Mattel Electronics Football

Mattel Electronics Football

Synopsis of Toy

For the true football-crazed kid, there were only three things wrong with the world: 1) The NFL season only lasted five months of the year, 2) You couldn’t play football indoors (well, you could, but it was probably a bad idea), and 3) You needed at least three or four other kids for a good game, so if you happened to live in a neighborhood full of sissies who wouldn’t play in the dark, rain, or snow, then tough luck. There wasn’t much Mattel could do about number 1, but they sure took a big chunk out of numbers 2 and 3.

Mattel Electronics’ Football was part of the company’s foray into the world of electronic games, a move that would include the Intellivision a few years later. This 1977 hand-held may not have had the variety or the graphics of that later system, but it did have little red LED lights, ample thumb controls and enough football action to keep young “Mean” Joe Greene wannabes happy into the late hours of the night.

The rules followed pro football pretty closely: four downs, ten yards for a first down, etc. Once the opposing team kicked off, you used the three movement buttons—up, down, and left/right (depending on which end zone was yours)—to work your way down the field. No passing plays were allowed, but there was a “Kick” button. Separate “Score” and “Status” buttons let you keep track of how the game was going, and a switch at the bottom of the control panel toggled between difficulty levels.

Both levels were strictly two-player affairs (competitors handed off the unit when the other team took control of the ball), but when there were no fellow humans to be found, junior Mattel Electronics Football League players simply took charge of both teams. Competition was intense, and even though deep down you knew the insides were just circuitry and plastic, you could swear the thing knew it was cheating you out of that perfect kickoff return for a touchdown.

Football was a rousing success, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t room for improvement. One year later, Mattel Electronics unveiled Football II, which added one all-important button: “Pass.” With this new freedom of play choice, Football II was another Hall of Famer for Mattel Electronics. The company also released a flurry of other hand-held sports games in 1978, from Baseball to Hockey to Basketball to Soccer.

Kid sports junkies were ecstatic, but Mattel Electronics soon dropped the line in favor of true video games on the Intellivision. Hand-held games survived in the hands of Coleco, Tiger and others, but the days of LED running backs, painted-on hash marks and push-button gridiron glory had given way to the juggernaut that was the video age.

Release History of Toy

1977 - Football
1978 - Football II
1978 - Baseball
1978 - Basketball
1978 - Hockey
1978 - Soccer

Sub Categories of Toys

electronic games

Toy and Game Manufacturer


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