1978: Parker Bros. Merlin Computer Toy
Milestone: Early mass-market computer toy
Legacy: It may have been a toy, but the Parker Bros. Merlin was one of the earliest portable computers that many children growing up in the late '70s and early '80s encountered. The device had a simple microprocessor and could play six different games: Tic-Tac-Toe, Echo, Blackjack, Magic Square, Mindbender, and Music Machine. The last game provided the device with limited programmability, allowing you to input up to 48 tones and rests and have the computer play back your composition.
The same year that Merlin debuted, another computer toy, Milton Bradley's Simon, appeared for the first time. Simon was #38 on PCWorld's list of the 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years.
Photo: Courtesy of Retroland