Tomy Sky Attack
Tomy 3D Sky Attack
They would go under the 'Tomytronic' moniker.
The Tomytronic range was a series of portable handheld games released during the 1980s by Takara Tomy Co.
The devices resembled a pair of binoculars (as in you looked through two eyepieces to play the game) and also featured a strap so the player would be able to wear it round his or her neck in between games.
These games were quite remarkable at the time - simulating 3D perspective by having two LED panels that were lit by external light through a plastic 'window' on topmost part of the unit.
Tomy 3D Sky Attck
Sky Attack - The ultimate in gaming realism...
Back in the old days (the early 1980s!), and we're pre-GameBoy here, the only way to get your handheld gaming fix was from Nintendo's Game & Watch games, or from electronic table top arcaders such as Astro Wars and Astro Blaster.
By the mid 1980s there was a glut of similar games, and the technology was losing ground to the home computer sector as people turned to the likes of the home computer market (where in the UK ZX Spectrum Games and Amiga Games became incredibly popular).
So, how did Tomy make a product that stood out from the rest of the crowd?
With perhaps the greatest ever gimmick created in the hand-held genre!
It looked cool - and so did you
Tomy Gaming Prestige...
This game (and most by Tomytronic) were at the time, the ultimate in school-yard prestige.
They generally cost more than other hand held games and you almost felt like you were Luke Skywalker looking through his groovy electro-binoculars at a bunch of tusken raiders.
Until you realised that Han was way cooler that is.
The neckstrap meant that you never had to physically put the unit down in between games, and you imagined that you looked remarkably good wearing this futuristic device anyway.
The design of the casing was, at the time, just as exciting as the game itself.
The bino-game was very, VERY futuristic, and people wondered just what the hell you were looking at!
Well, as it happened you were looking at the ultimate in 3D graphics, the "bino's" drawing you into a whole new virtual reality.
Those 3D Glowing Graphics...
3D Sky Attack - Gameplay
In this 3D game, you had to control a tank like vehicle and defend it against maurauding aliens who swept across the sky towards you.
These 'sky attackers' dropped bombs down towards your tank - and you had to evade destruction and take those pesky bad guys out!
You had three 'lanes' in which you could sit as the 3D action relentlessley rolled towards you. You had to switch between left, middle and right to avoid the bombs whilst elevating your gun upwards to take those bad guys out!
As the game progressed the nasties grew larger in number and the speed of play increased.
The style of the game was very much rendered by glowing wire-frame graphics, and the LED glow really resembled the famous movie TRON.
The more light that came in through the 'window', the better the glow. On a really bright day you almost reached ready-brek luminescent proportions, that was until some prankster held their hand over the light gathering window...
The usual game features were there, extra lives on a certain score, more bad guys to contend with the further you went, high score...
There was no end to the game - you kept going until all of your lives were lost. Not to worry though, you would be straight back onto it for another go.
If you played it long enough you'd still be seeing wire-frame ships and tanks whilst you were sitting eating your dinner.
Sky Attack In Action
Sky Attack Inside And Out
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The Tomytronic range really were a wonder at the time.
Original examples in the original box fetch a good price these days - they are true Vintage Classic Toys from the bygone golden era of hand held gaming - especially hand held 3D gaming.
Sky Attack was one of the most popular games in the Tomy series and is a true classic of the genre.
Just don't try playing it in the dark without a torch handy...