The second of three game watches produced by GCE (General Consumer Electronics) in the early 1980s, Arcade Time features four games and the time and date (what else do you need in a good game watch?).
While its predecessor (Game Time) had two front buttons and two side buttons (one to fire against the invaders in the third game and the other to change modes) Arcade Time definitely had more of an arcade feel with it’s joystick and fire button both front-mounted.
The four games are ingenious, thanks to their creator Tom Sloper, particularly given the small amount of RAM there was to work with. If you want to read a great story about how this and the Game Time were conceived and created, visit Tom’s website.
Game one is called Hyper Blast where the object is to blast enemy ships as they appear and avoid being hit by their bombs.
Game two is called Planet Raiders and involves you having to shoot down alien raider ships as they try to steal your fuel cells.
Game three is Galaxy Gunner where you have to move a crosshair to line up aliens and shoot them down.
Game four is Cosmic Clash which sees you bombing enemy guns while avoiding being hit by gun carriers.
Here’s a video (not mine, but I will make one eventually) showing the games in action:
And here’s another which isn’t so much about the games, but one that game collectors can likely relate to:
All the GCE watches are expensive to buy, when you can find them, and most have been subject to some bad battery changing which has damaged the soft plastic case. While the manual tells you which batteries to use, it doesn’t explain the battery changing procedure.
The case is in two parts with clips top and bottom, and a screw in the back holding the two pieces together. Most people remove the screw then attack the watch from the side trying to pry it apart without realising that by popping the clips it will come apart easily and without damage.
The Arcade Time and Sports Time watches suffer most from this as they have plated plastic (gold on the Arcade Time, silver on the Sports Time) which really shows this damage more than the unplated Game Time.
Here’s a video of a non-working Arcade Time I won on eBay in 2016.