Hot Potato

Hot Potato

Forget Musical Chairs - a game for those whose idea of “fast-paced” meant the occasional recline in a comfy chair. Hot Potato utilized many of the same rules, but that’s where the similarity ended. This was an on-your-feet frenzy of crazed spud-tossing. And if you weren’t careful, you were likely to get burned. Continue reading...

Game & Watch

Game & Watch

For close to a century, the Japanese company Nintendo busied itself making playing cards for the popular game Hanafuda. Off and on, they would dabble in other toy and business interests, but it wasn’t until the dawn of the video game age that the erstwhile humble company would make international history. One of Nintendo’s contributions to the gaming world was the Game & Watch, a handheld electronic game that put the power of video games into the very portable palm of the hand. Continue reading...

Memory

Memory

Every once in a while, a game manages to teach a few valuable skills to unsuspecting players and make them smarter without them ever realizing it. Candyland snuck in some color recognition mentoring. Hi Ho! Cherry-O stealthily gave kids the ability to count, and Hot Potato … well, that taught the valuable lesson that if you holding something that is hot, you should hand it to someone else immediately. But in terms of developing concentration and matching skills, the name of the game was Memory – a simple card game that taxed those brain cells to no end. Continue reading...

Connect Four

Connect Four

Commercials come and go, but catch phrases live forever. The final quarter of the twentieth century heard just such a phrase moaned from the lips of one young boy after having lost a game to his sister. While no boy in his right mind wants to lose to a younger sibling, losing at Connect Four ranks with Sorry! and Risk in the pantheon of crushing defeats. Perhaps that’s why before Milton Bradley marketed the game in 1974 under the goal-oriented name “Connect Four,” it was simply and somewhat quietly known as The Captain’s Mistress. Continue reading...

Sorry!

Sorry!

The ancient game of strategy called Parcheesi got a modern makeover in the early 20th century, emerging as Sorry! the game that apologized for your woeful lack of skill and/or good fortune. First seen in England, it was imported to America in 1934 by Parker Brothers and a new family institution was born. Hearing your mom saying "Sorry!" in a saccharine, condescending voice as she denied you victory was enough to make you wonder if the notion of motherly love wasn't just a big crock. Continue reading...

The Game of Life

The Game of Life

While life has existed for millions of years on planet Earth, it wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that a game was invented to mirror it. Back in 1860, it was considered "America's Favorite Parlor Game" and when it was reintroduced by the Milton Bradley Company a hundred years later, it proved just as popular and remains so to this day. Continue reading...

Glamour Heads

Glamour Heads

For years, little girls rummaged through Mom’s makeup bag, anxious to delve into a world of lipstick, eyeliner, blush – pretty much anything else that would give them that look of stylish sophistication that all the older girls possessed. Therefore, moms everywhere rejoiced at the introduction of the Glamour Head series of styling centers, allowing little girls to practice their beauty secrets to their little heart’s content. Mom could relax knowing that little Mary was tarting up a plastic head, rather than making herself look like an up-and-coming circus performer for all the neighbors to see. More importantly, mom no longer had to worry about her makeup stash being prematurely depleted. Continue reading...

Water Wiggle

Water Wiggle

Kids love to abuse their toys, but every once in a while a toy turns the tables and inflicts a little abuse of its own. With its goofy smiling face, the Water Wiggle seemed innocent enough. Simply throw on your bathing suit, attach the toy to the outdoor faucet, turn the water on … and watch all hell break loose. Continue reading...