Othello

Othello

When Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder were singing “Ebony and ivory, live together in perfect harmony…” they weren’t singing about Othello, but it might have seemed that way. When this board game’s black and white pieces were laid out, things appeared peaceful at first. But fortunes changed quickly, luck ran out, and come to think of it, there wasn’t any perfect harmony to be found at all. It was every man for himself. Continue reading...

Hacky Sack

Hacky Sack

Over the years, kids have come up with many creative ways to alleviate boredom at school: some play paper football, some trade notes back and forth, and some just tune out the world with their iPods. One of the coolest ways to kill scholastic downtime is to play with a Hacky Sack footbag. This easily-learned activity became a hit with sports enthusiasts of all ages during the 70s and 80s by providing a fun activity that developed dexterity at the same time. As a result, it became a hit of international proportions. Continue reading...

Jem

Jem

Many a doll maker have attempted to take a swipe at the iconic Barbie over the years. Most have failed, but in the case of Jem, she proved she had a few tricks up her sleeve and managed to hold her own, thanks to a revolution that was changing the entertainment world, a force known as MTV. Continue reading...

Payday

Payday

It's no secret that kids often wish they were adults. They yearn to do all those fun grownup things like drive the family car, see racy R-rated movies and plan the monthly financial budget. Okay, maybe that last item is less popular, but for those that wanted to try their hand at the bill-juggling madness that keeps their parents awake at night, Parker Brothers had just the solution - a fun little board game called Payday. Released in 1975, Payday offered a preview of the financial fun that would rear its ugly head later in life. Continue reading...

KISS Dolls

KISS Dolls

While many kids may hold certain pop stars and rock bands in awe, few, if any, ever spent hours at a time saving the world with their John, Paul, George, and Ringo dolls. Few, if any, Elvis action figures ever hip-swayed before rocking the imaginary enemy to a pulp. There was no remote control REO Speedwagon and Flock of Seagulls never had a cuddly plush. No girls looked forward to the Sunday paper containing all new fashionable cutouts to dress up their Boy George paper doll. The rock band, KISS, on the other hand, was a different story. Continue reading...

The Game of Jaws

The Game of Jaws

It was the game that turned mere fishing into an extreme sport. With frazzled nerves, you gingerly cast your line and hoped for success, always mindful that the jaws of death might suddenly steal your catch of the day ... and scare the living daylights out of you along the way. It took nerves of steel to mess with this plastic carnivore and few emerged unshaken by their encounter with a great white in The Game of Jaws from Ideal. Continue reading...

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...