Mechanical games

Talk about all aspect of Japanese games.

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Mechanical games

Postby Macaw » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:27 pm

Kinda always been interested in these. Pretty much the only toys marketed to kids that are still completely fascinating as an adult. Beyond all the usual sports games that are completely mechanical (most being baseball and such) I think the coolest are the ones where you have to guide a ball through a kind of obstacle course.

They got most mainstream popularity when Tomy released Athletic Land in 1979. Vid: Atheltic Land was released under heaps of different names in overseas countries and continued to be remade or repackaged under a different theme for decades after.

Tomy followed this up in about 1982 with 'Kong Man' which was even more ingeniously designed than Athletic Land. This too was later repackaged in following years with a Takeshi's Castle theme, heres a vid of that version:

In the same year Yonezawa jumped in and made their own mechanical ball game with a Ninja Hattori Kun theme. Vid here: This one was more advanced again than Athletic Land but not quite as awesome as Kong Man. This Yonezawa game was also repackaged in later years with a theme based of some Samurai manga or drama show I don't know the name of.

In the early 80's Epoch also came up with games in the genre inspired by Athletic Land. First was this and then later a game called Athletic Race that allowed for 2 people to race simultaneous. Pic here: ... 1324820623

In addition to these 'big' games, Tomy had a series of handheld mechanical games called Pocket Mate, which included miniature versions of stuff similar to the ball obstacle course design, along with lots of other stuff. Over 100 of these were made, heres a list: ... -index.htm

Apart from these I haven't really found any others, but in recent years there have been some mario themed games such as this 2 player one based off mario kart: and also this which is a single player one with a quite ingenious design of having different 'worlds' you go through which the machine pans around to show as you get to each one. Unfortunately its design doesn't look anywhere near as fun as the 80's stuff, and the stickers with mario 64 art plastered all over it makes it look ugly and cheap.

Anyone else ever know about this stuff, or know about other similar games?
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Re: Mechanical games

Postby Gaijin Punch » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:52 pm

Based on video games? None at the moment. As a father though, I can tell you this stuff is mesmerizing for a child, which is pretty awesome when you need to do something important like take a shit.

Tomica I believe are "the brand" when it comes to making these. My son, who admittedly has Aspbergers and really gets into the nitty gritty of just about anything, would watch the DVD that accompanied his car set. Of course, the DVD was nothing but an hour of commercials. :| Of course, all the sets have interchangeable parts, so the idea is to build a full replica of Tokyo in your living room. Haha.
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Re: Mechanical games

Postby Pretas » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:08 pm

Reminds me of when "playing Mouse Trap" as a kid meant setting up the trap over and over while ignoring the worthless board game attached to it.
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