Identify an 80s electronic toy

This may be pushing the limits of Cafe Society, but this is where the “Name the blank” threads usually go…

I had a toy in the early-to-mid 80s that I was nuts about, partly because I was a gadget geek even back then and also because turned off, it could double as a Space Car for my Star Wars dolls… err, action figures, or as a futuristic Space Phone.

It was a red block with a brown bottom. There was a piece at one end that angled down, with four buttons on it that you used to pick your game. Another piece at the other end angled up and held the speaker. In the center block were 9 circular buttons that lit up with red LEDs. It could play Tic-Tac-Toe and a Mastermind type of game, as well as two others that I can’t remember.

Anybody have any idea what I’m talking about?

Merlin, from Parker Brothers.

Great fun.

We had one! You could also play a “Simon” type repeat-the-pattern game, or blackjack, or play tunes on the buttons. The name was MERLIN.

Still got mine,
and it works!

Awesome, thanks guys. It’s been bugging me trying to remember what all the new Roomba beeping reminded me of.

This guy was working on a virtual version of the game, and the site has a lot of pictures and a PDF version of the original manual. Now I’m going to have to see if I can dig up the old thing and see if it still works…

Now what’s driving me nuts is I vaguely remember a “trick” I could do with mine.

I remember a certain pattern of lights (like a backwards “L”) and a warbly beep. I can’t remember if there was anything more to it, or if that was just enough to keep me amused when I was eleven. I also can’t remember how you made it do that. Huh.

Oh, man, thanks for starting this thread, SolGrundy! I’ve been trying to remember what the hell that thing was called for years! I spent many happy hours with this thing as a child. It was my father’s; the elder geek.

Well whaddayaknow…it’s back!

If I recall the jingle correctly, fathers were notorious for sneaking off with Merlin:

HA! That’s cool. I don’t recall ever seeing/hearing any adverts for it, since I was quite young.

Nitpick: Wasn’t Merlin from the 70’s? I didn’t actually have one myself, but two friends had their own. We just recently got one of the re-released ones last year or the year before. It’s far more annoying when the noise is coming from your sons playing with it than yourself.

My friend and I played with ours for hours on end in summer of '79. We were in our mid-twenties. And stoned most of the time. What a great game!! Don’t remember a damn thing about it.

I got both Simon and Merlin for Christmas in 1979.

…and “I Vant To Bite Your Finger” which didn’t hold my attention for nearly as long, for some reason. :smiley:

I got one of those for Christmas around 1981. Loved that thing. I tended to go for weeks without playing, though, because I would spend the better part of an hour punching notes into the Music Machine game, and then didn’t want to turn it off and erase everything. Which meant, of course, that the batteries died pretty quickly. And since (IIRC) it took 8 AA batteries, my parents weren’t overly eager to replace them as often as I would have wanted.

I once convinced my little brother that my Merlin was also a working telephone. He spent a couple of hours one day trying to figure out how it worked.

I’ve still got my Merlin. Works like new.

I also have a Mattel Football and Basketball handheld as well. :smiley:

I have vague memories of something similar, but danged if I can remember it either. It’d be nice if those Dopers who still have theirs would do us the favor of trying out different combinations like the backwards “L” and reporting back what happens.