Armitron must have made thousands of these watches, so you’d think they’d be reasonably easy to find…not so!
Having been collecting game watches and various LCD ‘toys’ for more than five years (probably closer to 10, not that I’d admit it) this is the first Armitron Saturn I I’ve come across.I vaguely remember seeing one at school in the 1980s but never played it, either because I wasn’t friendly enough with its owner to warrant a game (kids with cool toys only ever let their besties have a go with them) or I took one look at the game and dismissed it as too hard/too boring/too odd…
Pity, because now that I’ve got one and have had time to play with it, the game is oddly compelling and, for its relative simplicity, is not easy to master.
Essentially, you’re the ovoid ship on the left hand side of the screen, trying to make your way to the larger ship on the right hand side. The more rocket-like ships you see in the middle of the screen are trying to stop you.
But while it looks like some kind of space-themed Pacman game, you don’t move through the maze at all. Instead your goal is to move zigzag style at the top and bottom of the screen trying not to be where the rockets are when they get to the top/bottom.
This should be far easier to explain, suffice to say it only takes a few minutes to grasp the concept. You get two points for getting to the mothership and a bonus 10 points when you land three ships on mother without losing one.
In the grand tradition of Nintendo Game & Watch games, you can’t just stay in safety in your ‘home’ on the left though, after a few seconds the game pushes you out to start your reckless journey and you can’t go back.
If there was another game watch to compare it to, it loosely resembles the Conso Space Shuttle but on a vertical plane and not entirely the same. But it’s close enough.
The watch also comes with time/date (including year which goes far beyond most watches of 1981/82 in that I could actually select 2013 – result!) a daily alarm, and stopwatch/chronograph which has quite a cool animated display – see the other photo in this post).
The one I bought was in reasonable condition but had a horrible stretchy metal band which didn’t suit it at all. I found a new band that so closely resembles the original I’d be surprised it it wasn’t copied from it (a lot of watches shared this band design in the 1980s).
A fun, rare and good looking watch.