Monday, December 25, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Space Alert and Christmas Day


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In 1979 on Christmas Day I found a small box under the tree and knew by its shape and size exactly what it was. It was the game I wanted for Christmas.

The game was Battlestar Galactica Space Alert, a handheld electronic game from Mattel Electronics. Battlestar Galactica was cool in my little kid universe because it featured Cylons and spaceship battles. This game was cool because it featured the Battlestar Galatica name and was electronic.

This was the golden age of handheld electronic games. Graphics and sounds on these games were limited to the power a 9-volt battery or a pack of AAs could deliver. Space combat was reduced to little red dots making beeping noises while colliding with other red dots. Even by 1979 standards, this game was simplistic, but what other options were there? Atari games were just as crudely rendered. It would be another year before I saw a Space Invaders or Galaxian arcade game. On Christmas Day 1979, this was state of the art.

My original Space Alert game was burned up by a faulty DC adaptor. I found one on EBAY to replace it nearly two decades later. I was surprised to find that it still was a challenge to play. Getting a score over 100 is almost impossible. If you want to give Space Alert a try, stop by Peter Hirchsberg's page for the LED game simlulator.

This holiday season, people lined up in the cold and rain for Playstation 3s and the Nintendo Wii. It amazes me to see how far technology has come in a quarter of a century. It also makes me wonder what is next.

1 comment:

Crawford Tillinghast said...

Heh. I knew I wasn't gonna get one that year, so I flat out shoplifted one instead.

Long and somewhat amusing story, actually I used to have it posted on the web but the site went down or I'd link to it. Anyway, my original game went dead many years ago but I bought another one in 1994 and I still have it tucked away safe.