Looking to capitalize on nostalgia, Tiger Electronics LCD games from the ’90s are making their grand return with four handheld titles.
The year was 1988. I was a little fella. The world was different. Toy’s R Us was too big to fail. TV was on a schedule and if you missed a show, that was it.
Sometimes you’d walk to someone’s house, on foot, and have no idea if they were home. And we didn’t have the internet there to absolutely ruin everything we loved. For that, we had something called grandparents.
I will add, sidebar, that I loved my parents. They were really good people. They could just also ruin things really well; but, they did it with love.
Case in point, I found out that they were releasing a home version of the Arcade hit Gauntlet on the Nintendo Entertainment System. No longer would I have to convert my allowance into quarters and pump those quarters into the machine at the near by bowling alley (shout out to Yorktown Lanes, which is some how still standing). Now I’d be able to play at home, free, whenever I wanted. I was hyped.
I told my parents at first. I begged them later. One day, we were at our grandparents house visiting and my parents brought it up with me. My grandparents would make a statement that I would forever be listening for from then on in, for the rest of their lives. They said, “Oh, if that’s a gift idea we’ll get it for him.”
I was young. I didn’t know disappointment yet.
Long story short, my birthday rolls around and my grandparents hand me a box. It’s small, it’s close to the size of a Nintendo game and my grandparents were grinning like Jack-O-Lanterns and telling me about how they got me that thing I was asking for.
The paper ripped. Inside? This.
My reality glitched. If life truly was a simulation, this was the point that it would have gotten the blue screen.
I didn’t know how to react. I had spent all month dreaming of this moment and now I had this… calculator. This… impostor.
This disappointment? This was Tiger Electronics handheld LCD games.
If there was a big trend in games, Tiger would be there to sell a cheap knockoff to people looking to save money, thinking their kids wouldn’t mind. When Sonic the Hedgehog 3 came out, they made a LCD version. When the Virtual Boy came out? They made a LCD game you literally could strap to your head. They were there to ruin everything and destroy families.
Now, they’re coming back under the false pretense of nostalgia.
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See, I work at a Gamestop. (Stop, I’ve heard it already. Whatever comment you’re typing, just stop. I know.) Recently we got this big, exciting memo that we started taking pre-orders on a new nostalgia item —remakes of “classic” Tiger Electronics handhelds.
Coming are four incredibly baffling titles that really make me wonder how they could afford the licenses: Little Mermaid, Transformers, X-Men and the aforementioned Sonic the Hedgehog 3. For $14.99, you can go ahead and relive the confusion of knowing what you want to do but being limited to playing a game on a glorified calculator.
Somewhere, the bodies of my grandparents are clawing their way to the surface knowing that they’ve been granted one last chance to ruin a gift for me. Honestly, I’d be less joyed seeing one of these handhelds than I would seeing them as zombies.
If you’re a masochist, however, these drop later this year. Tiger Electronics handhelds will retail for $14.99 at GameStop and presumably other retailers.