Here it is — Casio’s first game calculator in at least 20 years, and featuring the game from the MG-880 they created 38 years ago in 1980.
It’s had a few features added, not all of them good, and as at the time of writing this, is still only available in Japan. It was released in March 2018 with no obvious recommended retail price, and prices from online retailers in Japan have varied from ~USD30 to USD100+.
Essentially it’s a solar-powered 10-digit tax calculator, but rather than join the hundreds of other nearly-identical calculators of this type, some legend at the Casio factory thought it might be a good idea to revive one of their old games and see if people were still interested in it. And I’m glad they did.
If nothing else, there’s now a modern calculator with Casio’s original ‘space invaders’ game available brand new, and for possibly a more reasonable price than the original calculators are selling for.
If sales go well, who knows what their next step might be — will we see the return of the Boxing or Baseball calculator in a modern form factor or, better yet, a new range of original game calculators?!
They did miss the opportunity to expand on the original game, choosing to only use 8 of the 10 available digits which makes it the same as the earlier version but a 10-digit game would have added a new twist to it had they gone down that track.
The digits are taller and the buttons may be fractionally less responsive (or the game may be just a little quicker than it used to be) and now there’s an option to turn the sound on and off. Other than that, it’s identical to the original.
Plus there’s no worry about the batteries suddenly going flat during a marathon game.
Google Translate has helpfully worked out what the extra keys mean but I think I’ll leave doing the tax to my accountant, and just play the game instead!
Hopefully Casio will release an international version of the SL-880-N and you’ll be able to buy one at your local stationers, but if you can’t wait there’s a few of the Japanese version available on eBay pretty much all the time.
A great new calculator to take you back in time. Roll on the next one!