Handheld games, some referred to as Tabletop games for their bigger size, date as far back as the early 70’s. One that stood out was the first cartridge based tabletop gaming system, The Adventure Vision, released in 1982.
Now, let’s play the Song of Time on our Ocarina’s and warp back to 1970 to take a look at the company behind the Adventure Vision, “Entex Industries, Inc.” Entex, based in Compton California, was founded in 1970 by G.A. “Tony” Clowes, Nicholas Carlozzi and Nick Underhill (who joined after Tony and Nicholas had already named the company, but before the company opened for business) and originally sold toys, Loc Blocks (which were similar in fashion to Legos) and model kits before making electronic handheld and tabletop games.
Entex produced an internal newsletter entitled “The Bull’s Eye” to
keep staff informed about the company’s business; it is unclear how many of these were actually made. Companies, like Mattel and Coleco, competed with Entex in releasing smaller pocket-sized LED handheld games. Some were head-to-head sports games. These companies, among others, also released standalone tabletop games, including popular arcade ports such as Frogger, Galaxian, Donkey Kong, and Ms. Pac-Man to name a few. Entex’s standalone tabletop games included Space Invaders, Crazy Climber and Defender.
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