Skip to Main Navigation Skip to Content
A daily look back at the toys, games, and objects that captured our attention as children and continue to fascinate us today.
Menu

Electronic Detective from Ideal (1980)


Released in 1979, the Electronic Detective game from Ideal required one to four players to match wits against a “fiendish computer brain” to solve an imaginary crime. The game’s micro-computer ran on 6 “AA” batteries and was capable of generating 130,000 different murder mysteries.

Each player takes on the role of a detective assigned to the case. A set of Suspect Cards contains a series of different questions that are used to interrogate potential perps. The computer acts as the suspects and uses its electronic display to reveal clues and answer questions.

Printed Case Fact Sheets allow players to log evidence and track and assess suspects’ alibis. After drilling to micro-computer to get the information they need, players can make an accusation. If the accusation is correct, sirens sound, the suspect is hauled off to the slammer, and the player is declared the winner. If it is incorrect, the computer emits the sound of a gunshot, the player becomes the case’s next victim and is out of the game.

The first player to correctly identify the murder is declared the winner.

To appeal to even the most seasoned investigators, Electronic Detective could be played at three different skill levels, Gumshoe, Sleuth, and Master Detective.

Remember the toys and games of years past through vintage advertising – for better and for worse!