It’s my belief. My personal belief mind you – that board games were quite a bit more popular back in the 60s and 70s. In addition I think that they had a more imaginative approach to the designs of the game. Just a couple of weeks ago I shared that incredible 1979 Alien board game as a case in point.
Having said that I think the 80s had some amazing board games too of course. Many of them were movie tie-in’s like The Goonies. But you also had offerings that relied on other media – like 1988’s Shrieks and Creaks that used an audio cassette.
And it’s a fact there are some INCREDIBLE games being made today. Just off the top of my head I can’t recommend Inis, 7 Wonders, or Betrayal at House on the Hill enough.
Those games however are not exactly designed for children – or furthermore quick to finish. Which is why I try to seek out the older board games. Generally for the use of the arcade but some of them are for my personal collection. Of course looking for worthy games is half the fun and thankfully we have YouTube to help make things a little easier.
[Via] Chris Hanson
Which is of course how I found this 1968 game from Milton Bradley. Pop Yer Top tasked Players on their turn to take control of the Koo-Koo bird.
Following the steps printed on the board – through two safe zones to reach the winner’s spot. Make sure to check out the degrees Koo-Koo goes to in those safe zones to ensure he doesn’t pop his top.
Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.
There are no dice used in the Pop Yer Top. Instead a Player pushes their luck with each press of the wacky bird on the game board.
The Players have no clue of course at which point Koo-Koo will pop his top.
If that happens the Player must go all the way back to the starting area. I’ve been able to find a few copies of Pop Yer Top for purchase on ebay. They range from a mere $12 to $33. Not a bad price for such a fun game if you ask me.
I really want to thank the always impressive BoardGameGeek for the image used at the top of the post as well as the board itself.
Granted if I do pick up a copy of Pop Yer Top I will have to look into Koo-Koo’s eyes for quite some time. His all-knowing eyes!
A board game that makes you question your conscience, morals, and self-respect?
Certainly such a game would never exist…would it? Could it?
Seriously folks, you question me on this?
I run across vintage Simon electronic games from time to time in the wild, but this is one of the nicest ones I’ve seen in a long time.
This particular one was priced at $20, a steal for a vintage Simon in the box. Who could pass on such a deal, especially the year after Simon was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame?
My friend Sean over at the Commodore Computer Club is a kindred spirit indeed; not only is he (obviously) a fan of Commodore computers, but he’s also a collector of vintage computer or retro gaming-related toys. Recently Sean picked up this awesome retro gem:
I’ll let Sean describe the unit:
“This is a 1972 Milton Bradley Playskool Computer. The computer mimics the big mainframes of the day since this was years before microcomputers became generally available.
The box is in nice shape and it came with all six “programming” cards which can be inserted and dials turned to match up symbols on the cards. Basically the cards and dials are used to ask the computer questions and will give you the answers. Pretty cool!”
Pretty cool indeed, Sean! Thanks for sharing your latest acquisition with us. And don’t forget, if you are in the Portland or Vancouver area and interested in Commodore computers, check out the Commodore Computer Club’s meeting page, stop by one of the meetings and tell Sean I said “hey!”
Did you ever have one of Milton Bradley’s T.H.I.N.G.S.?
Me neither, but I always wanted one. T.H.I.N.G.S. stood for Totally Hilarious Incredibly Neat Games of Skill. They were little wind-up plastic games that came out in the late ’80s and had the same purposefully-outrageous vibe you’d find on Nickelodeon and in Saturday morning cartoons. They had bright colors, funny names (Astro-Nots, Eggzilla, Flip-o-potomus, Sir Rings-A-Lot, etc.), and outrageous premises. Just the kind of things, er, T.H.I.N.G.S., that 80s kids loved.
Each of the T.H.I.N.G.S. was a race against the clock. In one you had to assemble an egg around a dinosaur before he sprang from his perch, in another you had to rescue a group of astronauts before an alien got them, in still another you had to direct a knight as he grabbed rings.
Like so many things from that time, I never got to have, play, or even see any of the T.H.I.N.G.S. in real life. My only exposure to them was the TV commercial. And seeing the videos on YouTube, I probably would have been disappointed if I had gotten one. They seem quite noisy and they don’t seem to have much long-lasting entertainment value. I’d probably have gotten pretty tired of them pretty quickly, and if I did keep playing with them, it would be as a toy, not a game. Still, I wanted one badly back then, and to be honest, the little boy inside me who is infatuated with all purposefully-outrageous 80s things still wants one.
A couple of days ago I posted the commercial for the Dark Tower board game and Retroist commenter, Marco, was kind enough to share his memories of the game from where he hails in the Netherlands. There the name of the game was Atlantis and my little bit of research has shown that there wasn’t any further differences to the game besides box art and the name.
I found out another reason this board game didn’t do well…Milton Bradley was sued shortly after releasing Dark Tower.
The all-knowing Wikipedia gives us this: “Dark Tower was the subject of trade secret litigation in 1985. Two independent game developers named Robert Burton and Allen Coleman submitted a game to Milton Bradley entitled “Triumph” that involved an electronic tower as the centerpiece. Milton Bradley rejected the game, but proceeded to release “Dark Tower” some time later. The inventors sued for misappropriation of trade secrets and won a jury verdict for over $700,000. The trial judge, however, vacated the jury’s judgement. Despite finding that Milton Bradley had likely “plagiarized the plaintiffs’ idea without so much as a by-your-leave” the judge proceeded to issue a directed verdict for the defendant because Burton and Graham had signed a contract waiving any contractual relationship (which arguably included any duty of confidentiality). The First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, finding evidence that Milton Bradley entered an implied agreement to keep the game confidential and reinstated the damage award.”
A big tip of the hat to J. SE over at BoardGameGeek.Com for the photo of the Atlantis box art as well as a HUGE thanks to Marco for giving me the heads up on Atlantis in the first place!