football I depending on the date the game was released. I guess Mattel continued to make (or at least ship remaining stock of) the original Football even after Football 2 came out, thus the change to the game's title. Both the game and the box reflect the addition of the roman numeral I (and the box for Football I is smaller than the original as the game is packed in a plastic bubble-wrap bag instead of the styrofoam blocks). The font style used on the pre-I version is also different. Also, early models of Football had an AC Adapter jack which was removed on later models (which would only run on batteries). (I recently found an interesting variation on this game: A Football that I recently received (that just says Football, older version), has little round blips instead of the tiny horizontal lines that usually make up the blips on these games. Never seen one like that before. I've been told by a Mattel employee that these diodes where never changed in production, so this must be a foreign market version to have the different diodes. It also has a slightly different sticker on the back: the 'Try Fresh batteries' text is written in a black bar on the sticker, not just normal text like most of the Football games.)

A little game history: This was released in June of 1977 as the second game released by Mattel (Auto Race was the first) and sold through Sears. After less than 100,000 were made, Sears (using a computer model based on initial sales figures) determined that the games would not be big sellers, and most of the production for Football and Auto Race was stopped. Within 6 months, it became obvious to Sears that their prediction was wrong, and production was started up again and reached previously unknown levels! (Reaching as many as 500,000 units a week by mid-February, 1978). Check out the Mattel trivia section for several more interesting stories about this and other Mattel games (like why the playing field only has 9 yards... :) Thanks to Howard Cohen (ex-Mattel employee) for these great stories!

This game wins my vote for most cloned/pirated of the handheld games. :) They even cloned it themselves! Mattel has done a re-release of this game recently (Dec, 2000), check out Classic Football! And now they've released a tiny Football Keychain version of it! (April, 2001).

15 comments
sabu2005
sabu2005

I had this watch. The game consists of getting the pieces to build a pyramid. If you let three peaces away, then the game is over. And when you get the pieces upside down, you get more points.

blue6demon
blue6demon

Hi ! Just wanted to tell you that this game had the VFD (Vacuum Fluorescent Display) technology no LED here :)

Lost Cause?
Lost Cause?

but, I did have a great electronic pool game... Anyone know which one I'm talking about? I can't rtemember the company name. It was in the 80's.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I loved electronic quarterback! I also had a cool baseball game for two players. One guy batted and ran while the other had a pitching controller (FBall, Slider, Curve, Sinker, KB, etc.) that was on a wire connected to the top of the game so you could play head to head and just switch roles from pitcher to hitter, VERY cool at my little league baseball parties!

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

I'd be interested to know if anyone had any of the games in this gallery. Every time people my age start talking about this kind of stuff, funny ( or not ) stories come to the surface that are somehow linked to these games/devices.

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

Interesting - Thanks for that Blue!

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

I think I remember a kid down the road that had an electronic pool game. I googled and all I found was the patent application - which looks like the right time frame...Interesting anyway. www.freepatentsonline.com/4346892.html

blue6demon
blue6demon

Hi ! That would be the Entex baseball game, they made 3 of those, 2 were black and one white.

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

As soon as I read the slider, and Fball, and Curve part, I remember playing that too - or maybe something like it.

Fregeus
Fregeus

I have Mattel's Baseball (1978, LED, 9 Volt, Model# 2942). Still works fine. I play it from time to time. Kinda reminds me of the good old days. Mine doesn't look as good as the one in the picture though. I used mine A LOT!! TCB

blue6demon
blue6demon

I'm one of the collectors from Rik website forum, i have about 180 of those games, wich is not much compared to some of the guys (and a girl) there !!!

rchew
rchew

Between my brother and I we had just about all of the titles relased by Coleco. Basket Ball and Soccer were my favs. Also had the D&D game but never got into it. I just remember having one. What a trip down memory lane...

teedot
teedot

I had the Donkey Kong tabletop as well as the Galaxian tabletop (which wasn't featured). It's great to see all these old games on here!

floorshine
floorshine

...I had Football I, which was a blast. One game that I had, which wasn't shown, was 'Battlestar Galactica.' A black handheld. You used a small metal joystick to avoid "Cylon" blasts and a button to fire your own. Tons-o-fun. This would have to be around 1979.