I never got the Bigtrak, but my only childhood hospital stay netted me the Merlin. I bet if I hadn’t been so healthy I would’ve got more cool things. Stupid health.
I saw a rack of re-released Merlins at Target the other day, if you’re really determined to relive late 70’s / early 80’s portable gaming. It was between Mattel Football and the Mario’s Cement Factory keychain.
I wonder whatever happened to all my old electronic games and stuff? That Mattel Football game was lots of fun; I also remember spending lots of time with Speak and Spell (which later became self-aware and is now known as Steven Hawking), an LED Pac Man game shaped like a tiny little arcade cabinet, and an electronic D&D game where you explored a featureless grid of 100 rooms looking for a dragon. Fun times.
Damn I remember those as a kid. Wanted one but of course never got it =\ Gary can you make a vid of it in action and post it for us?
The one retro gift I’d love would be that big three-story Death Star with the bi gun on top along with the garbage compactor and the styrofoam garbage. Never had one, but my cousin and two of my best friends did. It’s the one big Star Wars toy that I missed out on. Damn parents. I got stuck with the crappy cardboard sandcrawler that year.
I got the Millenium Falcon which was cool but cumbersome as hell to play with. Always wanted an AT-AT walker though but of course I didn’t get that either.
Oh, wow, I completely forgot about BigTrak. That is awesome. I had the trailer attachment for it (did they all come with it?), which plugged into that slide slot above the keypad next to the red power switch. Using the trailer made it kind of a pain to program, but it lowered and raised so you could have BigTrak go into the other room, drop something off, and come back.
Merlin, gah. I still remember that annoying commercial:
Where’s Merlin now, better come clean, in the kitchen with Mom playing Music Machine!
Ben, Mattel rereleased that little football game a few years ago based on popular demand. It’s called Classic Football 2, and you could probably get your hands on it fairly easily.
Here you go. You’ll have to download it (about 4Mb) because it’s Christmas Eve and I’m too lazy to stream it.
I remember seeing the Big Trak on TV, but my parents couldn’t afford it. I DID have a Merlin, though.
Wow, I just took a 25-30 year trip back in time. Thanks, Gary. :)
[I]I would also consider having it run into the bathroom while my wife is in the shower and just have it stare at the shower, making beeping sounds. I don’t know why that amuses me so much just now, it just does.
[/I]“The Bud Light bot is creeping me out again…”
Both are before my time, but the BigTrak and the Merlin look awesome! The BigTrak especially. That would be a cool toy even today! Wasn’t there something Apple had that was like the BigTrak, only you used an Apple II to program it?
How big can the command “strings” be for the BigTrak? Could you program it before work in the morning and come home to find it still running around terrifying the cat or dog?
Each program can only be 16 “steps” long, but each step can be pretty long (up to 99 “degrees” of movement, turns more than 360 degrees, up to 99 laser blasts, etc), so I guess if you had a big enough space you could run a pretty large program.
If your girlfriend really loved you, she’d have got you the drinks tray attachment too!
What, and put herself out of work? :D
I love how the BigTrak combines my passion of tanks, programming and lasers.
How old are you?
It look like something that would have been the thing to want, when I was a kid - but I’ve never seen one before. Awesome.
When I turned 30 and felt pretty old my then girlfriend, who is not into games at all, gave me a PlayStation, which was booth silly and way over our usual budget - needless to say, I married her.
I still have mine.
That’s awesome, Gary. I totally remember one of those, too. My absolute favorite toy, though, was the Starbird Avenger
Hrmm… Now I’m thinking of trying to find one on eBay.
I’m 33, and and the BigTrak was circa 1979, so I would have been around seven at the time. Now what I think back, it was my first ever experience with computer programming. Such a shame that they don’t make mainstream toys with any real educational side effects any more…
Oh man did I want one of those things. I never even got to see one in person, I just lusted after them from afar. I mean, once a kid had one of those things, he could really take things to the next level. He had some power!
Edit: Also, I can’t remember anything about the Starbird Avenger except that I remember I also needed it so very badly. to live.
Ooooooh, is that the one that made descending beeping sounds as you flew it downward, and ascending as you flew it upward?
I’m about 2-3 years too young for most of these toys - I did not have any of them, but remember relatives who were 2-3 years older having them and thinking they were really cool.