I think I was the only person in the world to own a Strobe. Genuinely, I don’t know anyone else who owned one, and in researching my memories of Strobe I scoured YouTube for the TV advert. It wasn’t there.
When I was at my Grandads one December, he said he had bought me an electronic game as a Christmas present. He wouldn’t tell me what it was, but it involved lights and started with the letter “S”. I was utterly convinced he had bought me another Simon, so I became a bit grumpy, insisting I already had a Simon and didn’t want another one. I must have moaned about it a lot because later that day he went upstairs, got it and gave it to me probably just to shut me up. It wasn’t even Christmas yet.
Strobe is an electronic game for up to 4 players in which you pass a light to each other. At each of the four ends there is a light, and under each light there are three buttons – left, right and forward. The idea is to pass the light to another player and they have to quickly pass the light on to someone else. Because the buttons are under each light, nobody knows who you are passing the light to until their light lights up.
There are a few variation of games where you have to follow a sequence, or forward the light within an increasingly short amounts of time. There was even a 1-player mode where you passed the light to a virtual player.
In the 80s people were quite shortsighted in that no-one realised that having a less generic sounding product would make it easier for future generations to look it up on the internet. For example, tyring to find a Strobe online is quite tricky. If you Google “Strobe” your results will all be for strobe lighting. So you make your search a bit more specific and go for “strobe game” or “electronic strobe” and you still get no good results. If only they’d have called it “Ztrobe” or “Strobez”, you know?