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Milton Bradley Playskool Computer

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.

Atlantis - J. SE - BoardGameGeek

Dark Tower – Atlantis (1981)

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!

Dark Tower - Jonathan Harrison - Board Game Geek

Dark Tower TV Commercial (1981)

I’ve stated before on the site that in my youth there was one board game that after seeing it’s TV commercial gripped my imagination and refused to let go. That game was the legendary Dark Tower by Milton Bradley. I never received one, I remember it being slightly expensive but that could just be my faulty memory banks, though I’ve been able to play around with one since…and I still want it.

For a young kid just getting started in TSR’s Dungeons and Dragons that commercial was right up my alley, besides it had Orson Welles in it!

I want to thank Retroist regular Magisterrex for uploading this fantastic commercial over on YouTube! Thanks to Jonathan Harrison over at Board Game Geek for sharing the box art to his own Dark Tower game.


Stay Alive by Milton Bradley

A few weeks ago, I tossed out a few Vincent Price commercials. I couldn’t get this one to embed at that time, but I found a different version of it.

Besides the Vincent Price Stay Alive commercial, there was also this one:

I remember playing this game as a very young kid. It seems to have lots of potential, but for some reason it wasn’t as fun as it looked on these commercials. There wasn’t the tension or the strategy that I had expected. Maybe that’s because we didn’t take turns as we were supposed to and just pulled tabs as fast as we could, turning the game into a short-lived free for all. Or maybe it’s because we weren’t playing with Vincent Price.