In 1977, Mattel produced Football which proved to be an enormous commercial success. Subsequently, Mattel produced a wide variety of handheld electronic games, including several focused on traditional team sports.
The most-successful titles - Basketball, Football, and Soccer - were supported with a second release that added numerous refinements and enhanced the play experience. Too, Football was re-issued in 2000 in a successful bid to capitalize on the nostalgia factor.
The Basketball, Hockey, and Soccer games are all quite similar in appearance and play. Likewise, Basketball 2 and Soccer 2 are quite similar to each other. Auto Race and Ski Slalom are thematically distinct but otherwise nearly the same game. The Baseball game is considered the most difficult game in the series.
most of the games supported a primitive two-player method of running two games "simultaneously"; players would hand the units back and forth to see who could earn the highest score in a session.
Primitive by today's standards, it is difficult to overstate the dramatic impact these (and other) early handheld games had on American youth culture of the late 1970s.