If you made it through the entire series of Book of Boba Fett, you were treated to a terrible finale and a two-episode narrative diversion that derailed the entire premise of this being a show about Boba Fett. Enjoy! You also, however, caught a glimpse of a very cool, very old piece of video game hardware.
There’s a scene in the final episode where David Pasquesi’s character — did he ever get a name, or was he just the majordomo? — has to use a bulky handheld device. At first glance it looks right at home in the Star Wars universe, with its design looking exactly like something that would belong in a series had its visual identity laid out between 1977-83.
What’s cool here, though, is that it’s not a wholly custom piece designed to recreate the era’s design hallmarks, but, as Digital Eclipse’s Mike Mika quickly realised, a kitbashed Coleco Bowlatronic:
Had I not just BOUGHT a Coleco Bowlatronic, I wouldn't have had my Leonardo DiCaprio moment watching Book of Boba Fett. pic.twitter.com/oH9ILJF12m— Mike Mika (@MikeJMika) February 10, 2022
While the majordomo is holding the Star Wars version in his hands as a big-arse tablet, the Bowlatronic was actually a tabletop device first released in 1981, and tried — as close as the technology of the time allowed — to simulate the sport/pastime of bowling with a bunch of buttons and some red lights.
The game supported up to four players, and according to its own sales pitch let them pick the ball’s spot, its curve, speed and release. The Bowlatronic would also give hints, allow for “precise control over the ball” (that’s taken from the game’s instruction booklet) and “scores just like real bowling”.
Which all sounds very fun and advanced, but remember (or don’t, this was a long time ago!), this is 1981 we’re talking about, and for all those words spent talking this up as a realistic and authentic bowling experience, this is what the thing actually looked like to play.
Yyyyeeaahhh. Still, the device looked cool, which brings us all the way back to why we’re talking about it today in the first place. It looked cool on a table back then and it looked just as good in a retro-future TV series made 40 years later!