Lie Detector

Lie Detector

The game of Clue was a good starting point for the future detectives of the world, but for a real challenge, aspiring sleuths turned to the competition, Mattel’s Lie Detector. Instead of a mere six suspects, Lie Detector pitted you against a whopping 24 potential perpetrators. Thankfully, you had an official Mattel electronic lie detector to help solve the case.

Before determined gumshoes got their hands on the actual lie detector, there were some other matters at hand. To start, a guilty card was chosen at random among the players. A stack of suspect cards was evenly distributed among the 2-4 participants (or detectives, if you prefer) needed to play the game. Detectives would then take turns practicing their interrogation techniques on various suspects, each of whose mug shot appeared on the game box. A plethora of shifty characters awaited, including the teacher, the playboy, the head waiter – you know, the usual suspects. With each came a handy clue, mentioning, for example, his mustache or the fact that he appeared angry.

The detectives, rather than rely solely on the images of the suspects, utilized crime-fighting techniques that were decidedly more modern. In other words, they would insert the suspect card into a plastic detector, and then stick a magic lie detector wand through a hole in the card. If the testimony of the suspect turned out to be true, a needle on the contraption would point to “true”. If a bell rang and the needle pointed to false, the suspect was a bald-faced lying scum. Detectives would then look through their assorted suspect cards, and turn down any that possessed the disproven traits.

When a clever detective had the information needed to make an accusation, he would name the suspect and take a gander at the guilty card in the lie detector machine. If he was incorrect in his assumption, the guilty card was placed back in the machine and he was out of the game. If he was correct, however, a well-deserved promotion was bestowed upon him as he was named “Chief” and, subsequently, the winner.

Lie Detector enjoyed quite a bit of popularity in the 60s and spawned a number of offshoots such as Spy Detector and a later version of Lie Detector that took place in a television studio, complete with photographs to replace the earlier cartoon renderings of the suspects. In 1980, Pressman Toys reissued an updated Lie Detector for nostalgic fans of the popular board game, eager to relive their gumshoe glory days of yesteryear.

If you have fond memories of playing Lie Detector as a kid, we’d love for you to share your thoughts in our comments section, as we remember this gem of a game from the 60s that let us experience the criminal justice system firsthand.

6 Responses to “Lie Detector”

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  1. Jennifer harris says:

    I don’t remember this game.

  2. Jack Ryan says:

    This was my favorite game as a kid. I still have all 3 versions.
    1960 Lie Detector, 1963 Spy Detector and the little known 1964 Lie Detector ( where they had photos of people as the suspects set in a movie studio). Me and my friends played these all the time. Anyone else remember the 1964 version?

    • josh says:

      I have the 1964 version of the game, (the only one i have) mind telling me anything you know about it? I haven’t been able to find info on it for a month now.

  3. Denise says:

    I remember playing this game when I was 4 years old with my older bros and sisters… I can still see the faces of the suspects in my mind’s eye…loved it!

  4. Melody says:

    I LOVED that game and used to play it with my brothers. Loved Clue also, but Lie Detector was cooler because it was so high tech.

  5. Bob says:

    I had the 1964 version with the photo cards, and it was one of my favorite games. I didn’t know until recently that there were earlier versions. Lie Detector is due for a comeback… maybe using barcodes on the suspect cards, and a smartphone app instead of the old true/false machine.

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