My room was where batteries went to die. Nearly everything I owned required tons of them, and since my Dad’s favorite place to get them was Radio Shack, I needed a constant supply. When Merlin came along and required 6 AAs all by itself, I’m sure my parents regretted this Christmas present.
Merlin was innovative in that it played six different games! Since most of these devices were single-purpose, it was a boon except that the games it played weren’t that great. Tic-Tac-Toe is going to get crossed off the list pretty quickly, and the Magic Square game got “solved” before too long as well. Still, it could make music and looked really cool.
But then my eye wandered, and in the display case at the drug store I saw this:
Split Second was a sleeker, sexier version of Merlin, with more LEDs and better games. What’s more, the games were timed, so you could keep trying to beat your own score at them. I had to have this, but of course my folks were not as keen on it. I eventually got it, and I’m pretty sure this was a case of me saving up or spending birthday money or something. Once I got Split Second, Merlin was a distant memory. especially since Split Second ALSO wanted 6 AA batteries.
When did I get it? Merlin came out in 1978. Maybe I got it that Christmas? Split Second is from 1980, but I have no idea when I got it.
Do I still have it? Neither one. I went through a phase where I was “interested in electronics” which consisted of taking apart my electronic toys and then not learning how they worked.