Did You Pop Yer Top For This 1968 Boardgame?

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.
Pop Yer Top

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!


32 Years Later I Get To Read This Dragon’s Lair Storybook!

Dragon’s Lair, the 1983 Laserdisc arcade game holds a very special spot in my heart. I have certainly gone on enough about it on The Retroist these last six years as well as the 10th episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee Podcast.
Dragon's Lair ad
Why? Well, the easiest answer is I was totally captivated by the animation from Don Bluth and his studio but I also was at that right age to become enamored with the idea of becoming a valiant knight attempting to brave the perils of the Dragon’s Lair.

While it certainly has plenty of Players who seem to rail against the game…well…being a game on rails, I still find myself captivated by it today as when I first walked into my local Showbiz Pizza and saw the line of Players waiting their turn.

I think that the only real complaint I ever had about Dragon’s Lair was the lack of merchandising. It wasn’t until Dragon’s Lair 3D: Return to the Lair was released back in 2002 that we fans finally got our hands on some proper action figures!
dragons-lair-return-to-the-lair-toys

So what merchandise was available for Dragon’s Lair in the early 80s?

  • There were some excellent buttons that fans could get from the Don Bluth Animation fan club.
  • Aladdin Industries Inc. released an incredible metal lunch box.
  • Dragon's Lair - Lunchbox - PJ Gamers - OVGE

  • The Don Bluth Studios published the Tele-Story Presents Dragon’s Lair storybook – which came with an audio cassette tape to listen to while reading the story.
  • A set of Dragon’s Lair flip books that you could yet again order through the Don Bluth Animation fan club back in the day.
  • Milton Bradley produced a board game based on the popular arcade title – which I just so happened to be lucky enough to get my hands on, thanks to a good friend and co-worker at the arcade.
  • There were some cheap toys manufactured by the Larami Corporation for Dragon’s Lair but these were just cheap plastic bugs and slingshots with the game’s logo stamped on the packaging.
  • I'm happy to say that I have the Dragon's Lair Sling Darts!

    I’m happy to say that I have the Dragon’s Lair Sling Darts!

  • I think one of the greatest Dragon’s Lair produced pieces of merchandise was Fleer’s exceptional sticker and rub-off game cards.
  • Dragon's Lair Stickers C

  • Last but not least Marvel Books – yes – as in Marvel Comics, released a series of coloring books and storybooks with images from the game as well as some minor puzzles and word searches.

I am happy to say that after 32 years I finally was able to get my hands on one of those Dragon’s Lair storybooks!

Are you finally going to talk about the Dragon’s Lair book?!

Yes. Calm down, friends. I was just giving you some of my personal thoughts and background info on the merchandising for the game. Yeesh. Dragon’s Lair: The Quest for the Stolen Fortune was designed by Paty Cockrum and Marie Severin – with the word games, mazes, and crossword puzzles created by Suzanne Weyn.

It finds Dirk the Daring being summoned to the Royal Palace where he is put on the trail of the dastardly and deadly Lizard King!
dragons-lair-dirk-the-daring
dragons-lair-dirk-versus-the-pit
Naturally after the reader helps Dirk navigate the traps left behind by the Lizard King…
dragons-lair-dirk-escapes-the-fire
dragons-lair-the-lizard-king-ha-ha-puzzle
..they must attempt to vanquish the evil ruler.
dragons-lair-dirk-versus-the-lizard-king
dragons-lair-the-lizard-king-puzzle
Thankfully if a younger reader found themselves stuck they could always take a quick peek in the back of the book to get the answers they needed.
dragons-lair-the-answer-pages
Now I know that I said I was lucky enough to get my hands on this book, the truth is I was only able to read through it when I dropped in at the arcade. You see, Shea ordered the book from eBay for one of our Players – a young boy who very much like I was at that age captivated by the Dragon’s Lair arcade game.

So I guess in truth my quest for these books still awaits!

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!”