If you grew up in the ’90s and really wanted a Game Boy but your parents couldn’t afford one or were worried about it rotting your brain, there was an obvious consolation prize: Tiger Electronics LCD games. Each one had a monochrome LCD screen, two buttons and a D-pad, and the worst, tinniest music you’d ever heard. And even though they were clearly a step down from cartridge-based systems, they still took up countless hours of free time in the era before everyone had a computer.
And now, they’re back. Hasbro acquired Tiger Electronics in 1998, and it’s betting that there’s enough millennial nostalgia out there to make a reboot of Tiger Electronics games a success in 2020. Announced yesterday, the company is officially unveiling four new versions of the game at this weekend’s Toy Fair:
- Sonic the Hedgehog 3
- Disney’s Little Mermaid
- Marvel X-Men Project X
- Transformers Generation 2
All four are available for pre-order from GameStop today for just $14.99. They will ship this fall on a date that has yet to be announced.
And these four titles, all based on old titles, are just a drop in the bucket of what could be. Part of the appeal of Tiger games was the sheer variety of available titles. An authoritative list doesn’t appear to exist online, but this one has 169 different titles that truly run the gamut.
There are a good number of games inspired by sports, board games, card games, and, for some reason, Tic Tac Toe, but the majority of these games were licensed. The full list is a snapshot of what pop culture was during this era, as seemingly every major franchise inspired a Tiger Electronics game or 12.
Sesame Street, My Little Pony, Care Bears, Friday the 13th, Mickey Mouse, Top Gun, Star Wars, Duck Tales, The Simpsons, Ren & Stimpy, Star Trek, and Dragon Ball Z all made it to the format, and that honestly just scratches the surface. There were even simplified versions of video games from Nintendo and Sega. Hopefully, the second iteration of these toys eventually has a similarly impressive collection of titles.
And yeah, these things aren’t going to replace your smartphone or Nintendo Switch, but there’s something refreshing about a device that just does one thing, particularly when it was the kind of thing you would have once been psyched to unwrap on Christmas Day (even if it wasn’t a Game Boy).