I was in Target recently, and I noticed a lot of retro-gaming products. Nintendo has half an aisle dedicated to its apparel. I found a stack of Arcade1Up’s excellent cabinets ready to go. And then I saw handheld adaptations of classics like Pac-Man and Galaga. Target must think these products have a market. And Hasbro agrees, which is why it is bringing back its classic Tiger Electronics LCD video game systems.
Hasbro revealed today that it’s bringing back the simple handheld games that Millennials might remember from their childhoods. These games include Disney’s Little Mermaid, Sonic The Hedgehog 3, and more. They will launch in the fall for $15 each.
These are not updates or new iterations on the Tiger Electronics handheld. Hasbro is, instead, reissuing the original games as they were in the 1990s. The expectation is that nostalgic shoppers may pick them up as holiday gifts or as a way to share memories with their kids.
Who are these Tiger Electronics handhelds for?
Tiger’s handhelds are emblematic of a specific time in gaming. While Game Boy launched in 1989 in the United States, it was still $90. Games were available separately for $30 a piece. The Tiger handhelds provided an inexpensive way to get a kid a Transformers game without having to go all in on Nintendo.
Tiger’s devices also had the advantage of prominent and attractive artwork. It was like the Pepsi Challenge. If you have to choose a Game Boy game or a Tiger game at a glance, the Tiger game just looks cooler.
Of course, even in the ’90s, the games themselves were too simple and often boring. That’s likely still the case. At the same time, it’s not like things have improved a ton. While companies like MyArcade make tiny emulator cabinet replicas, you can still find cheap LCDs that use a very similar technology to what Tiger was doing in the ’90s.
The Pac-Man game I saw at Target is a good example of that. It looks like junk.
But you made do when all you had on a road trip was Tiger’s X-Men Project X. And now, you’ll make do trying to recapture how those road trips made you feel.