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...

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...