In defense of terrible Tiger Electronics handheld games

tiger_hang_on_1.jpg

Andrew Liszewski looks back on the classic game Hang-On – the portable version, that is – and its place at the end of the pre-Gameboy era of handheld gaming. What I like about his piece is that he comes to praise Ceasar, not to bury him.

You see, it’s easy to mock Tiger Electronics’ old LCD games. The gameplay was bad, limited to the possibilities afforded by the “popsicle-stick shadow play” elements used instead of pixels. But two things were really cool about them.

First, they got great licenses and created beautiful devices out of them. Just look at it! Apart from the actual game, the industrial design is unimpeachable. Think back, older readers – you knew these things sucked, didn’t you? And yet they remained cool until the Gameboy came along. So it wasn’t really about the game, was it?

Second, the 1980s was full of game marketing that deceptively implied that home versions of arcade games would look great and follow the originals closely. In fact, most conversions were rubbish, tossed off in a matter of weeks. Disappointment. Ennui. But it was impossible to be disappointed by a Tiger game, because they were mostly the exact same game, except sometimes you could shoot. Low expectations guarantees happiness!

The Games We Played – Tiger Electronics Hang-On [Oh Gizmo!]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to In defense of terrible Tiger Electronics handheld games

  1. Chris L says:

    “One of the most complex ones I ever got was a Sonic the Hedgehog one, that was based on the cartoon”

    I had that one as well. It was actually pretty fun, y’know, till Super Mario Land.

    I definitely had “Baseball” as well. Some might call it crude and generic, I call it purity in design. More games should be playable with only 2 buttons.

  2. Enochrewt says:

    Erg, I can’t believe YTMND is blocked at work.

  3. sisyphus says:

    Finally, reppin’ my favorite road trip activity as a youth. That LED football game was so passé!

    But it was impossible to be disappointed by a Tiger game, because they were mostly the exact same game, except sometimes you could shoot. Low expectations guarantees happiness!

    Too true! I think I had about half a dozen of these at one point, but that wasn’t so bad–they were quite prone to glitching and/or breaking. Not from high-impact falls, however–a testament to the case design–rather, from any sort of liquid. No problem–just salvage the batteries and play a different one!

  4. mightymouse1584 says:

    I remember playing some boxing game by Tiger in my youth. It was sooooo cool. And totally indestructible. I remember once a AA battery exploded/leaked all over the inside and when i changed it out, it continued to work without a hitch. pure awesome.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Check out the Tiger Handheld on “The McShanghai Prophecy” on youtube.

  6. dculberson says:

    I hated these things when I was a kid. It might have just been jealousy, though, since I didn’t have any of my own. It was TI99/4a at home or reading books on the go.

  7. Tyler says:

    Does anyone remember the Nintendo Crystal screen LCD games from Nintendo’s Game and Watch series? Things of beauty. They had a see through screen that the LCD characters were embedded within. I had Balloon Fight, which I wish I could find a photo of. Really cool design for the time.

  8. jbang says:

    I loved the game and watch devices from Nintendo, and had a couple. To offset those my folks’ got me ripoff Tiger-esque games.

    Exactly the same gameplay, but the industrial design was not quite so sweet.

  9. Halloween Jack says:

    The great thing about these is that, when you got one for Christmas instead of the game system that you wanted/asked for, you totally understood the spoken-word part of the Doors song “The End” for the first time.

  10. Not a Doktor says:

    One of the most complex ones I ever got was a Sonic the Hedgehog one, that was based on the cartoon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

More BB

Boing Boing Video

Flickr Pool

Digg

Wikipedia

Advertise

Displays ads via FM Tech

RSS and Email

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution. Boing Boing is a trademark of Happy Mutants LLC in the United States and other countries.

FM Tech