- Mattel Handhelds Intro -

While Atari was ready to enter the video market with the 2600, Mattel hesitated. To test the electronic game market, Mattel decided to release handheld games instead of video games. With the success of the Atari 2600, Mattel moved into the video game market with the Intellivision in late 1979. The handhelds continued on through 1982.

LED Football, LED Football 2, and LED Basketball is now on the iPhone/iTouch.
Visit Touchgrove's WEBSITE or the iTunes store for more info.

---  1976  ---

The first game released was Auto Racing in 1976. Even though Ski Slalom uses the same case design, it was not released until 1980. In Auto Racing, you navigate your car up the screen dodging cars coming down the screen. You have to loop the screen 4 times to complete the game. Ski Slalom works in the opposite direction so that you navigate your man down the screen as obstacles go up the screen.
Auto Racing (1976)
Ski Slalom (1980)

---  1977  ---

Mattel hit it big in 1977 with the release of Football. Run your man from the side to side of the screen dodging the opponent. When you get to the end, you loop back to where you started the play. Each button press to the side moves your man one yard.
Football (1977)

With great success came great failure. Releasing in 1977 also, Missile Attack saw a short life span as it was controversial. A city being bombed? The design lived on with Space Alert in 1978. Your city/battle star is being attacked from the top of the screen. Defend your self by shooting upwards at them. Navigate your shot as it moves upward.
Battlestar Galactica is the only LED handheld to use a licensed name. It is interesting how all the Intellivision sports titles used licensed names but Intellivision Space Battle did not.
Missile Attack (1977)
Space Alert (1978)

---  1978  ---

Mattel opened up the flood gates in 1978 with the most releases in one year. Keeping cost down is always a priority. This was well executed with Basketball, Hockey, Soccer, and even to an extent with Armor Battle and Sub Chase.
In Armor Battle and Sub Chase, navigate around the screen looking for the enemy using an audible alarm as you get closer. Score points when you hit them. These are the first games to require sound to play the game.
Armor Battle (1978)
Sub Chase (1978)

It becomes obvious with these releases that Mattel was trying to cater to the different sports fan. Game play is similar on all these titles. Move your man around the screen and get into position for a shot to score a point. Mattel must have realized that they needed a slight change in one of these games; Hockey was it. The square playing field was released to the Canadian market. The U.S. market received a smaller screen where you can not navigate your man behind the net but the puck can be hit around the net.
Basketball (1978)
Soccer (1978)
U.S.Hockey (1978)
Canadian Hockey (1978)

Baseball follows Football as being the only other title not to share it's design with other releases. It is also the last Mattel Electronics title that requires sound to play. It is impossible to know how many bases you can run without hearing the beeps. This is also the only title to have high speed movement. Trying to hit a pitch is not the easiest task.
Baseball (1978)

Mind Boggler had a quiet release and is not documented in any of the Mattel dealer catalogs. This title moves away from requiring sound by not even having a speaker! The objective is to guess a secret code number randomly generated. After guessing numbers, the game gives you hints if you are close or not. Set the game to use 3,4, or 5 digits.
Mind Boggler (1978)

Mattel attempted to capitalize on the success with Football by releasing an update. This version adds a 4th row to the screen, allows the passing of the ball and running backwards. Mattel created one of the best handhelds with this release and is a must own for any Football fan.
Football 2 (1978)

---  1979  ---

With all the sports games already made, 79' was appropriate for Mattel to continue making "2" models. Basketball got a 3 point line, penalties, free shots, defensive strategy options, and passing. Soccer got play similar to Football where you cross the field by looping through screens, passing, low/high kicks, stealing, throw-in, corner kicks, and control of your teammate. One flaw in these models was the LCD lights are thinner and dimmer. It is hard to see the playing field in any light.
Basketball 2 (1979)
Soccer 2 (1979)

Mattel released handhelds under a new division called Funtronics. This was probably done due to the simple game play and the different market, age group of 5 and up, the games were being marketed to. All the Mattel Electronics games were marketed to the age group of 8 to 80. Jacks requires you to throw the ball up and pick up the correct amount of jacks by pressing the button next to the lit LED. Red Light Green Light requires you to move up your row when the center light turns green.
Jacks (1979)
Red Light Green Light (1979)

---  1980  ---

By 1980, the handheld market began a slow down. With the Intellivision and Atari in full swing, the video game market took off. This did not stop Mattel from creating a new model. Bowling or Skiing anyone? Bowling is the only handheld that is mechanical and electronic. As the ball is "rolling" down the lane, you can control it by twisting the unit left and right.
Bowling (1980)

Mattel did not give up easily and attempted to use Football to keep the handhelds alive with a new series called "Look Alive". Instead of running around the screen, the perspective is changed to run down the field. This is done by the opponents moving down the screen and your man stays fixed at the bottom center. It is a shame that this game was released at the end of the LED life cycle as it is one of the best games. Very rare but a must have.
Look Alive Football (1980)

Mattel did not wait to jump on the LCD bad wagon. In 1980, they released Chess. The packaging definitely reflects the period. Use the cursors to select and move your piece. You can play 2 player, 1 player, or watch the computer play itself.
Chess (1980)

---  1981  ---

Star Hawk has a 1981 date but was shown in the 1982 catalog. It is the only game with multi-colored LEDs. It is advertised to have three colors but actually has two. The third color is created with a green filter.
Use the joystick to maneuver your craft and hunt down enemy craft. Watch out for flack! Get them in your sight and fire the twin laser beams. Hear the enemy explode, your laser beam, diving, and climbing.
Star Hawk (1981)

---  1982  ---

The LCD games followed the Intellivision games with licensed titles such as AD&D, Burgertime, and Masters of the Universe. The Mattel handhelds died when the Intellivision reached it's peak in popularity.
Game play is very simple. Move in one of 4 directions attempting to find Skelator. Use warnings to hint the path you should take. AD&D plays exactly the same game play except you are searching for the dragon.
Masters of the Universe (1982)
Dungeons & Dragons (1982)
Competition Football (1982)

---  2000  ---

Just when we thought they were gone for good, the sports titles saw a re-release in 2000. Going after the nostalgia, keychain versions are sold. They play exactly as the originals but use an LCD screen.
Keychain: Soccer, Basketball, Hockey, Football

This is not a Mattel release but I owned it back in the day. Coleco did compete in the handheld market and Quarterback was ahead of Mattel Football with having a passing option. This created a bug though. On 4th down, start the play by repeatedly pressing the pass button. Squeeze in an UP press and catch the ball. Press the Kick button and the ball will be kicked down field. Quickly press the Display button before the ball goes off the screen. Start pressing the Pass button again repeatedly and the play starts again. You just gained 15 yards. Keep repeating this process and you will make a touchdown.