When I was a kid, my Mother would talk all about this Tic Tac Toe playing chicken that they had in New York City’s Chinatown. It captured my imagination like nothing else. You could have told me that a robot or some sort of supercomputer was playing tic tac toe. I would not have been as excited as playing this chicken. A few years after first hearing about it, we got to go to Chinatown and play against the chicken. It was a fascinating experience, but slightly less wholesome than LJN’s I Took a Lickin From a Chicken.
I Took a Lickin From a Chicken was a game from the 1980s that pitted you simple games against a robotic chicken. The only reason that I was interested in it? That Chinatown chicken. Sadly, despite putting it on multiple gift lists and circling it in catalogs, I Took a Lickin From a Chicken never graced my house. When I asked why, my mom told me that the game was similar to Merlin, which I already had.
Sure I loved Merlin, but this was a robotic chicken! How could the two even be compared? What made wanting I Took a Lickin From a Chicken even worse is that they had this fun commercial with a great jingle.
I Took a Lickin From a Chicken by LJN Commercial
This classic game is easily found online. Multiples times I have come close to pulling the trigger on one in the $20 range, but the shipping usually dissuades me. Part of me believes that I will stumble across one at a flea market and can skirt the shipping fee. That explains why I don’t have half the things that I would like to buy.
As for that Chinatown Chicken? According to this article in the New Yorker, the chicken, Willy, passed away in 1993. A lot of people have great memories of this noble bird and because of its time in that arcade, we can’t think about a game of tic tac toe without thinking of chickens.
While I can’t find footage of the original Chicken, here is a video of another chicken playing Tic Tac Toe vs. a person.
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