The Mego Star Trek Phaser Battle Game was introduced in 1976. It didn’t last very long on the market. There is a Boscows advertisement from October 24, 1977 found in the Reading Eagle Newspaper that offers this $69.99 game at $24.99. I have several theories for the lack of sustained interest in this game.
For starters the price. Using an Inflation Calculator, $69.99 in 1976 would cost $278.44 in 2012. Approx. $280 to play one game, and not very well. Consider this against an XBox for example.
Secondly, the size. This thing is huge with dimensions approx 13″ x 13″ x 16″. Believe it or not, this was considered to be a handheld or portable game. It does take 6 “D” batteries. According to the instructions, the AC adaptor (No. 51220) is not included. The weight is approx 7 pounds 11 ounces without batteries and then another nearly two pounds for batteries. This has to be the heaviest handheld game ever produced.
If you have ever attempted to play this game, there is no way that it could be played on anything but a flat surface. It is simply to difficult to handle and not very accurate, which leads to a third problem with this game.
Now, I am not very good at video games, I never was. I have a few handheld games from the 1970s and I can hold my own for a few minutes or more. This is not the case with the Mego Star Trek Phaser Battle. To begin the game, press the red button to turn it on. After that press the red fire button once the site is alilgned with the target. If I am lucky, I will get a point. Otherwise, the ship is hit and after a few those, game over. My best is 4 points. There are a couple of other buttons that can be pressed, but there seems to be never any time to press on of them. Again, game over. Simply, boring.
Lastly, the construction. I have had three of these Mego Star Trek Phaser Battle Games. All complete. None fully-operational. Each has it’s own level of functionality. After disecting each of the three units in an attempt to constuct a fully-operational, I quickly discovered that the parts may not all be interchangeable.
The plastic mount for the motor in each of these units were all molded differently to accamodate for the different size motor; two of which have a capacitor attached to them.
Overview of the wiring and motherboard on the back of the screen.
All three motherboards are different with different capacitors, layouts, resistors, and so on. Closeups of all three different motherboards and layouts.
The screen is different. Two of the units have a bubble effect where the Klingon ship is “hidden”. The other screen is completely unique, where the screen is completely flat! Another uniqueness to that flat screen is the clear plastic window has a black border mounted to it, the other two plastic windows are one piece of clear plastic. There are differences in the mounts for the clear plastic. All in all, the units were different enough where I did not attempt to combine any of the working compenents to make for a fully-operational unit.
The compenents themselves could not hold up to the little bit of play that this handheld game could provide. The plastic tabs where the clear plastic window mounts to the screen generally cracked or broke off because of their sharp angles. The clear plastic window would also break off where mounted to the front of the unit at the screw mounts. The motor generally fails.
In the end, for one reason or another, the majority of these Mego Star Trek Phaser Battle Games fail in one function or all.
Of the three, the unit with the black border around the edge of the clear plastic window, with the enlarged motor without the capacitor, the simplified motherboard, and the reinforced plastic mounts for the clear window seems to be a superior build. However, this particular unit doesn’t power up anymore. 🙁
Aside from the general constuction of the unit, the five most desirable pieces are the optional AC adpater, two battery covers (generally missing),
the affixed stickers for the batteries, the box, and the instruction sheet. Of all of these it is a toss up between the battery covers and the instruction sheet, but I can tell that in 2005, after finally tracking down the instruction sheet, I paid $20 for great scans of both sides.