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Portables (Games)

Merlin's Magic: The Inside Story of the First Mobile Game 60

curtwoodward writes "Long before Steve Jobs kicked off the modern mobile gaming revolution with the iPhone, a Harvard astrophysicist got kids obsessed with chasing electronic lights and sounds with their fingers. Bob Doyle was the inventor behind Merlin, and built the early versions with his wife and brother-in-law. As the more sophisticated cousin of raw memory game Simon, Merlin offered games like blackjack, tic-tac-toe, and even an early music program. Doyle, now 77, got 5 percent royalties on each sale, money that paid for the rest of his projects over the years." Using those royalties, Bob Doyle spends his time writing things online.
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Merlin's Magic: The Inside Story of the First Mobile Game

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  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Monday March 03, 2014 @08:45PM (#46392605)

    The Christmas Merlin came out I was enchanted with it - I spent *hours* at the toy store in the mall, playing with the demo unit, learning how to program the music player to play the theme to Star Wars. I got one that Christmas and played with it incessantly. Eventually it ended up in a garage sale but several years ago I tracked down an original one on EBay and continue to play magic square on it to this day. (The original - not the remake.)

    Thanks man.

  • First? (Score:4, Informative)

    by hubie ( 108345 ) on Monday March 03, 2014 @08:59PM (#46392713)
    My sister had the Merlin, but before that I had an LED football game, and I remember an auto racing game as well. I know those predated Merlin, and I'm not sure if the ones I had were "first" either.
  • Re:First touchscreen (Score:5, Informative)

    by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Monday March 03, 2014 @09:11PM (#46392783)
    It also used the Intel 4004 4-bit processor that led to the 8008 and 8080 later.

    Unlike the iPhone, you could replace the batteries. Or take them out to make sure it wasn't spying on you while you slept.

  • wrong processor (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @10:40PM (#46393379)

    It actually used the Texas Instruments TMS-1100, another popular 4-bit microcontroller.

    Kevtris figured out how to dump the ROM from the TMS-1100, making emulation of a bunch of games a possibility (including the Microvision handheld LCD game). http://blog.kevtris.org/blogfiles/TMS1000/

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.