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Pocketeers and Game & Watch Flashback

While clearing out drawers at home, it is always interesting what you find.

As a child, I remember playing with friends and sharing pocketeers in the playground. I own a few that I had forgotten about. The pocket games that pre-empted the Game & Watch and other electronic toys. Plastic units that are the ideal size to place in a pocket, constructed with game pieces that often included switches, magnets and ball bearings.

Though I do not have my original pocketeers, I was able to buy these few off eBay about 10 years ago. The fruit machine and the space man (Splash Down) in particular I remember playing a lot.

My small pocketeers collection

I'm not sure I actually owned the fruit machine game as a child but I remember playing it all the time in the playground/at friends house. While the version that I own works, it does of course show signs of wear, as any toy that was produced nearly 50 years ago would. Stamped as copyrighted in 1975.

The tank game which I remember borrowing as a child is stamped as 1976 and was called "Bombard". The space man/astronaut game is undated but was marketed as "Splashdown". Though definitely sold around the same year as I remember receiving one as a stocking filler. I did play that one a lot.

They sold for about £1 which was a pocket money toy. The example below is a good indication of how they looked at retail with a card slip case that packaged them for sale. This example is currently selling on eBay as buy it now for £22.99

Those in a slip case understandably fetching more money than those without the case. Without a case, you may pick some games up for a lot less.

Big Match in card slip case

While researching, I discovered "Rock n Roll" which I remember playing for hours and I had forgotten about. Another ball bearing game which I played for hours.

I understand that about 150 of these different games were produced. To see a complete listing, look here .

Pocketeers - "Rock n Roll"

As I got older and started middle school, I remember that my friends and I mostly moved onto the Nintendo Game & Watch series. WHSmith along with other retailers sold them and they were of course a lot more money but this time the unit was a LED liquid crystal screen with buttons.

Many games were produced, the majority single screen and others being a double screen that opened up. I recall owning "Donkey Kong 2" and "Turtle Bridge". Games that had to be for birthdays or Christmas only.

Nicely built and generally of good quality. Sometimes licensed games were also available such as Snoopy tennis.

The games I used to own!

While many of these games can now be picked up second hand on eBay, a cheaper way is to own a replica and buy a modern day special editions like my Super Mario Bros version below. They sell for about £50 new and often have a few games included and a classic Game & Watch game that plays old school LED liquid Crystal games.

The trouble with the original Game & Watch was that if you did not store correctly or were rough with them, the screen could leak and stop displaying correctly, as happened with my "Turtle Bridge" version.

Super Mario Bros Game & Watch

The Game & Watch series ran from 1980 to 1991 with 60 different models produced. To learn more, check out this wiki.

If you feeling nostalgic, do take a look on Amazon or eBay for the true old school experience. E-Bay being the best place for buyong a pocketeer.



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