Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Coleco Tabletops

I'm not too big on the handheld systems. I never had a gameboy and all those other weird ones that came out during that time such has the jaguar, Sega game gear. I don't like playing on tiny screens when a big TV screen is available. I did break down last Christmas and buy my first handheld, the Nintendo DS and its quite fun. But when I started thinking about it, I did own a handheld, way before the popular gameboy. I owned what were called,"Tabletops"

In 1981 Coleco had released what was then near perfect versions of the most popular arcade games during this time. Such has Donkey Kong,Donkey Kong Jr, Pacman, Ms Pacman, Frogger, Galaxian, and Galaga. They could run on 4 C batteries or an adapter could be plugged into the back. They weren't no lite weights, you wouldn't see any of todays kids walking around holding one of these up for more than 5 min befor their arms fell off. I guess thats why they marketed them has "tabletops" and not "walkarounds". Whatever, you still didn't have to have a TV to play these.

The look of these games were really good for the times. It was set up with a bunch of pre-set images that were lite up from behind creating a glow effect for the game. I remember trying to play these at certain times of the day in bright areas and having my face stuck has close has I could get it, to keep out the light. Otherwise your just looking at a EVERYTHING lite screen.

The games played really well, they were responsive, great sound, and fun has hell.Pacman even had 2 players playing at the same time, although it was a little crowed with 2 kids smashing their faces into a small opening, still... Both you and a friend chomping around the room, it was great fun. Also the space invaders, you could set it up so that one guy played the aliens and the other took the traditional stance has the good guys, but this setting always seem lopped sided. Who ever controlled the aliens seemed to lose.You could never get it fast enough like the game itself.Overall the games were really good for their times.

Growing up I had Pacman, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders, which in my opinion are the 3 classics of gaming. Later on when I was much older, I got my hands on Galaxian and Frogger. I still have these games at home today. But none of them have stood the test of time. They don't work, I may get a sputter out of one or two. But I know my pacman, both joystick would stick and one just seemed to move pacman where ever he wanted.I never had the urge to take them apart and try to mess with them. Me taking things apart usually doesn't end very well for whats being taken apart. So I stay away from that avenue of "how to fix"

These are great memories for me, and great to have around for conversation pieces. If you can get a working one,Bonus. Perhaps one day I will try to tinker with the insides of one and see what I can do.Until then, they sit in a box waiting and wondering, "when will that dingaling try to pick us apart"


The trailer doesn't show any of the actually game play, but it sure is Spamtacular!!