|Headquarters||Vernon Hills, Illinois, United States|
Tiger Electronics is an American toy manufacturer, best known for its handheld LCD games, the Furby, Giga Pets, the 2-XL Robot product, and electronic games such as Brain Warp. When Tiger was an independent company, Tiger Electronics Inc., its headquarters were in Vernon Hills, Illinois.
Randy Rissman and Roger Shiffman founded the company in 1978. It started with low-tech items like phonographs, but then began developing handheld electronic games and teaching toys. Prominent among these was 2-XL Robot in 1992, and "K28, Tiger's Talking Learning Computer", (1984) that was sold worldwide by K-Mart and other chain stores. Tiger also achieved success with many simple handheld electronics games like "Electronic Bowling" and other titles based on licenses, such as "RoboCop", "Terminator", and "Spider-Man". An early 90's hit was the variable speed portable cassette/microphone combo Talkboy (first seen in the 1992 movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York), followed by the Brain Warp and the Brain Shift. It also licensed the "Lazer Tag" brand from its inventors, Shoot the Moon Products, which was born from the remnants of the Worlds of Wonder company. Tiger also produced a version of Lights Out around 1995. In 1997 it also produced a quaint fishing game called Fishing Championship, in the shape of a reduced fishing rod. Another 1990s creation was Skip-It.
Tiger is most well known for their handheld gaming systems with LCD screens. In order to simulate actual graphics, a fixed image would be printed onto the handheld that can be seen through the screen. Static images then light up individually in front of the background that represent characters and objects, similar to that of numbers on a digital clock. Tiger also created wrist games. These portable wrist games were essentially smaller versions of their handheld LCD games, placed on a wristwatch-like device. Tiger's wrist games also functioned as normal watches as well as alarm clocks.
Tiger has made two cartridge based systems. The first and less technically sophisticated was known as the R-Zone. It employed red LCD cartridges, which were projected via backlight onto a reflective screen that covered one of the player's eyes. All R-Zone games were adapted from existing Tiger handheld LCDs. The second was the Game.com handheld system, which was meant to compete with Nintendo's Game Boy and boasted such novel features as a touchscreen and limited Internet connectivity. Ultimately, it was a failure, with only 20 games produced.
Systems using licensed characters
Tiger Electronics has been part of the Hasbro toy company since 1998. Hasbro, previously shy of high-tech toys, was very interested in the development of the cuddly "Furby". With Hasbro's support, Tiger was able to rush through the development process and get the Furby on the shelves for the 1998 holiday season, during which it was a runaway hit—the "it" toy of the 1998 and 1999 seasons. During the 90's, Tiger manufactured some electronic games that were similar to the reflex game Bop It. They are called: Brain Bash, Brain Warp, Bird Brain, Brain Shift and Boogey Ball.
The company has since become one of the most prominent producers of electronic toys, chosen to produce toys based on a wide variety of licenses, including Star Trek, Star Wars, Barney, Arthur, Winnie the Pooh, Franklin the Turtle, Neopets, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Weakest Link, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Batman Returns, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Sonic the Hedgehog, among many others.
In 2000, Tiger was licensed to provide a variety of electronics with the Yahoo! brand name, including digital cameras, webcams, and a "Hits Downloader" that made music from the Internet (mp3s, etc.) accessible through Tiger's assorted "HitClips" players. Tiger also produces the long lasting I-Dog Interactive Music Companion, the ZoomBox - a portable 3-in-1 home entertainment projector that will play DVDs, CDs and connects to most gaming systems, the VideoNow personal video player, the VCamNow digital camcorder, and the ChatNow line of kid-oriented two-way radios.
The continuing development of Furby-type technology has led to the release of the "FurReal" line of toys in 2003 & the Furby line of toys in 2012.
- Business Week, Issues 3525-3528. McGraw-Hill, 1997. Retrieved from Google Books on December 7, 2010. "Later on this month, Tiger Electronics Inc. in Vernon Hills[...]"
- Kirschner, Suzanne Kantra. "What's New." Popular Science, Bonnier Corporation. October 1997. Vol. 251, No. 4. ISSN 0161-7370. 17. Retrieved from Google Books on December 7, 2010. "Tiger Electronics, 980 Woodlands Pkwy., Vernon Hills IL 60061."
- "COMPANY NEWS; TIGER ELECTRONICS GETS TEXAS INSTRUMENTS UNIT." The New York Times. February 11, 1995. Retrieved on December 7, 2010.