7. Astro Wars
Astro Wars was an electronic table top game made in Great Britain in 1981 by Grandstand under licence from Epoch Co., who sold the game in Japan under the title Super Galaxian. There were two versions of Astro Wars – an earlier version had the Astro Wars motif printed in red and a later version printed in white.
The Astro Wars game runs on six volts DC and can be powered by four ‘C’ type batteries or alternatively via a low voltage mains adapter (not supplied with the game). As the display is based on VFD technology, it allows bright, multicoloured in-game elements to be rendered but at the cost of a relatively small screen size. The VFD display is manufactured with the pre-formed, immutable in-game objects effectively fixed in place onto a dark background. Each element can be individually lit or unlit during play, giving the illusion of animation and movement. In-game objects cannot touch or superimpose on one another. The screen was slightly magnified to improve gameplay.
8. Galaxy Invader 1000
Space Invaders is considered one of the most influential video games of all time. It helped expand the video game industry from a novelty to a global industry, and ushered in the golden age of arcade video games. It was the inspiration for numerous video games and game designers across different genres, and has been ported and re-released in various forms. The 1980 Atari VCS version quadrupled sales of the VCS, thereby becoming the first killer app for video game consoles. More broadly, the pixelated enemy alien has become a pop culture icon, often representing video games as a whole.
Merlin has the form of a rectangular device about eight inches long and three inches wide. The play area of the game consists of a matrix of 11 buttons; each button contains a red LED. The array is encased in a red plastic housing, bearing a slight resemblance to an overgrown touch-tone telephone. Four game-selection and control buttons are also placed at the bottom of the unit; a speaker takes up the top section. Supporting electronics (including a simple microprocessor) are contained within the shell of the game. Parker Brothers later released Master Merlin with more games, and the rarer Split Second, where all games involve time with a more advanced display, having line segments around the dots. Both of these share the same general case shape, and came out a few years after Merlin.
Merlin’s simple array of buttons and lights supported play of six different games, some of which could be played against the computer or against another person. The games that can be selected are:
Tic tac toe
Echo, a game similar to Simon
Magic square, a pattern game similar to Lights Out
Mindbender, a game similar to Mastermind
10. Turnin’ Turbo – 80s electronic games
Takara-Tomy has manufactured a broad range of products based on its own properties which include, from the Tomy side: Tomica, Plarail, Zoids, Idaten Jump, Nohohon Zoku and Tomy branded baby care products, and, from the Takara side: Space Pets, Choro-Q (also known as Penny Racers), Transformers, B-Daman, Koeda-chan (also known as Treena) and Microman. The merged Takara-Tomy also produces and/or sells a wide variety of toy and game brands under license, such as Thomas & Friends, Disney, Pokémon, Naruto, The Game of Life (also known as Jinsei Game), Rockman (a.k.a. Megaman), Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, Kirarin Revolution, Sugarbunnies, and Animal Crossing. Tomy’s rights to these licenses vary by region. One of the first examples of product synergy for the merged company was the combining of Takara’s Jinsei Game (Game of Life) license and Tomy’s Pokémon license to produce a Pokémon Jinsei Game.