Diary - Electronics - Essays - Other Writing - Cartoons - Paintings - Photo Album - World War II - Etc

Hit And Missile

In several places, B. D. (directly or indirectly) mentions Hit and Missile, a "video game" I had in the late 1970s. I have discovered this game was released in 1979 (by Tomy), so I must have gotten one that year. I had it before moving to Hendersonville. I remember that B. D. had one of his own, because there were two in Hendersonville.

The game is curious because it predates digital videogames. All of the parts were analogue, a series of gears and mechanical parts. Although the game was from the time of transistors, it had no solid-state parts. (Because it was a state-based mechanical system, you could turn it off at any point and when it was turned back on, it would resume at exactly that point.)

(this image was found on the Internet)

The duration of a game was set by a timer. (Since this was mechanical, one could prolong the game by winding it backwards.) The player had controls which could position a missile launcher to the right or to the left, and a (big red) button to launch the missile. While in flight, the missile could be guided to the right or left. Only one missile could be in use at a time. The missile moved with agonizing slowness relative to the speed of its targets.

The targets were two lines of images, of helicopters and airplanes respectively. The helicopters were slow and easy to hit, and the airplanes faster and harder (and worth more points). Somehow, the game could tell mechanically when the missile moved under the pictures of the targets, and would show a hit. The score was kept by an analogue counter. The game had sound effects. It was battery powered (at least two C or D cells, which is a large, and therefore longer lasting, battery for a handheld device), and made a lot of noise as the gears turned.

The missile moved more slowly than the airplanes, which were always equidistant and came at predictable times, so skill with the game came from knowing when to launch the missiles. After a while, it was fairly easy to know when to shoot at which targets. The rigid mechanical construction of this game meant that it was predictable, and, as I remember, the fun wore off.

Unfortunately, I do not still have this curious analogue video game.

About B. D. McKay