Tomytronic 3-D (1983)

Tomy 3-D 1983

Tomy SA-1

Tomy SA-2

Tomy SA-4

Tomytronic 3-D ranks very high up on my wanted-badly-but-never-got list. The games weren’t very good, in my opinion, but the gimmick was irresistible. For the very first time, kids could play a video game they didn’t own in complete privacy. It almost felt like we were doing something wrong.

At arcades there was always someone watching and/or waiting to play. Ditto for electronic handhelds on the playground. That sensation of always being watched, for me, was distracting. I wanted to explore whatever world the game was offering me alone and undisturbed. In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t a gimmick. Maybe the singular spaceship-binocular design was the game.

The downside was that every “pair of binoculars” was 30 bucks. That’s more than most of the non-brand LCD games, but almost $20 less than the big name tabletop arcade games. Here’s Tomytronic somewhat buried in the 1983 Sears Wishbook. I found nothing in the available 1984 catalogs.

Tomy 3-D 1983-4

There’s a good overview of the Tomoytronic 3-D system at Modojo that covers the privacy angle, along with technical details and individual games. And here’s a demo of Thundering Turbo. My favorite was Planet Zeon, the Star Wars clone, but the Tron-like Sky Attack was a close second.

(Images via Wil Falcon, eBay, and WishbookWeb)

2 Responses to “<em>Tomytronic 3-D</em> (1983)”

  1. 1 leftylimbo June 6, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Wow! I never saw those Tomytronic 3-D things ever. Not sure how those evaded my radar, especially in ’83. Ha! With one of those, there’d be no need for arcade cocoons, that’s for sure. That demo vid of Thundering Turbo is too classic! Killer post!

  1. 1 TV Guide Holiday Shopping Guide: `The Best Video Games of 1982′ | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on December 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm

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