Here be four bits of dragons: the Mattel Dungeons & Dragons Computer Labyrinth Game and the TMS1100

This is the bigger, more deluxe of the two Mattel dedicated D&D games (the Intellivision of course had its own set, and we had a Tandyvision ourselves), the other being the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS™ Computer Fantasy Game. That was a handheld unit with a surprisingly compelling implementation of Hunt the Wumpus, and something we might talk about another time. This one is more like a board game, but with a computer antagonist and audio.

The box says copyright 1980 but I think we got it late 1982 or early 1983. Either way, I was probably too young for this game at the time: it advertises 8 and up, and I would have been around six or so. It requires you to juggle a number of different audio signals and build up the maze and the objects in it (you, your competitor, the dragon, the treasure, your lifeless defiled corpses when you try to get the treasure, etc.). My recollection is that we barely played it at all.

Well, better late than never. And hey: let’s find out what makes it tick. (Teaser: it’s four bits and we have an annotated die photo. Read on.)

And read on you should – if you’re into amazingly detailed looks into children’s toys from the late ’70s/early ’80s based on 4 bit chips, that is.

And you are, aren’t you?