Pocket Games from TOMY (1975)

Company: TOMY | Release date: 1975 | Where to purchase: eBay

“A barrel of fun in a pocket-size package!”

Before battery-powered, hand-held games became de rigueur, TOMY released a line of non-electronic Pocket Games in the US for ages five and up.

Small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, each game employed some variant of a wind-up or spring-loaded mechanism to challenge players. A big part of each Pocket Game’s appeal was its simplicity and the fact that it was entirely self-contained, meaning no missing pieces or lengthy learning curve.

TOMY’s initial release of the line in 1975 included six games: Pocket Pinball, Pocket Basketball, Pocket Pachinko, Pocket Raceway, Pocket Basketball, and Pocket Soccer. Sales success led to TOMY adding two new gaming options in 1977 (Time’s Up and Turn ‘n Tilt) before the line saw a considerable increase to 24 different games in 1978. The company continued to iterate and add new Pocket Games through the mid-1980s.

One of the eye-catching visual cues for a cache of Pocket Games for sale on store shelves was its unique “blue denim pocket design,” which was patterned after a shirt pocket.

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