My #FlashbackFriday Is Smart! He’s A Computer!”

He teaches me lots of things, but doesn’t do what I really need him to do!

Educational toys have come a long way since I was little.  Talking dolls – we had Teddy Ruxpin, and I had Cricket – taught us different lessons and morals through their stories and programs.  For example, when I was five years old, I learned how to count to three in Spanish, French, and Chinese through Around the World With Cricket.  When I watched the animated videos a few years ago, I realized I’d never forgotten that song!


We say one, in Chinese, it’s Ya.  We say two, in Chinese, it’s Ye.  We say three, in Chinese, it’s Sun.  Ya, Ye, SUN!  And if you’re not singing it loudly, you’re not doing it right!

Aside from the semi-educational benefit of having talking toys, my brother and I had a computer-type toy made by V-Tech called Smart Start.

Image: eBay

The “computer” worked well alone, since it had music and activity buttons, but we had the books to go with it as well.  Even before we were able to read, we could still play with this toy.  We kept it around for quite a few years, even after we outgrew it, since it looked like a computer and was great as a “cash register” or computer for when we played office.

Yes, we played office.

As computers were becoming a part of home entertainment and learning, child-friendly versions were also made for the littlest of hands and minds.  One of those was today’s toy, from 1985.

I guess you can say that this computer is “Smart.”


In fact, that’s this computer’s name.

It’s name is SMART.

Not the most creative name, but it strives to live up to that name!

In this commercial, find out what SMART can – and can’t – do for our young spokeswoman!

So, moral of the story – Numbers, letters, and reading can be done, but household chores…not so much.


Some SMART item.


SMART was manufactured by Japanese company Combi in 1985 as a kid-friendly computer that “never forgets it is a toy.”  The friendly face lights up and shakes its head “yes” and “no” based on your responses.

Screenshot (228)
Image: Google

In the United States, the toy was manufactured by Combi, and in Canada, it was manufactured by Irwin Toys.

Image: eBay

There isn’t a whole lot about this toy online, aside from eBay listings and pictures of advertisements.  Seems fairly obscure – cute, but obscure.  Definitely has some learning value, but definitely was in a competitive market of computer-type toys.  Since VCR-based games (like VideoSmarts) and slightly more high-tech teaching toys were on the horizon, SMART probably didn’t stand a chance.

I actually had never heard of this before I found this commercial in my collection.  I think it looks cute, but I loved my V-Tech Smart Start, and nothing would have compared to it.

That also did alot of things, but room upkeep was not one of them.


Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!

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