Tiger Electronics thought they really had the video game market cornered in the early 1990s, didn’t they?
Tiger Electronics knew affordable video games targeted at the under twelve market the way Bo knew Baseball and Football…or so they thought.
While it may seem a bit misguided that digital watch-type images on a static screen boasting licensed characters and various sports were equally at home with more expensive video game consoles and games, Tiger Electronics’ heart was in the right place (or so it would seem – this list just screams “Cash grab!”). My brother had a few of these when we were kids (about eight years old) – baseball, football, and he even had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles handheld (made by Konami, and not Tiger Electronics) that was green and long, not all like the Tiger Electronics games with their square and simple white (with some color variations, based on the game itself) casing.
Tiger had a handheld for everything – Double Dragon, Mortal Kombat, every licensed character that was relevant in the early 1990s, Disney characters, and even sports.
They also had Full House.
I don’t make this stuff up. Electronic Full House really exists.
The sports were among the earliest, and while there were several, I have commercials for two of them. Well, three, but that will be tomorrow. Today, we’ll focus on the sports-related Tiger handheld games.
So, the year is 1990, and Children’s Palace/Child World has put out a video wish list/marketing ploy during one of their final years(and considerably worst performing, aside from the year they went out of business, of course), which was chock full of advertisements for toys kids would want to have, including both Nintendo and Tiger handheld games. All in the same video.
There were two different spots – one that cashed in on the popularity of “Bo knows”…
…with a two-in-one handheld that capitalized on Bo Jackson’s two-sport career. Remember the whole “Bo knows” thing? Bo Jackson played for the Los Angeles Raiders between 1987 and 1991 (a hip injury ended his football career), and for several Major League Baseball teams – Kansas City Royals from 1986 until 1990, Chicago White Sox in 1991 and 1993 (he missed the 1992 season due to hip replacement surgery), and the California Angels in 1994, before choosing to retire early following the season-ending Major League Baseball strike in 1994 and 1995.
And now, he plays for you!
And the other on giving a voice to games where there really wasn’t one.
Like seriously, an actual voice.
Since both commercials came from the Video Toy Chest, they had lead-in segments to each commercial, and I felt it was important to include them.
Not like they’re the greatest things you’ll ever see, but what they lead up to was 90s gold!
The commercials really made these LCD games look good, didn’t they?
That’s marketing magic!
Tiger Electronics’ biggest cash cow of the 1990s was these handheld LCD games. As a smaller company, Tiger was able to acquire licenses rather quickly. This allowed them to release the games at the peak of a licensed property’s popularity. Their cost (about $20 each) helped as well, and were mainly targeted to children ages 5 to 12, who were often too young for more complex video games of the time.
I’m pretty sure they got that part wrong, since most (ok, probably all of these) of these games lost their appeal by the age of ten. The diverse collection appealed to boys and girls, and the fun kept on rolling right through the late 1990s. Probably because by that point, people wizened up to Tiger’s paltry attempt at video games, and went on to play something…not so limited.
But hey, in 1990, these really were kind of cool.
Tomorrow, another Tiger Electronic handheld game, but with a licensed property flair.
Until then, have a great Throwback Thursday!