The Technologizer has collected a series of electronic gaming patents spanning from 1969 to 1989. The list includes devices such as the Atari joystick, Simon Says, and Nintendo's Game Boy. It also has a variety of less popular devices, at least some of which should be familiar to anyone who was gaming back then. Here's one description: "A game machine has a plurality of targets which unpredictably come out and disappear from their corresponding holes at the surface of a table on a game stand. A player can only strike targets which are positioned above the surface thereof. A main shaft is provided with the target on its upper end and is supported by bearings in such a manner that it can rotate and move up and down. A plunger disposed at the periphery of the main shaft is magnetically attracted by an electromagnetic solenoid. When raised, the main shaft always faces a predetermined direction due to an action of permanent magnets. Hitting of the target can be detected by monitoring abrupt large fluctuations in the current flowing through the solenoid during a period of time that the target is caused to appear above the table." The game? Whack-a-mole.
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