TOY BOX: Jakks Pacific will plug you into the past

In the early 1980s, I worked in a Chicago office complex that had one of the first video arcades.

In the early 1980s, I worked in a Chicago office complex that had one of the first video arcades.

I, along with scores of other young businessmen in our suspender-equipped suits (it was the '80s), could be found crowding the place, playing the likes of Galaga, Galaxian, and Pac-Man. I spent so much time there, my editor at the time joked he would run a phone line into the arcade to reach me. (There were no cell phones in the early '80s - remember.) Now Jakks Pacific has put some of my favorite old video games into ingenious hand-held devices that plug into TV audio and video jacks. Galaga played pretty much as I remembered it, although the joystick seemed to be a bit more sluggish than I recall. Perhaps it's my reflexes that are sluggish, though. These games are fun whether you remember the old days or not. My 15-year-old was thrilled to see Mappy on one test unit - we had it on an old PC when she was little. These make for a great diversion and great gifts for children of all ages. Any suggestions for gadgets we should try? Send them to toybox@prweek.com
  • John N. Frank writes Toy Box. He is the Chicago-based Midwest bureau chief for PRWeek. Price $20 or less Available at Target, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Circuit City, and Urban Outfitters Specs Require AAA alkaline batteries

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