Travel back with us to the ancient days before mobile phones, before even desktop computers became common-place. Back to storefronts which popped up on every corner during the 1970s thru 1980s. These were neon-gilded caves of glittering technological marvels, filled with a cacophony of squeaky beeps and thundering booms. The smell of popcorn, pop, and candy wafts from the snack counter as you step up to the dollar-changer to collect a clattering handful of quarters. You’re in that temple of geeky pleasures before “geeks” were even a thing, the video game arcade.
Gaming has gained much in recent years and it’s never going back to the way it was, no mistake. But what it’s lost is the social aspect of the arcade. You went with friends, it was an event. Gratification was easy – a mere coin out of your pocket near any machine. It was an idle time-killer whenever you were out, a staple feature of recreational venues like miniature golf courses, hotels, boardwalks, bowling alleys, and movie theaters.
That’s actually the thrill with retro handheld games. Evoking the time when games were something special, a rare treat instead of an omnipresent diversion. Single-game handhelds still provide that quick fix, as well as being an evocative collector’s item.
Pac-Man Retro Mini Arcade Game
It doesn’t get any more iconic than Pac-Man. Released in 1980, it became the highest-grossing video game of all time. There was an actual hit single song by Buckner & Garcia in 1981, titled “Pac-Man Fever,” which peaked to #9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 – that’s how much cultural influence this had.
Despite its simple premise of a maze, monsters, and a goal of eating dots for the former while avoiding the latter, Pac-Man has endured for generations of fans and been ported to every platform that’s come along since. This colorful arcade-style upright cabinet looks great on your shelf as a nod to your Generation-X street cred, and is still up for a game after all these years.
Frogger Retro Handheld Arcade Game
Released in 1981, Frogger became an instant classic arcade hit. One of the draws was that it’s an inherently non-violent game, being all about obstacle avoidance and good timing. This makes it arguably appropriate for any age group and demographic. It was a staple in any arcade during the ’80s, instantly recognizable by its cheery, simple music theme.
Frogger has been present in one form or another ever since, popping up in memes and media. Like its namesake amphibian, it’s good at what it does without being bothered by loftier aspirations. This authentic arcade-style upright cabinet brings back the memories of a time when games were so much simpler than Fortnite.
Yahtzee Handheld Digital Game
Yahtzee is an interesting game with a long history. It’s rooted in any number of variations of “bar dice” games from pub culture, stretching back centuries. The game that would become Yahtzee dates from about the WWII era, before being registered by Milton Bradley and eventually Hasbro. It was so-named because it was played on a yacht, as a leisure-time activity for sailing seniors. Notably, the marketing of the game in the mid-20th century included a TV commercial campaign with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, in-character, learning the game.
Yahtzee translates perfectly to a hand-held pocket game, being an even blend of luck and strategy. It’s perfect for casual play on the go without being too demanding on the brain. It goes well with a bingo parlor, cardigan sweaters, and yachting. But it’s also low-bandwidth enough to play through a turn of waiting in line at the post office.
Classic 5-in-1 Poker Electronic Games
Five-card draw poker is the most iconic handheld pocket game. You don’t have to think too hard, it’s interesting enough to hold idle attention, and it’s not so distracting that you forget you’re actually waiting to pick up your order. It’s quiet and non-controversial. Nobody ever got in trouble for playing handheld poker.
It’s also an iconic game which resembles the same thing you’d be doing on a Las Vegas vacation. Anybody who does enjoy gambling can use this game to train on, because it helps you practice for the real thing. Video poker and its endless variants are also the most iconic casino games, being the popular equivalent of casual gambling. This handheld comes with five variants on the basic game, so even pocket poker games have evolved to provide more features.
Space Invaders Retro Mini Arcade Game
The original Bally-Midway classic first launched in 1978, making it one of the oldest recognized classic arcade games. Thanks to its simple graphics and gameplay, it’s been ported to every platform in the imaginable universe, without losing its retro charm. Before the 1980s, Space Invaders and its close cousin Asteroids were the two top arcade games. Space Invaders is estimated to have brought in some $13 billion in revenue.
The classic linear shoot-em-up works ideally as a portable stand-alone game. This tabletop version faithfully reproduces the stand-up arcade cabinet, perfect for retro game appreciation.
Handheld Slot Machine Game
Expert game analysts have come up with the perfect strategy for slot machines, after years of careful study: The secret is to keep pressing the button. That’s what makes the game go. Not at all a demanding activity, pocket slot games are perfect for engaging one hand and one eye without taking up many other resources.
Based on popular three-line slots found in casinos the world over, this handheld is a pretty fair recreation of a no-frills machine. It still feels just as good when it comes up all sevens!
Centipede Retro Handheld Arcade Game
Centipede has a distinguished place in classic video game arcade history. Released in 1980 by the one and only Atari, it became the showpiece of the arcade golden age. Its bright, colorful graphics, fast-paced and challenging gameplay, and distinctive sound made it an iconic crowd-pleaser. It was also among the first games to use a track-ball.
Centipede has gone on to be ported to every platform in existence, and of course to this handsome stand-alone tabletop portable game as well. The vivid cabinet design is faithfully reproduced, easily recognizable to classic gaming fans anywhere.
Q’Bert Retro Mini Arcade Game
Classic arcade fans will always have a soft spot in their hearts for Q’Bert. Other games were the first of their kind, or more advanced, but Q’Bert had character. In its pathologically blocky world, it had bouncing gremlins and coiling snakes, all accompanied by bizarre sound effects and a wonky take on physics. It was one of the first games to not try to emulate anything that existed in the real world, but made up its own little fictional universe.
The cute arcade classic gets its full due in this stand-up arcade tabletop portable game, with its retro cabinet still bristling with its own trademark critters. It’s an irresistible nostalgic trip for that generation of arcade gamer who remembers a simpler time when it was all about maneuvering a pyramid of blocks.