Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Play Pac-Man with a Nickel


Pkg_3 The sports card publisher Fleer got the video game bug in the early 80's.  They seem to have suffered especially from Pac-Man fever, and produced collectible stickers and rub-off games. 

The Pac-Man series was packaged just like bubblegum cards, including the taste-free slat of gum.  The sticker variety was rather limited, which I guess is no surprise given the subject matter.  You'd get a ghost and a Pac-Man, each with a word bubble containing what you could euphemistically refer to as a "joke". 

Pacgame_2 When I bought these as a kid, what I was interested in was the rub-off game.  The maze was similar to the arcade's, but instead of little dots to eat the course is covered in golden scratch off circles.  You grab your favorite gaming nickel (ahh, so THAT'S where this post's title refers to) and scratch away revealing dots (gulp!), blue ghosts (yum!), or the evil colored ghost mosters (wah-wah-wah).

We didn't have a Pac-Man machine anywhere in the neighborhood, so these cards were the closest thing.  Supplemented by a kid's imagination, it was actually sort of fun.  Soon other arcade titles appeared as rub-off games including Ms. Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and even Dragon's Lair.

Pacgamedone_2I found a few of these cards from my childhood, and the scratch-off dots are now impenetrable.  They were always a little hard to scratch off (probably to protect against rough handling and packaging), but the mysterious material is now molecularly bonded to the card,  What's the lesson here?   Don't save every little piece of junk from your childhood thinking you'll have fun with it again someday!

More than you ever wanted to know about rub-off video games

Gallery of many (if not all) of the stickers


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