For future gumshoes of the world, who needed a challenge greater than the iconic Clue game could provide, came the much more challenging detective game of the 60s – Lie Detector. Not only were up-and-coming sleuths faced with a staggering 24 suspects, rather than the six regulars that inhabited the competing game, but a real-life Official Mattel Lie Detector was included to put the screws on the suspected perpetrator.
Before determined detectives got their hands on the 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 suspect 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 games 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.