Speaking of handheld games...

I had this one when I was maybe ten or eleven that I traded away from a neighborhood kid. You controlled this missile launcher at the bottom of the screen with a knob that moved it left and right and a button that sent your missile shooting straight up towards the top of the screen.

Enemy aircraft crossed from left to right at different speeds and altitudes. When it died, I cracked it open and was fascinated to see that it was entirely electromechanical: Each flight level of aircraft was a filmstrip that scrolled in a continuous loop. Your missile ran on a vertical track; the "reload" time was how long it took to get the little backlit plastic missile back down to the bottom of the screen.

Given all the monkey motion going on inside that little plastic case, it's a wonder that it survived as long as it did in my hands.



I like supporting local retailers, and there's a little joint called The Game Station that I try to stop by once a month or so, even if it's just to take advantage of their 3-for-$20 DVD wall.

Every time I'm in there, I glance in the case full of handhelds, just to see what's new, since I've been planning on adding to my feeble handheld collection for some time now. (Currently I only have the original Game Boy and the Sega Game Gear.) Yesterday, I noticed that they had a couple of Game Boy Advance units for, like $16 each, and a copy of Eye of the Beholder for $8. Heck, that's almost free! And for an old-school D&D geek like myself, that's a nearly irresistible combination.

Let's see how this thing works...