Mattel LED/LCD Games (Mattel)

What is LED?

A light-emitting-diode (LED),is a semiconductor diode that emits light when an electric current is applied in the forward direction of the device, as in the simple LED circuit. The effect is a form of electroluminescence where incoherent and narrow-spectrum light is emitted from the p-n junction in a solid state material.

LEDs are widely used as indicator lights on electronic devices and increasingly in higher power applications such as flashlights and area lighting. An LED is usually a small area (less than 1 mm2) light source, often with optics added directly on top of the chip to shape its radiation pattern and assist in reflection. The color of the emitted light depends on the composition and condition of the semiconducting material used, and can be infrared, visible, or ultraviolet. Besides lighting, interesting applications include using UV-LEDs for sterilization of water and disinfection of devices, and as a grow light to enhance photosynthesis in plants.

If you recall, a little while ago (okay, a long while ago) I did a post on Nintendo Game N' Watch. At the time, I proclaimed it to be the "grandfather" of handheld gaming. Not true. Not only did Mattel beat Nintendo to the world of handheld gaming, they did it by about three years.

Mattel was originally founded by Harold Matson and Elliot Handler who created the name 'Mattel' from the beginnings of their last and first names. The company started out selling picture frames out of a garage workshop in 1945. Elliot started a side business of selling doll house furniture from the scraps of wood from the picture frames, and with the success of the doll furniture, the emphasis was turned to toys. Mattel started making electronic games in 1976 with the handheld Auto Race (1977) game (which lived only a short time), and soon followed by Football and Missile Attack. Since then, Mattel has been re-releasing several of their classic games in various packaging over the years.

Below is every single Mattel handheld game (in it's original released format) known to be in existence in the United States. There several other titles were released only to other Countries which are not included. I have tried to group each set of games by style and release period, not necessarily in chronological order.

Auto Race



Basketball 2



Football 2

Missle Attack

Ski Slalom


Soccer 2

Armor Battle

Battlestar Galactica (AKA Space Alert)


Mind Boggler

Sub Chase


Funtronics Jacks

Funtronics Red Light Green Light

Funtronics Tag

Funtronics Hot Wheels Drag Race

Brain Baffler

World Championship Baseball

World Championship Football

Look Alive Football

What is LCD?

A liquid crystal display (LCD) is an electronically-modulated optical device shaped into a thin, flat panel made up of any number of color or monochrome pixels filled with liquid crystals and arrayed in front of a light source (backlight) or reflector. It is often utilized in battery-powered electronic devices because it uses very small amounts of electric power.

A comprehensive classification of the various types and electro-optical modes of LCDs is provided in the article LCD classification.

As technology came of age, Mattel switched from its "primitive" line of LED games to produce more complex LCD games. LCD would allow game developers to produce a technically advanced type of game, and even simulate (laugh) real movement...Okay, it was hot for its time...

If anything, LCD games showed the world that AI in the gaming world had a lot more potential than original conceived.

Computer Back Gammon

Computer Chess (Dig that crazy hair!)

Computer Gin

Star Hawk

Ultra Dome

Speed Freak

Armor Attack


Guttang Gottong

Dungeons And Dragons

Competition Football

Long Bomb Football

Burger Time

Masters Of The Universe

Since Mattel's initial LCD games, several other companies have gotten their hands in this type of gaming production as well. The famous Nintendo, Tiger, Bandai and an even larger list of companies that have come and gone overnight. Needless-to-say, if LED and LCD games are your thing, you've got an almost unlimited array of choices.

I hope you have enjoyed this look at the beginning world of handheld games and hope you'll join me next time for the meat and taters portion of the fabulous handheld gaming world.

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