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Atari 'TouchMe' (BH-100)

In 1978 Atari, under Warner at that time, decided to enter the market of handheld gaming, establishing a new division: 'Atari Electronic Games'. The new division designed three different models of handheld games:

'TouchMe', 'Super Breakout' and 'Space Invaders'.

All three games were based on the existing coin-op versions, but only Atari's 'TouchMe' (not very successful in the arcades) made it to the market, the other ones were shelved.

The game 'TouchMe' randomly lights up the LEDs on colored areas on the handheld's housing, playing distinct sounds with each color lit up.
The player has to repeat this sequence by pressing the buttons according to the color. The further you get in the game, the harder to repeat the sequence will become - just as simple as that.


Sounds familiar to you?

Well, 'Milton Bradley' copied the idea of 'TouchMe' and invented the 'Simon', a large, round toy with big colored buttons on it, so non-players around can see the action taking place while up to 4 players can enjoy the thrill of this simple, yet addictive game.
Atari's 'TouchMe' was more or less a game for a single player, due to its small housing and display.
'Milton Bradley' created a best-seller with it's 'Simon'.

The declining market of handheld games, due to the rising popularity of cartridge-based games, forced Atari to leave the handheld business and stop its unsuccessful 'Atari Electronic Games'.


And now for some funny parallel:

Years ago, Bushnell 'stole' the idea for his 'Pong' from Ralph Bear (developing the 'Odyssey 100' for  'Magnavox' at that time).
In 1977, Bear, working at 'Milton Bradley', just took revenge: he launched 'Simon' for 'MB' using the game-play of Atari's 'TouchMe'.

 

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