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.

Blip: The Digital Game

Tomy Blip

It's hard to believe that a game like Tomy Blip could captivate a generation, but it was high on many Christmas lists in 1977. The game was a simple electromechanical version of Atari Pong: an LED bounced back and forth across the court, powered by a windup timer. The only reason the unit required 2 x AA batteries was to light the little LED ball on the play field. And -- although I never realized it as a kid -- there is something incredibly ironic about a unit marketed as "The Digital Game" which makes a mechanical "bZzzz... Bzzz... bzzz..." noise as you play.

Tomy sold millions of these little portables, no doubt riding on the success of Atari's much more expensive electronic TV games. I remember gazing at one for hours in the back pages of the Sears Christmas Wishbook, imagining it as far more pong-like than it really was. Perhaps the real secret of Blip's success was hidden in the tag line on the box: "Take it anywhere. No TV set is needed." Parents probably envisioned a portable game as a great way to keep kids from taking over the living room TV set so they wouldn't miss James Garner receiving his weekly pistol whippings on The Rockford Files.

[Update: Here's a link to a vintage Blip TV commercial on YouTube, via technabob in the comments. Thanks!]

Tomy Blip [handheldmuseum.com]


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