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Complete set of 3 yellow boxed "Thumb Power" Masudaya LCD handheld games imported from Japan in 1982. Some interesting gaming history here... 

In 1982 Thumb Power was one of the first American companies (from Silicon Valley of course) to import LCD handheld electronic games. Around the same time Palmtex (notice similar company naming pun - games for the "palm" of your hand) began importing the VTech tri-screen games while Mego and Micro Games USA imported Nintendo Game & Watches (Palmtex somehow lost its Nintendo contract). Thumb Power was clever in trying to point to your thumbs as being the unique characteristic of these types of handheld video games, so different from arcade and console control schemes. Nintendo's Gunpei Yokoi invented the "D-pad" for the Donkey Kong Game & Watch also in 1982 which of course was later used for the Famicom/NES controller and then a trillion other game controllers since then.

So in 1982 Thumb Power began selling games in stores across the US, and for the big Christmas issue of the awesome "Electronic Games" magazine they placed a full page ad showcasing this Kitchen game and declaring 8 different Masudaya LCD games available. The advertisement (not included in this lot but fairly easy to find) contains some terrible thumb puns and is somewhat notorious for showing many cartoon faced thumbs in what has been described by one blogger as a swingers orgy.

"Liquid Crystal pocket-sized Thumb Games are the perfect recreation for those forgotten fifth digits. Dare your dexterity with any one of eight thumb-thrilling mini-arcade classics. Hands-on therapy for appendages of all ages, complete with a digital clock for those who never have enough time. You'll probably start wishing you were all thumbs. Thumb Games by Masudaya, are exclusively distributed by Thumb Power. Available at fine stores everywhere."

Nearly all the games sold would have been distributed to stores in the standard English Masudaya boxes because they didn't make specially branded Thumb Power boxes. However this vintage lot demonstrates for the first time that if you contacted them (their address and phone was shown in that magazine ad) you could have ordered the games directly and these came with a "Thumb Power" sticker affixed to the side of box. How many people would have mail-ordered these games, and how many would have kept them in mint condition and left the sticker on it? Nearly zero which is why now in 2018 these are the first known examples. Not much is known about the obscure Thumb Power, they likely went out of business a year or so later during the 1984 video game industry meltdown.

The previous owner of these games was a maker of carnival skill games and he called Thumb Power on the phone shortly after seeing the Christmas Electronic Games 1982 issue, and ordered all 8 Masudaya game titles available. The original packing slip included here shows the 8 games were ordered verbally and was shipped COD (cash on delivery) by UPS on 11-22-1982. Each of the 3 games included here Grassland, Pipeline, and Kitchen were originally $18, and make up a complete mini-series as shown on the reverse side of boxes. (the other 5 games available had slightly different features and came in blue/green colored boxes). The owner seems to have played these games only a couple times, perhaps searching for new ideas he could incorporate into his company's wooden carnival games. So all 3 games are in beautiful condition and complete in box with Thumb Power sticker on the side, plastic tray, instructions booklet, baggie and mint condition game. The games were tested and the screens are strong and everything still works great. 

A special one-of-a-kind video game lot in clean, museum quality condition. Item will be packaged very carefully with many layers of protection in a priority insured, signature-required package.

Thumb Power Lot of 3 LCD Handheld Masudaya Games New Old Stock

Estimated Value: $600.00

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