Many people do not realize that Mattel released the first-ever portable gaming device, even before Nintendo released the classic Game Boy.

Mattel Electronic Football was created by Mattel, the iconic toy company known for toys such as Barbie, Hot Wheels and the card game Uno, as a handheld game and it was released in 1977. The game was very simple, with sound effects and an illuminated screen, which was a novelty in the 70s.

Handheld electronic games are miniature versions of video games, and this electronic football was very simple to play. The design of the device integrated a simple set of controls, a screen, and a set of speakers in a portable box. Because the pixels were very small, these types of games could be even smaller. Mattel Electronic Football was about the size of a watch.


The features for this electronic video game included buttons, which were used by the player to move the players across the screen and avoid obstacles that came in the way of the game’s character. There were different versions of football that could be played, one of which was called Football I, and based on the choice made, the design and gameplay could change.

The screen was made of LED lights and pixelated dots. Additionally, the display had lines to represent a football camp. The player could use a combination of buttons to make the character do different moves like go up or down, move side-to-side, or kick. You were also able to check the progress of the player by pressing the button to show the score or status.

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Mattel enjoyed a great deal of success with the release of this electronic game device. The following year, the company released a new line to continue its football gaming products.

Even though these games have been discontinued, they are still considered a treasure for being the first electronic video games before the console era.

Image courtesy of tintoyarcade.

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