Cracking Open the legendary Merlin

All lined up

The 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.