Tomy Pocket Games

100_4655.JPGThose Japanese. Everything was in miniature. When these first came out, the were on the beginning of video games and soon would have one of the all time cheapest but best pocket electric games called "BLIP". It was a large "pocket" PONG game about the size of a hard covered book that you could take any place. It really was all mechanical but had a light up LED that acted as a ball. You used one of three paddle buttons to try and "volley" back to the other side. If I recall, you could play it solo as well. Before that, you had to spend big $$$ for a video PONG game and have a television hooked up to it so it wasn't very portable. Marx came out with "Table Tennis", a big mechanical version PONG with a fake green TV screen that was all plastic. It was really neat to play, but awkward to use in the car. Ahhh, but that's jumping ahead for pocket fun.

Before BLIP hit the scene, Tomy was packing lots of fun in "pocket sized" games. They even packaged them in cardboard "denim" pockets to illustrate where to carry these. They made these through the mid 80's so even though hand held electronic games took over. I remember when these were great to have along on airlines and car trips until Mattell Electronic Football came out and became all the rage on the bus to school. If you didn't have a lot of money for one of them there fancy electronic "dash dash dash" games, we were stuck with these. I may have had one or two more but this is what's left of my collection.

100_4659.JPGThis one has the most wear because it's my oldest. You loaded the balls at the top, spun the little deal thingy, and then you hoped to catch the balls by moving the "Y" device. If you did catch it, you moved it to a hole in the middle of the game and it scored on side one. If you missed, it went into a gutter on the other side. It did have a sticker over the main part of the field to make it tougher to catch the ball. I took it off within a few days of having this. Funny, we were so poor back when, this was a BIG gift for a kid, and I played it lots, took it in car trips, and had tons of fun playing with this piece of plastic. It didn't need any batteries which was always good because way back when, they were not cheap and the cheaper batteries you could get didn't last long and leaked if you left them in a device for more than a month. Gosh bless the Tomy corp for making these fun pieces of plastic when we weren't outside doing everything else.

100_4658.JPGYes, not all the games were hours of fun. Like every game manufacturer, you gotta release some "duds". I don't know if this was a "dud" for the Tomy corp., but I got it in my Christmas stocking a few years into electronic games becoming all the rage. You pushed a button which moved the pitcher's arm while releasing a ball and then you tried to "golf" it into the home run or the hit slot.  Trouble was, it was all timing, and not very good timing to swat at the "ball" and actually make it fly into one of the slots. Plus the ball release often released more than one ball which made the batting a little heavier and therefore you had more gutter balls. They only thing that was neat about this game was the "plumbing" behind the playing surface that routed the balls to the launcher. All plastic all the time. Needless to say, this one got left behind as did all of them at this point.

100_4657.JPGThe "Pocket Pachinko" game was the last one I added to my collection. I was earning a little cake by mowing the lawn and I saw this as a clearance toy for $2 so I bought it. I didn't play it much because it didn't really have a purpose.  I had recently played a GENUINE Pachinko machine and I guess it was a big thing in Japan. You shot balls into a random field with steel pegs and the more you got in the holes, was the more you scored. I'm not sure what the real pay out was, but it was random fun. Well, the pocket version had no point. If you did score you got to play again but when you ran out of balls, that was it. Hmmm. Maybe you could have timed games with your friends? Yep. "Hey David, want to play Pachinko with me?" "Nahh, lets ride the lawn mower though the construction site." THAT was more fun than Pachinko.

Now "Dice Trap" on the other hand was a great game. It was a beat the clock type game where you had to make the dice go into the bottom slot in the order one chose. If you didn't get them in there the timer released a trap door with a "snap" , cutting you off.  I played this one as when I took the picture, so it's still a fun game. I suppose you could challenge others to do it even quicker than when the timer ran out, as you had the on/off switch. I think the timer was for 60 seconds so after three "snaps" your egg was done.

100_4656.JPGHere was my favorite over all others. Why? It was challenging, and had a lot of little features. The numbers you see on the board were the suggested times it would take to "clear" the obstacle. You not only had to tilt and move the game, you also had to "pop" the bottom and "nudge" the ball around the course. You had to be steady as the ball would fall off the course with one wrong move.  The toughest obstacle was the "boat" as the ball come come easily out  of the boat any time your "popping" or "nudging". The easiest obstacle was the knob in the middle where you moved the ball from one obstacle to the next.  I suppose that with timing, you could get this done pretty damn fast but you had to use an external timer.  I bought this one at the same "Cunningham" drug store where I bought the ZENO gum mentioned here a few entries back. It had the crack in it already and it didn't have a box, so I got it cheap, and it became the #1 most played game. Every time I pick it up, I gotta play it so to this day like the dice game, it's a really fun game. They came out with a board game sized version of this game and they still sell it today! Check for "Screwball Scramble" on your browser and see more. They did have an 80's version that was dark plastics rather than bright green.  Here's hoping these will return. They remade Mattell Football....

ARF! -Ric