Kid Playing Dungeons & Dragons Computer Fantasy Game, Circa 1982

D&D Game 1982

D&D Mattel 1981

D&D Mattel 1981-2

Appearing in 1981, one year after Mattel’s Dungeons & Dragons Computer Labyrinth Game, the irresistible handheld actually caused fistfights during recess. I might have started one of them. Watching a demo now, I’m not sure what all the fuss was about. It’s a general indicator of how “in” the portable LCD games were, and how badly we wanted to be doing something D&D-related.

Gygax and co. understood the time constraints involved in role-playing, and they knew that getting a group together could be tough. Both of the Mattel games were quick and allowed solo play. Sometimes, clinging to the fringes of the D&D aura was the best we could do. In the first photo, as if to prove my point, you’ll see the first edition AD&D Monster Manual (1977) lurking in the closet, waiting for a game to show up. (I think the “Tempe North” on the kid’s hat refers to a Little League in Tempe, Arizona.)

See specs and details of the Computer Fantasy Game at the Handheld Games Museum. It appears on the first page of the 1982 Mattel Electronics toy fair catalog.

(Images via eBay and Handheld Games Museum)

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