Saturday, October 20, 2007

RETRO TOY FLASHBACK # 67: Computer Perfection (Lakeside; 1979)


In recent months, I've highlighted several electronic games from the pre-video game and classic video game era, including the handheld MERLIN, Lakeside's Electronic Intercept and the ever-popular BLIP - The Digital Game (from Tomy). Today I remember another great electronic game from the groovy 1970s, Lakeside's Electronic Perfection. It is billed on the box as "the ultimate playmate" and the same legend notes "IT PUSHES YOU TO YOUR LIMIT."

Avid TV watchers may recognize Computer Perfection (The Electronic Game!) right off the bat because it appeared in a few genre sci-fi series in the 1970s and early 1980s as a "futuristic" prop. In particular, check out the second season episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century entitled "Mark of the Saurian." Buck is sick with a fever in this installment of the series, and there at his bedside in the Searcher's sick bay is - you guessed it - Computer Perfection. Personally, I remember playing Star Trek make believe with my friends in New Jersey in 1979, and we decided that Computer Perfection was a perfect bridge ornament, the latest variation on Mr. Spock's hooded library viewer.

Anyway, Computer Perfection is a primitive game system by today's standards. The transparent blue dome acts as "an on/off switch," according to the instructions. Once you lift the blue dome, you can select from four games, and choose from three skill levels.

Game One is "Countdown" (a one-player scenario), in which the object is "to light all 10 lights in the proper order, in the least number of moves" (or presses of the blue game buttons).

Game Two is "Black Hole" (also for one player). The object of Black Hole is the same as Countdown, lighting all the lights in the proper order. The difference: if "you press a button already lit, the computer will turn off all the lights that are ahead of that light, plus the light itself." Got it?

Game Three is "Brain Battle." This is a two player game. The player on the left must turn off all the lights starting with number one; the second player must turn all lights on, starting with number six. All right, now I'm confused...

Game Four is "Light Race" in which the object is a "Race" to turn on more than five lights. It is also for two players.

Okay, it's not exactly Resident Evil 4, but this was 1979, all right?

Listed as being suitable for ages "8 to adult", the back of the box notes that Computer Perfection provides "4 unique ELECTRONIC games..Thousands of variations. COMPUTERIZED SHOW of SOUNDS and LIGHTS."

On the back of the box, the game also addresses the player. "GREETINGS, I am COMPUTER PERFECTION," it states, "the ultimate playmate. Probe my memory to discover the electronic clues that will light my lights in the proper order. Do it as quick as you can and I will keep score. Take too long - I will turn you off. Choose a new game every time or ask me to repeat your last game to improve your score."

Computer Perfection, blue dome and all, has a trusty spot on my office display shelf.

2 comments:

  1. When you played with this as a kid, did it really "push you to your limits?"

    I can't remember the last time I was pushed to my limits.

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  2. I'm afraid Computer Perfection didn't really push me to my limits. Sadly, on the entertainment "limits pushing" scale of vintage 1970s electronic games it was somewhat more pushing than Blip and rather less pushing than MERLIN. But it had that neat blue hood!!!

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