Yamaha HandySound mini keyboard with built-in games [Vintage]

Today we are blessed with a plethora of software, apps and keyboards with built-in music theory/practice features, but back in the 1980s that wasn’t the case.

Yamaha decided to build in some basic musical games on its mini HandySound keyboards, which were manufactured in the early ’80s.


According to the manual there were three playable games on the HandySound HS-501.

The first is like “Simon Says”. Players read the notes displayed on the treble clef staff and play the right notes in order.

The second game is “Keyboard Poker”. The description is a bit vague but it consists of “a musical note moving up and down the staff display, and you stop it in mid-flight by pressing any key”. OK then.

The third game is “Keyboard Invader”, which appears to be modelled on Space Invaders and again seems to be a note matching type of game.

If anyone has played these and can give a better description, please leave a comment below.

The keyboard, sporting 25 mini-sized keys, was a massive 4-note polyphonic, and could belt out five different sounds: piano, organ, violin, clarinet and harpsichord. All with the usual cheesiness of cheap ’80s keyboards, no doubt.

Take a look at some of the manual screenshots. The whole manual can be downloaded here