Job #11: Blue Formica (made by Anthill)
Following the success of Gamessoft, between the 70s and the 80s the United States saw a lot of small gaming companies but very few of them could actually outlast Gamessoft. In 1984, Italian-American MIT student and avid Gamessoft fan Anthony DiNoto had the idea to use a cartridge instead of a disk to store data, as cartridges didn't require a disc reader and were easier to develop. At first, DiNoto tried to modify his "Monolith" in order to fit cartridges along with discs, but he didn't succeed. Eventually, with the help of his fellow MIT students and friends Simon McGee and Timothy J. Harrison, DiNoto managed to modify a pocket calculator and were able to play games using his newly invented system. At first, the three developed a simplified version of Bash the Badgers and it worked surprisingly well. It quickly became quite a novelty in the MIT and the three gained a bit of a reputation. As such, the trio quickly became a small group, which attracted more and more students and newly-graduated engineers and developers. After graduating, in 1986 they founded Anthill, debuting with their first console: Blue Formica. DiNoto came up with the name, combining the color of the console with "formica", the Italian word for ant, representing the console's small size. Despite not being able to match Gamessoft's "Monolith" in terms of graphic performance, the Blue Formica became an instant hit due to it being the first ever handheld console able to replicate a variety of unique and different games.
The first game released for the Blue Formica was Tesla's Trio, a collection of two games made by Tesla himself (Bash the Badgers and Bogey) along with Pigeon, an all-new game where the player controlled a pigeon and had to avoid obstacles, based on Tesla's obsession with these animals. Shortly after Tesla's Trio, three new games came out: Baseball, which was, as the name implies, a baseball simulator, Icicle Factory, a puzzle game where the player controls a penguin that has to match ice blocks, and Soup the Cat, a platform game where the player controls Soup in her quest to save her adoptive son. In 1987, the Blue Formica was released in Europe as well, where was well-received, although less than in the US. By the end of the 80s and the begin of the 90s, Anthill and Gamessoft were the two mainstays of field.