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Gaming History You Should Know – History of Computer Smartwatches March 27, 2022

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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It’s Sunday and what better day to kick off the restart of GameXcess.net than to celebrate with another look back at the history of gaming! This is Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight and share some of the best independently produced content on the history of gaming.

Nowadays, everyone is rocking some type of computer watch, be it an Apple Watch or Gear device. Most of these have full color displays, are capable of wireless data transmission, and keep track of time, alarms, appointments, and even health biometrics. Some of them are even able to play games! (Apple Watch gamers, I recommend Lifeline, Lifeline: Silent Night, and Cosmos Rings as must-play games!)

However, before the Apple Watch found its way on nearly everyone’s wrist, there were many other attempts, some by major companies, to sell computer watches to consumers’. So where did all of this begin, at least as far as consumers are concerned? Fear not, YouTube Legend Techmoan has us covered with a look at what I’m pretty sure is the first consumer level computer watch. It was not cheap, and it was likely meant to be used by wealthy pilots, lawyers and other businessmen, but it had incredible features and the ability to do time-based calculations that I haven’t even seen modern smartphones capable of doing! I present…the HP-01!

Unfortunately the HP-01 was way before my time. When I was growing up, I fondly remembered the classic CASIO wrist calculator watches my father would never go anywhere without. In the days before I got my first Game Boy, the fact my dad could do calculations on his wrist was something incredible. While I did eventually get a CASIO of my own, I had no idea CASIO and other companies like them released several revisions of LCD watches with a bit more of a gaming focus. Seriously.

YouTube channel Nostalgia Nerd, who I remember fondly for his knowledge of British Microcomputers, produced this great look at some of the more obscure calculator watches. Some of these just blew my mind with how they were able to innovate with the tech of the time. Heck, some of these used infrared transmitters to not just swap information, but to play multiplayer games against each other. Check it out!

Finally, I wanted to talk about one of the most obscure designs for a watch that harkened back to the days of Palm. Now that Palm figured out the most basic functions a tech enthusiast needed on the go (calendar, address book, clock, alarms), the watch maker TIMEX made the evolutionary step to put a PDA in a high-end watch. To sync, you merely needed some software that could transmit your settings and features through your CRT’s blanking signal (or a separate transmitter if you used a laptop). Sound insane? YouTube channel LGR has that part covered.

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