Mechanical Handheld Games from the 1970s

Take a look at my collection of handheld games from the 1970s that are mechanical, rather than electronic, even though some are deliberately modelled after video games.

Links:
Electro Tic-Tac-Toe: https://www.retrothing.com/2007/08/first-electroni.html
Blip video by Tech Tangents: https://youtu.be/BSvZbcwqlTw
Digital Derby breakdown/repair by Randi Rain: https://youtu.be/Fh1eAJ1Dtag

Become a patron: https://patreon.com/8BitShowAndTell
One-time donation: https://paypal.me/8BitShowAndTell

Ending music is “Praises Are Spent” from the unreleased album “Sole Behold” by Bedford Level Experiment: https://bedfordlevelexperiment.bandcamp.com/

Index:
0:00 Intro
0:29 Draw Poker (Waco, 1971)
3:12 21 “Black-Jack” (Waco, 1973)
8:50 Drive Yourself Crazy (Tomy, 1976)
14:08 Blip: The Digital Game (Tomy, 1977)
17:39 Digital Derby (Tomy, 1978)
23:41 Strolling Bowling (Tomy, 1979)
27:48 Thanks to my patrons

50 Comments

  1. fandarzelig on March 20, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    I got a lot of use out of Blip. Not for the actual game play but using it as a control panel for cardboard spaceships and time machines.

  2. KL on March 20, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    I had digital derby. Thank you for the reminder. I forgot about it completely

  3. Alan Rizkallah on March 20, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    As the youngest of three kids, my two older brothers being kids of the 70s, a lot of the hand-me-down stuff I ended up with looked like these. It’s a good thing I had a lot of imagination, hehehe.

  4. Bjørn Gammelgaard on March 20, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    I owned the Digital Derby one. 😁
    I always wondered how the collision detection worked.

  5. christo930 on March 20, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    I had Digital Derby, Hit n Missile and Blip, although I think the DD might have been my brother’s. I also had a target shooting game that had a BB machine gun it was by Marx. I had more fun with that thing. The electromechanical games are fascinating. Some of the arcade offerings are pretty complex machines. There’s a steel ball baseball game going back to the 30s (IIRC). Of course I also had an Atomic Arcade pinball and a ton of those water games and wind-up games by Tomy that weren’t video games, but were still games.

  6. The Dawsons Memes on March 20, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    AVGN didn’t mention 0 bit

  7. eric blanc on March 20, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    My First Electronic Game : DIGITAL DERBY, FANTASTIC !

  8. cpt nordbart on March 20, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    I’ve heard worse. And my headphones aren’t that Loud

  9. Ten Minute Tokyo 2 on March 20, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Ah Blip and Digital Derby – they were awesome.

  10. Kenneth Pedersen on March 20, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    I always loved Digital Derby in my childhood

  11. Galloe on March 20, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    I had a Draw Poker handheld but the rubber band that moved the card faces up and down had turned to dust. I thought the date on the back said 1968.

  12. Lotus cola on March 20, 2021 at 11:02 pm

    randi rain is an expert on these toys. motors need oil, they should not be that loud.Screw trick is not a trick it is common sense.

  13. Jimbop Camouflage on March 20, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    Pretty sure it isn’t supposed to sound like that. Lube lube lube!

  14. Ghislain de blois on March 20, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    Digital Derby is certainly a classic. But Strolling Bowling looks like it is a lot of fun!

  15. Robb C on March 20, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    I remember playing with one of those hopping bowling balls at my gransparent’s house when I was little… They never had the full game, it was just the ball… I never knew it was part of something more! 🙂

  16. notgrillo collector/ gamer on March 20, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    I still have blip, the light needs repair, I also had the digital driving game. My brother had the bowling game.

  17. LynxSnowCat on March 20, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    I had a fully mechanical version of Digital Derby with a space invaders theme. It was my brother’s but I enjoyed so much that he reestored it and gave it to me to see me happy.

    It used solid wheels instead of film, and included a Jump/Escape button that only let you dodge for a limited time if other ships formed a wall. I forget if the mechanical score counter counted ships dodged or laps.

    I still remember the "Snap-Snap-Snap" as the collision detection triggered, and the red steering wheel with great fondness; although I’ve never seen another example in the years since it happened.

    [Playing with it,] I’d always wanted to figure out how it worked, and make a copy using (quieter) helical gears, reserving _"the song of 70’s toys" (screaming_ straight cut gears) for the jump-mech. And pondered what other features I could implement unrestrained by weight.

    [edit: rage fuel. paragraph deleted.]

    I was afraid this video would provoke the memories [of it being destroyed]; but I am pleasantly surprised that my outrage at my father is now quieter than my memories of playing -nwo- now. … Mostly quieter.. For the scope of this specific subject, anyways.

    Thank you, for sharing and preserving these things; and for this unexpected opportunity to realise that I’ve healed (somewhat). – I feel happy, but also eager to punch something.

  18. Dirk Krohn on March 20, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    Back when I was in elementary in 1st or 3rd grade, don’t remember for sure witch, someone that I knew in the library had the bowling game that was at the end of this video. I thought I recognised it in the thumbnail.

  19. Michael Turner on March 20, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    What I like about Blip, the battery is just to light the LED, while the game itself is completely clockwork.

  20. bigshr00m on March 20, 2021 at 11:14 pm

    I’d love if they’d re-release these.

  21. Paul Potter on March 20, 2021 at 11:16 pm

    Brilliant screw trick. That bowling one is great. 😁

  22. David Miller on March 20, 2021 at 11:16 pm

    As simplistic as these are, they’re still (for the most part) pretty damn clever for what they are. 🙂

  23. The Jamaican Potato Chip on March 20, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    I have the blip game

  24. Chris Sawyer on March 20, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    My grandfather bought me that Strolling Bowling game. My nephew found it when he was around three and was playing it. When the bowler wound down, he looked at me and said, "Bowl!"
    The only word he had said up to that point was "Dad".
    Good memories.

  25. Surnis !!! on March 20, 2021 at 11:18 pm

    the only way these card machine could avoid having double of the same card (two jack of hearts, for instance) would be to make sure that each card is only shown once on each roulette. But then, that means that when you hold some cards, all the cards on thse rolls can’t show up on the ones you start again. So you cant play for real with this.

  26. Robert Goodman on March 20, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    Of course Blip is digital. You play it with your fingers. Or toes.

  27. SutorippuDotCom on March 20, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    "This is how some of us learned to play poker if we didn’t have Suzy or Melissa to teach us."
    … I should be ashamed at how long it took me, of all people, to catch that reference.

  28. SutorippuDotCom on March 20, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    I had that Strolling Bowling game. Ended up using the wind-up ball to play with the cat more often than actually using it for the game.

  29. Henry Willoughby on March 20, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    Yes! Love these unique videos

  30. ckng mad on March 20, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    this is so fun man

  31. MK4000 on March 20, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    I loved strolling bowling 🎳!!!

  32. Valientlink on March 20, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    if I played digital durby as a child, I would’ve thought it was about to explode and probably be afraid to ever play a video game again

  33. Milton Howe on March 20, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    I had Blip, Digital Derby and Strolling Bowling. I had completely forgotten about that last one, and seeing it today for the first time in more than 40 years made me laugh out loud.

  34. YouTube YouTube on March 20, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Wow nice old kids toys

  35. 8-Bit Show And Tell on March 20, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Links mentioned in the video:
    Electro Tic-Tac-Toe: https://www.retrothing.com/2007/08/first-electroni.html
    Blip video by Tech Tangents: https://youtu.be/BSvZbcwqlTw
    Digital Derby breakdown/repair by Randi Rain: https://youtu.be/Fh1eAJ1Dtag

  36. J. Lo. on March 20, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    great tip with the screw driver

  37. christo930 on March 20, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    Carbon Zinc batteries are not inherently bad, its that you can’t really get decent ones anymore. A good quality carbon zinc C cell battery is typically around 5000 mah. It’s just that nobody makes good ones anymore. Kodak D cell CZ batteries allegedly are 8,000mah going by their data sheet. They are the only CZ data sheets I can even find for D cells. 8,000 was more or less the standard for D CZ batteries.

  38. Acorn Electron on March 20, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    Wow, the warning is real!

  39. M S on March 20, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    those ones ay 🙂

  40. Kazarenko on March 20, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    I had Blip and played it so much that I memorized the sequence. MY brother had Hit and Missile which looks like a similar mechanism to Digital Derby, but you launched missile at planes and helicopters going across the screen (sounds the same though).

  41. Justin Wilson on March 20, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    Oh man, talk about nostalgia, I had Drive Yourself Crazy when I was little but completely forgot all about it until right now.

  42. ApplesPapples on March 20, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    Why would carbon zinc batteries be illegal?

  43. NEF aurora on March 20, 2021 at 11:34 pm

    Robin, Do not use 3-in-1 Oil ever. I seriously don’t even know why they still sell it. It is Parrafin based and when it dries, It will get sticky like molasses. That’s where the term "Gum up the works" comes from. Use sewing machine oil, or any 30 weight motor oil…even if you have nothing else. Tony K. :o)

  44. Jante Le-Man on March 20, 2021 at 11:34 pm

    The digital Derby make me think to the tomy’s racing turbo i get (my father bought it from a gispsy who collected valuable things from recycling centers) in the mid 90’s.

  45. ed stringer on March 20, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    Digital Derby I loved that game

  46. Shane the Freestyler on March 20, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    NO WAYYYYYY!! I remember Strolling Bowling from wayyyyy back! I think it may have belonged to my cousin. No way you can ever forget a bowling ball in orange shoes!

  47. Patsfan 4life on March 20, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    If that driving game had a timer built-in, it would be a fun two player vs game

  48. satchice9 on March 20, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    I think "Digital Derby" in the was marketed as "Demon Driver" in the UK. I remember my best friend had it and we played it a lot. I had completely forgotten about "Blip" until this video, but I now also remember playing it, though weirdly I can’t remember whether I owned it or a friend did.

  49. bigshr00m on March 20, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    I always find these sort of old handheld games to be super interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  50. Joachim Fichtner on March 20, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    Ha, you really understand how to force me to insta like – ee-oo ee-oo 😜

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