Tomy Retro Handhelds – LCD, What LCD?

The 70s were great weren’t they? The movies, the hair cuts, the clothes, the music…. Ahh those were the days. Games may have required huge amounts of imagination to suspend disbelief, but once suspended, games were nothing short of amazing (may have gone too far with the ‘amazing’ bit, but you get the picture).

So what do we have here then? Just the closest thing to real sports that Tomy had to offer, that’s what! Tomy Black Racer, and Tomy Basketball. 😀



The Tomy Black Racer (cool name hey?) was released in 1978 to critical acclaim (not sure if there really was critical acclaim by the way), and even though it says “Digital” on the front of it, I don’t think there is much in way of digital internals….

Basically, there are just multiple tapes inside that simulate the road whizzing by, and by changing the gears you make the tapes move either quickly or slowly, thus giving the effect of breakneck speeds (breakneck speeds might be going to far, but it makes for good reading right?).

Although the forward movement of the car is simulated, the track doesn’t exactly have many corners simulated, but you need to steer left and right to avoid the other cars.



*pictured bellow*
I believe that this game may have been the first handheld game to break censorship rules by the simulating enormous amounts of blood when you crash (this could be my supreme 70s child imagination kicking in though). 😀


You will see on the bottom left of the machine there is a lap counter (bit strange considering that you drive in a straight line, but what can you do hey?). The aim is to complete the largest distance in the time allocated. Crashing merely takes up precious time.

And no (before anyone asks), there isn’t force feedback on this bad boy.


Bellow are the instructions. Gotta love the early Japanese manuals. 🙂



Next up we have a Basketball sim that paved the way to classics like NBA Jam (don’t take my word on that one though) – Tomy Basketball. 😀

The interesting thing about this one is that the players do not actually run around, which in many ways gives this game more similarity to Netball instead of Basketball (imagination was/is useful). You basically just pass, defend, and shoot.


The LEDs represent the ball, and you score just like you would in real life (by pressing a button). The crowd screams during tight points, the cheer leaders are blistering hot during the half-time show, and the ref isn’t always fair (imagination working overtime once again), making this the ultimate in handheld basketball!



I’m not actually sure when this one was released, but it definitely sports superior technology than that of the Black Racer. If any of you guys know when this came out, please fill me in so I can add it to the post.



Although it may look like I am poking fun at these two machines, they really are quite fun to play. I would say my pick of the two would be Black Racer, but that’s purely because I’m not a huge basketball fan. Definitely recommended picking them up if you’re into collecting handhelds.


  1. Nice write-up!

    I’m not really into the handhelds, but these older ones do have a certain charm due to their ‘mechanical’ nature.

    Interesting bit of history, and interesting to see some early concepts of video games.

    1. Thanks Frank. 🙂

      There is something cool about the mechanical handhelds. I’m not overly into the handhelds either, so these will probably be sold on. It’s just cool getting to see them up close and have a few games.

  2. Those are pretty awesome Steve, thanks for all the fancy photos 🙂

    BTW, great to see you blogging again! Not that I can say much, I keep on taking big breaks between posts at the moment!!!

    1. It’s not easy to find the time to post, but it’s good to get at least something up. I really want to post about the PCE collection soon though. 😉

  3. Weird I only had a few handhelds as a kid and those were two that I had (US versions) the others were Mattel football II and a pacman clone

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