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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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  • Re:WOW (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @10:33PM (#46393325)

    ohmygod. Merlin. Absolutely my favorite childhood toy, hands down.

    On Christmas 1979, my parents thought it would be cute to hide it so I'd think I didn't get one. Apparently, they were under the belief that it would somehow make me show more interest in my other gifts. In reality, it had the opposite effect... convinced I didn't get one because there was nothing under the tree whose box was even plausibly the right size and weight, I was *miserable* at dinner on Christmas Eve, and went through 10 minutes of ritualistically and mechanically opening gifts with zero enthusiasm or joy before they "remembered" that they "forgot to bring out one of the gifts". The rest of the evening was quite happy, and Merlin was a constant part of my life until I got my Atari 2600 for Christmas in 1980.

  • Beep BOOP (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @12:08AM (#46393839)
    In the spring of 1980 we went on a family roadtrip from Vancouver to Disneyland.

    (Contrary to popular opinion, back in the day airfares were very expensive so many family vacations were car trips. But I digress).

    The Merlin in the backseat entertained we three kids for hours. My dad made one modification before we left: He installed an earphone jack so my parents didn't have to listen to 50+ hours of infernal beeps and boops.

    Amazing machine.
  • Re:First? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @05:53AM (#46394853)

    That was one masterpiece of analog electronic game design. I had one, it was lots of fun!

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.