I wanted to write about a unique game I purchased from eBay this week. It is one I think is the beginning of handheld gaming that we know today. There are many things that jump started the handheld gaming, but this device was something I may have missed or did not know about. It is called the Blip. Blip first came out in 1977 and was sort of like a handheld version of Pong. The claim to fame was they advertised the system as not needing a TV to play it. At that time, it was revolutionary to play a video game without a TV. We are talking before Nintendo, Atari and even the Magnavox Odyssey.
My first impression when seeing the eBay ad was something I had to have for my collection. It came with the original box and in pretty good condition. The concept felt easy yet addicting. To catch the bouncing light that was being “served” to the opponent. There are 3 sections the ball could go to and you need to catch the ball before it hits the number. If you miss the timing and the ball hits the number, the opponent gets the point. There is a timer that is turned which gives the game a stopping point and a winner when the timer stops. Of course, the Gameboy generation and iPhone apps gamers will think this device is boring and poorly built. But remember, in the 1970s gaming was not that popular except for the pinball world. This device was ahead of its time and is a great keepsake of history.
The game itself is in a plastic case with a translucent screen. The timer is the key to start the game which in turn starts the springs of the light up ball which can be controlled by the 3 buttons on each side. Movement of the LED was ostensibly random but a player was capable of memorizing the movements of the LED and recognize patterns which would enable the player to better anticipate where the “ball” would land. TO power the unit, you can use two “AA” batteries.
I admit the game did get boring after a while and repetitive. But I get to show my kids what technology was like back when I was a little kid. This item was a good find and can be found on eBay or other auction sites. The one I purchased is in good condition with the box.