The success of the original Ghostbusters movie came as a surprise to many. As such, there wasn’t a huge number of promotional items and licensed products released alongside the 1984 comedy classic.
The marketing men soon rectified this for the sequel, and by the time The Real Ghostbusters cartoon aired it was possible to buy just about anything with the iconic Ghostbusters logo slapped on it. This included handheld LCD games, of which there was a surprisingly high amount.
We’ll start with Remco’s The Real Ghostbusters Electronic Arcade first, as this mini-arcade cabinet is noteworthy. Firstly, it was released only in Italy. Secondly, the box art shows the wrong display – an image of what appears to be a Robotech (Macross) LCD game is shown on the main screen, with a large mech taking centre stage. The actual game takes place in a cemetery with Peter Venkman precariously perched on top of a crypt. Enemies attack from all angles which Venkman must, quite obviously, vanquish before they reach him. Amazingly, there’s a degree of innovation present – Venkman can hide in the crypt for a few seconds. Any more than that though and his air supply will run out, prompting the smooth-talking spook hunter to roll into an open grave.
Remco went on to release a mini-arcade LCD pinball game, likewise based on the Ghostbusters cartoon. This shared some features of the Electronic Arcade game, including a row of flashing red LEDs and similar artwork on the cabinet itself.
Remco’s involvement with the Ghostbusters license didn’t end there: they also released two, smaller and somewhat generic, LCD games in 1988. Collectors often overlook the fact there was two as they were almost indistinguishable. Look a little closer though, and you’ll see that one had a subtitle – Trap the Ghosts – printed at the bottom of the handheld in small text. Both feature Peter Venkman as the sole playable character again. The backdrops are however different – one takes place outside the GB’s firehouse, while the other has a nondescript American street as a backdrop. In both instances, players were treated to a rather blatant clone of Space Invaders.
Taking a leaf out of Nintendo’s book, both doubled up as an alarm clock, complete with a pull-out stand on the reverse. In one of the recent Ghostbusters comic books the handheld can be seen on Peter’s desk. How meta.