The Etch A Sketch Animator
The Etch A Sketch Animator was released in Europe in 1987 (1986 over the pond). And apparently had great success in its first year.
I never owned one but my brother in law did. When I asked him if it was Naff? He simply replied “Yep!” then went on to tell me how he only used it two or three times, it took forever to draw the simplest of animations and then they were blocky and sketchy as… It was left in the cupboard for a couple of years before being donated to table sale at his school.
So, what was “The Etch A Sketch Animator” or “The Animator” as it was known in Europe. It was similar to a normal Etch A Sketch where you would draw an image with the two knobs. Although instead of drawing only 1 image you could draw 12.
It had eight function buttons on the front: On/Move, Animate, Save, Draw, Next, Reverse, Recall, Erase.
The screen was a low resolution dot-matrix of 30 x 40 pixels. It had a built in speaker that would play Naff sounds when turning the knobs while the animation was running. The Animator had low memory, you were able to store 12 frames or images and then animate them to a maximum sequence of 96 frames, so it was probably around 2KB of memory at most.
Etch A Sketch Animator Commercials
Was it Naff? Its hard for me to say as I never owned one. My brother in law didn’t like it. But then since I’ve known him he has always been low on patience and I imagine it would require some patience to draw and animate on such a “sketchy” toy as the Etch A Sketch Animator.
In 1988 a new and improved version of The Etch A Sketch Animator was released. The “Etch A Sketch Animator 2000”. You were now capable of producing 22 frames and 99 frames of animation. The Animator 2000 looked more like a laptop and had “powerful computer memory” a whopping 196KB. It had a touchpad instead of the knobs which was actually fairly impressive back then. It also had a larger, higher resolution LCD screen and improved sounds.
The company Ohio Art, seemed to be wanting to get into the console / computer industry as The Etch A Sketch Animator 2000 had a cartridge slot for games or additional memory. There were four cartridges available: A memory expansion cartridge and three games, a miniature golf game called “Putt-Nutts”, a flight simulator game called “Fly By” and a racing game called “Overdrive”. Hopefully one day I will get my hands on a Sketch Animator 2000 so I can try these games out.