In our first Hallo-weekend post, we’ll be looking at the Tales from the Cryptkeeper LCD handheld game, made by Micro Games in 1994. I paid a buck for this in our local thrift store.
It’s hard to believe in this era of smartphones and incredibly sophisticated consoles, but handheld video games were a big deal in the 1980’s! Before technology allowed video games the portability they began to enjoy in the mid Nineties, these simple toys utilized “liquid crystal displays” to give players a video game like experience. Designed something like a cartoon, the LCD screen featured a number of printed images that worked in tandem with one another to replicate movement based on user interface. In other words, it was as low-fi as a video game could get and still be considered a game.
Despite their limitations, handheld LCD games remained quite popular even after more sophisticated handheld consoles like Nintendo’s GameBoy and Sega’s Game Gear opened the market. LCD games were far cheaper than a GameBoy cartridge and like I said… most gamers were, if not contented by the limited game play, they were at least somewhat mollified. I also think one of the keys to the LCD handheld’s continued success after their day had come and gone was branding. Every TV show, movie, and video game worth a damn had a dedicated LCD game on the shelves. For some properties, this was a natural progression – as a kid, I owned a Tiger Electronics’ Batman game based on the ’89 movie I loved, as well as several others.
The game we’re going to be looking at today is an adaptation of Tales from the Cryptkeeper, an animated series based on the HBO original series Tales from the Crypt… which itself was an adaptation of the famous horror title published by EC Comics in the 1950’s.