You should all know of the company Ohio Art. creator of the infamous Etch-A-Sketch. Well In 1986 they introduced "The Animator" a primitive device, which was basically a digital etch a sketch. It had dials like the EAS, and one of it's ony features was you could animate just 12 frames of pixel art. Paltry by today's standards.
The next year they introduced "The Animator 2000". This machine could create 24 frames of animation, but also included extra features like a cartridge for saving your animation, as well as other cartridges to save your game. I'll never forget the day I played the demo at KB, and begged and begged my dad I wanted it for christmas. It WAS educational right?!
The Animator 2000 was ahead of its time back in 1987, as it used a primitive touch screen and style for you to draw digital art using its using rather large black pixels But back then it was heaven to me. I actually made my first Mario movie with it, having him run up to a ? block and pound out a mushroom. (after studying the sprite designs best I could on my TV. Of course it was a start, and is what started me onto the road of flash animations I make today. Mario Paint for the SNES would later become my new love, with it's mouse, colors, and many other features, but it was the Animator 2000 that started my love my computer animaton.
For more info and a photo of this machine check out my blog, VGDC PIPELINE