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Retro-gaming nostalgia: Grandstand Mini Munchman

Grandstand Mini MunchmanThe Grandstand Mini Munchman was the first electronic toy of any type that I owned. It was certainly one of my most anticipated Christmas presents as a child, and certainly remained one of the most significant in my mind up until I got a Mattell Intellivision a few years later. 1984 was a good year for Munchman.

I still own the same Mini Munchman years later and even without looking I can recall every detail of it. The startup music, the original Toshiba LR44 batteries, the best route I devised for completing each board, and the first time I reached the coveted H-H-H top score, which is what the display shows once you reach 200 points. I think it took me about 3 months to completely master this game, and once learned never forgotten. Even as I play it now in 2010 I know the exact rout to take to reach H-H-H. its incredible it works perfecly after 26 years. Just goes to show how well things were made back then.

Apart from the UK Grandstand packaging and stickers, this is entirely unrelated to the larger Grandstand Munchman. This game was designed and manufactured by Epoch of Japan, unlike the larger Munchman which is Tomy. Much of Grandstand's output was Epoch. I guess this explains where there are less Pacman-like features in this game. Munchman here is an oval smiley face, facing the player. There are no pills, but all fruit instead. The ghosts remain ghosts however. Tomy clearly had access to the Original Namco licence, wheras I suspect Epoch did not.

The game uses an LCD screen and also doubles as a watch, stop-watch and alarm clock. Grandstand also released another Epoch game in the same shaped moulded plastic case, but grey. This game was Crazy Kong. It seemed to me as a child they were much more rare and much less desirable than the Mini Munchman.

Although I took good care of my mini munchman, it's a pity I didn't take a bit more. The instruction manual is missing and the polystyrene packaging still bears the biro marks of where I'd recorded my hi-scores until the point I reached the highest H-H-H. I also covered the back of the machine with some of the Fleer Pac-Man stickers, which I later decided to remove with a knife. Disaster. The chrome finish of the packaging doesn't stand the test of time either, whether looked after or not.

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Grandstand Mini Munchman
Above: The Grandstand Mini Munchman screen right at the start of a game and showing all the fruit.

Grandstand Mini Munchman
Above: My own Grandstand Mini Munchman with its semi-battered case and hi-score recordings in biro on the polystyrene packaging.

Grandstand Mini Munchman
Above: The somewhat abused rear side of my Grandstand Mini Munchman. You can still make out the words
" © 1984 Epoch Co. LTD. Made in Japan. Pat Pend" in the middle, plus the instructions on how to fit the two LR44 batteries.

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