|Portable, beepish, and difficult to tell what's going on!
That's all part of the experience when you play Sonic the Hedgehog LCD games. Low tech and cheap, they often have black digital-watch stuff over a vaguely colored background that never changes. As technology improves, these things may go extinct, so be sure to collect them now.
|Sonic had quite a selection of mini nonsense games that you could buy for under $20.00. These were sold in the USA, but other countries had some of the same ones. You can view more mini games at SonicGear Collection LCD Sonic Games Page.|
|My LCD Sonic Games||Sonic Gear Main Page|
|This is one of the more common games. A larger Tiger Electronics Sonic 1 inspired piece, with the typical checkered background.
Notice that there's an arrow for jump up, but a button (it's giant!) that makes him spin. A departure from the usual controls. You play as Sonic, who is constantly running, and you must jump and duck to avoid a barrage of Buzzbomber robots who shoot lasers at you. The giant round button labeled "super Sonic spin" allows you to jump in the air and spin attack the Buzzbombers. The game also gives you three lives. Info supplied by: Werehog_93
|Tiger did an LCD game for each of the first 3 Sonic titles on the genesis, so hre's Sonic 2. It looks like possibly Oil Ocean in the background. The button layout is the same as the first game. The art on this one looks slightly more sophisticated. You can also see what it looked like new, in the impossible to open without destroying the box, box. Unfortunately, you can't read any of the text. Credit goes to Juni for the photos of all Tiger Handhelds 1-3.|
|Above photo by WinDOS ExPea|
|Here's the one for Sonic 3, complete with flaming pod-car Eggman stolen off the box art. The background for this one is the famous floor of the "3D" special stage where you went around collecting blue spheres. This one also has a new control-set up, with more buttons. Perhaps this one is more fun to play?|
|The "Amazing Sonic" Pocket Arcade LCD game. This has a 'pop-up' lid to cover the game screen so you could take it with you safely. (there was another Pocket Arcade Sonic with 'flip up lid') You can see the graphics on the back. This card says "Sonic & Robotnick are at it again. The Diabolical Dr. Robotnick has created a robot factory and it's up to Sonic to stop the metal mutants. Sonic works his way through maze-like rooms in an attempt to remove the Chaos Emeralds, the factory's only power source. Team up with Sonic through 12 levels of fast and furious action as he tries to put Dr. Robotnick out of business for good!"
-Get rings to bust thru walls
|Yes, even Sonic Spinball got an LCD game.
Again, by Tiger Electronics, you can see the art that's just about the same as the Spinball box for Genesis. You can't read the little text because the photo is too small. You can sort of see what might be going on, on the screen. How well does it replicate the Sonic Spinball experience? How well do you want it to?
For this one, it's back to two giant buttons, but a more textured case. Likely, the 2 big buttons control the flippers for the pinball action. This one isn't too common.
|The 'not-quite-a-hit' and 'not-quite-3d' Sonic 3D Blast got a fairly complex LCD game, seen here. The case is quite colorful, with 3D styled art from the game including a flicky and an enemy. The background is the typical hilly checkering from the first level. This game seems to require 1 AA battery to run it. The buttons on the right say "Jump, Faster, Slow Roll, and Spin Dash". The presence of a "faster" button seems to indicate it went about as slow as the original 3D Blast game. This game is rather uncommon. Photo discovered by calistine.|
|This is the Sonic Underground LCD game while it was MIB. This shows it was made by Fun Times Games (not Tiger, like many of the others) The art uses Manic and Sonic with their instruments as well as the logo. The arrow that partially covers Manic invites you to pull on the plastic switch which spins the edge of the game and helps it to make a racket. This game is in the SonicGear Personal Collection, and it's reviewed more in-depth at My LCD Games section. Photo discovered by SonicBoy19|
|Here's an interesting LCD game that's based on Sonic Adventure 1. This is rather odd because|
|by the time SA 1 came out, LCDs were mostly becoming even more obsolete then they already were. However,|
|this one IS pretty sophisticated, with joystick, cheat codes, boss rush mode, save codes, and a level based upon each level from the actual SA game. Learn all about it & watch this rare game in action at SA Arcade LCD Youtube! It's 28 minutes of educational footage for you. & many buttons. It's made to resemble an arcade cabinet, but it folds over (shown) for easy carrying. It's decorated with SA1 stock art and logos on all sides. (The red writing on the back says "arcade". This could be found at Wal Mart near the release of Sonic Adventure 1, and was made by Tiger Electronics. ALSO SOLD in the UK area. Photos by: IndigoSonic1992, working photo discovered by MrCalistine. Video discovered by: Jake & shot by Tales of ideath|
|You can see the Sonic 2 Tiger Electronics game above, but this photo has it mint in the package. You can see how they put a plastic overlay over the screen area to give you an example of what the graphics would look like. The back has 4 screen shots and some descriptions of the game play. Photo by Donna M Evans|
|This is the Sonic 3 LCD Hand Held game, as seen above, however, it too is mint in the package. This pack operates about the same way as the one above, with faux screen, 4 shots on the back and some story description. However, this one uses the game box art for the front, instead of just scattered graphics. The right photo shows the booklets & papers that came with the game. Photo by Donna M Evans|
|This is a LCD game set up to look like a watch. This did NOT function as a watch, all it did was play a mini game. Made by Tiger Electronics, these are not too common. The Sonic head is also fragile, so you can find broken ones. From the screen shot, you can see that you could dodge badniks (buzz bomber) had lives, and it kept score. Want to see the manual? It's on SonicRetro. MIP, Screen Shot images by ChickenEater, discovered by PiplupFan77|
|The watch itself is made of hard yellow plastic for the main body and band clip, with a softer yellow plastic for the band and band retainer ring. the 3D image of Sonic is produced in a much softer flexable yellow plastic, and then painted on the outer face only. the painting is fairly good, although on the reviewed item, there was some areas around the right hand where it joined to/became the watch face where the paint wasn't quite up to the line. there are reports that this plastic is fragile and tears easily; it would likely be damaged if someone dug their fingernail into it, but otherwise seems flexable enough to generally remain intact.
The manual shows the watch having five buttons; three coloured ones on the front face, a mode button on the left side which apparently swaps between play and demo, and a sound button on the right (the arrow points to the 3D sonics elbow). however on the reviewed item the sound button was absent altogether, and the mode button was only a slightly raised lump in the chassis casting; also non-functional, suggesting the manual was perhaps printed before the watch design was finalised. the three buttons on the front control Sonics position; back, forward, and jump/start. the speaker is in the back plate, meaning if the plate covering the battery were removed and lost, the game would have no sound. the music itself is typical of most hand held LCD games and amounts to little more than a string of tinny beeps; the tune is perhaps bearable, and beeps whenever one of the buttons is pressed, or if sonic is hit or dies.
Being that it is an LCD game, the 'watch' face doesn't move. it is thus a fairly colourfully painted, slightly metallic factory style scene reminisent of Robotniks base or the Scrap Brain Zone. the actual LCD figures are modelled in good liknesses of the characters. the score and sonics faces (depicting the remaining lives) are drawn in the top left corner.
The badniks and Sonic are slightly animated by virtue of bits of the LCD turning on and off, i.e. Ballhog 'appears' to move his arm, by switching the seperate 'arm' graphic on and off while throwing a grenade. Sonic is thus drawn in a fixed standing pose while on the platforms, and in a fixed spin pose while in the air; due to using several sprites in different positions on the screen while jumping, he appears to jump with feet together and eyes facing upwards in the first sprite, in a spin ball in the second at the apex of the jump, and in a second slightly rotated spin ball in the third on the decent. jumping thus plays all three in order, taking perhaps a second to complete and giving the illusion of motion.
in contrast with most LCD games, the gameplay is actually rather involved, although still very basic by platform standards. sonic stands on one of two platforms while badniks randomly pop onto the screen and depending on the enemy fire at you after a short delay. the rightmost platform is generally reserved only as a place to stand to dodge/avoid fire, as the aerial enemies cannot be attacked from this position, and if enemies such as caterkiller appear while standing there it's instant death. thus 99% of the time the player stands on the left platform.
the manual shows which badnik will turn up in each level, along with how many there are per level; level one sees six of each Buzz Bomber and Batbrain, level two sees nine of both, plus nine ballhogs, stage 3 sees twelve of each plus twelve caterkillers, and level four introduces the orbinaut, with a total of 15 of each badnik.
it should be noted that there is a minor degree of skill when facing the badniks; the Batbrain mostly just sits there waiting to be attacked, while the Buzzbomber fires at the left platform after a short delay. Ballhog appears to the left of the left platform and throws grenades into the area sonic would be in during a jump attack at an aerial enemy; often more than one enemy will be on the screen at the same time, requiring a touch of strategy to defeat them. i.e. Ballhog will fire on Sonic while he's attacking the fliers, who will also shoot at Sonic if he stands on the left platform for too long. caterkiller will often appear if the player is standing on the right platform, but if the player is standing on the left platform when Caterkiller turns up, pressing the right button will attack rather than simply moving to the platform.
Orbinaut turns up with the ring of bombs, however due to the LCD animation limitations these are in a fixed pose; he fires them straight outward (i.e. into the aerial attack space) and the player must wait until after he's fired to attack, or risk injury on the ring, or contact with the fired bomb.
After all the enemies are defeated in each level, Robotnik himself shows up in his eggmobile, again lobbing bombs into the aerial space, which fall towards the left platform; they can be dodged by jumping. Attacking robotnik involves pressing the right button and should be done after the bomb has been jumped, otherwise sonic will usually return to the left platform after the attack while the bomb is still moving through that space. at higher levels (level three onwards), Robotnik also launches flame at the platforms, limiting the time Sonic can attack and forcing him to jump as it passes underneath. four hits to Robotnik sees the good doctor beaten, afterwhich an emerald appears in the aerial space; grabbing it replaces a life and starts the next level.
Unfortunately despite its looks, this item does not function as a watch and cannot tell the time. This is perhaps the only drawback to an otherwise fun item. when not in play, the game acts in demo mode; sonic attacking and occasionally getting hit by random badniks. fortunately the sound remains off in demo mode.
Game Description added by: Lynx Traveller
|This is a rather shifty looking keychain LCD game by Tiger. It's meant to be clipped on and carried with you for fun via the blue plastic cord. This one looks like it's set in Eggmans base, and I'm not really sure what it does. It was really difficult to play and the battery has run out. It was difficult to use because it was always hard to tell what was going on, and what you were supposed to do.
Look at that Sonic face in the corner! What is he?
MIP photo discovered by: PiplupFan77
|This is an LCD game that was supposed to imitate Sonic 3D Blast, but it kind of didn't. Made by Tiger Electronics.|
|Even Sonic R got the LCD game treatment from Tiger Electronics. The game has the CG art from Sonic R around the screen, along with the logo. The clear wavy yellow part is a speaker. You use the buttons to dodge back and forth past tire obstacles, and collect rings. It has the usual static background inspired by one of the real game's tracks and everything appears to scroll toward you. This was made in 1998, and likely released in a month close to Sonic R. Photo & owned by:|
Riding upon a wave of (apparent) nostalgia, Tiger Electronics is somehow back, and, in 2020 makes the decision to re-release their Sonic 3 LCD game. If you scroll up the page, you can see the original one that was released right around the time of Sonic 3 and was supposedly an improvement in game-play over their previous selections.
And...one would hope it is, because this is a TRUE "retro-re-release", meaning that absolutely nothing has changed about the game, and no improvements were made. So it will sound, look & play just like the original to be true to the nostalgia factor. This is a positive for posterity, but is it an over-all good move? Photo discovered by Taaron
No idea if it's a good move. It's neat to see, either way. However, if they're looking to snag "kids today", they'll probably miss because even the most junk game in a mobile phone is going to be 10x better than whatever is inside here. Being alive when Sonic 3 was actually first out, and at an age to be able to play it....maybe you'll get a few, but LCD is reeeeeely out-dated in 2020 so this feels more like a collectible gimmick.
Update it or not? How about a side-by-side release of the original packed in with or mode-switched to an updated version of the game? That might also be pointless--phone games are just so slick, quick to make, and can be actual decent fun if someone's making them properly. Staying 'true to form' to re-create an exact copy of something that's nearly extinct/most are probably old/broken/whatever by now is probably the best bet.