Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Nintendo DS of the 1980s

Hand-held games are everywhere. But what today's gamers probably don't know is that it all began with Microvision. Yes, Microvision, the Nintendo DS of the early 1980s. I received my Microvision game system sometime around 1982, when I was in middle school. Requiring only one 9-volt battery, the console supported a variety of interchangeable game cartridges. My collection inlcuded: Sea Duel, Star Trek Phaser Strike, Cosmic Hunter, Baseball, and Bowling. My favorite game was the one that came with the unit: Blockbuster. You know, the game in which you use your paddle to hit a ball into the wall above. Each hit knocked a block out of the wall. Hitting a block in the top row caused the ball to move faster.

Okay, so the graphics were primitive. The liquid crystal display screen was actually just a grid of squares that darkened to represent submarines, Klingon warships, alien monsters, etc. But with a little imagination, the games could be sort of fun.

Alas, Milton Bradley pulled the plug on Microvision not long after I received my console. I recently decided to retrieve my old game unit from its dusty, beat-up box. Amazingly, though nearly three decades old, it still works! Remember that when you discover your long-forgotten Nintendo DS in the attic in the year 2035.

You may be wondering what happens in Blockbuster when you clear all of the blocks out of the wall. Another wall appears, of course.

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