The Internet Archive has gone where no archival emulation site has gone before: they’ve actually figured out a way to translate those cheap Tiger LCD handheld games to a computer screen. Officially titled the Handheld History Collection, the newly birthed webpage contains 72 handhelds converted from plastic to digital, with the promise of more on the way.
Tiger handhelds scream “history” perhaps more than any other type of video game preserved on the site. They speak of a time when getting a fully functional video game in the palm of your hand was an expensive endeavor that not every kid could enjoy. Getting a BARELY functional game in kids’ hands, though….that, the 80s and 90s could do.
Tiger games worked the same way that a watch did — same display, same limited amount of graphics. Everything was pre-drawn on one sheet and bits of it would appear depending on what the player did, in an effort to simulate movement that wasn’t convincing in the slightest — but it was this or nothing.
Though a few of these handhelds managed to pull off addicting gameplay, most were incomprehensible at the time, and now that the tech has aged, they’re even harder to go back to. There are a few comments on the site from people complaining that the game they tried wasn’t working…they don’t get the point; they didn’t work at the time either. They’re supposed to not work.
The definition of “handheld” is varied on the page. Archive.org went far enough to emulate a Simon toy and even a Speak & Spell straight out of the late 70s. Yup….it’s a fully functional Speak & Spell. It’s a bit before my time and I can’t quite figure it out. How do you get it to say naughty words?