Monday, June 23, 2008

GAMES PEOPLE (DON'T) PLAY


Summer's finally here, for moi anyway. And I can't think of a better way of squandering the sunshine and rainbows than sitting hunched over a musty, motley colored cardboard square, in a stuffy room, with smelly plastic game pieces slipping out of your sweaty palms, while you ponder a set of ridiculously complex instructions, and your bored friends/siblings/ cousins pick their noses or snooze through their headaches on the downstairs couch. Or is that just my favorite Summer memory?

If your Summer's shaping up to be just about that fun (what with the price of petrol) here are a few unlikely suggestions for your next game night.

Hey, hey! Everybody likes parties, right? And Oh-my-god, like I'm totally psyched cuz the whole friggin' class is going to be there. Yeah! Even the dorky kid with the greasy glasses who smells like feet and cheese! Rock on! Part-tay!

Actually, no. They're not going to be there, because there's no friggin' party. It's a sham. To borrow an 80s-ism: Psych!

In fact it's just going to be you sitting on the floor in your underwear and this douche and his shit-eating grin winking back at you from your VCR from 1986. Oh yeah, there's some crappy game that he goes with...

What-evar. Next!

How about a totally awesome computer game? Gee, I wonder how many bits, or bytes, or RAM, or mega-RAM this totally awesome digital computer game has.

Answer: none. I say this looks as dorky as space dominoes.

But wait, you say. Say it! You say: "Says here, this stragety, ur, strategy game is ahead of its time."

Uh-huh. Keep deluding yourself, buddy.

And you also say, because you can't stop babbling about this g-d game, because of the extreme boredom or the stultifying heat in the game room, you say, "Each piece is pre-programmed, yet I/we/you control every play!"

Bullshit. This game needs no batteries. Therefore no electronics. Therefore no computer. You've been scammed by the Grand-Master-Flash of all scammers: Milton-friggin-Bradley.

Now this game is good because it needs some batteries. Maybe, if were lucky the good kind: my man 9 volt, that phat rectangular mother. Waaaay better than puny AAAs, or D-cells that drip acid after a winter in the closet. 9 volt always brings the funk, fast and furious and...

Dude, the air's kind of stale in here, huh. I feel a little light headed. Open a window.

Oooh, an "electronic crime scanner." This looks about as fun as changing the channels with Grandma's oversize old-people remote control. Now that I think about it that is rather fun.

I can't believe I wasted 1979 and the better parts of 1980, 81, and some of 1982 playing this when I could have been watching Battle of the Network Stars or Inch High, Private Eye.


Not digital enough for you? This game doesn't take batteries, it takes quarters. And, oh yeah, a in depth knowledge of late 80s sports trivia. You know what? Wood paneling just makes electronics classy.

Four ridiculously simple buttons, a TV monitor with the colors blown out, and a cabinet that weighs only 78 pounds. Only 125 bucks? What a deal.

Editor's Note: Shockingly, this thrift store went out of business after only three months. Go figure.

Let's move on to the real board games, the ones that don't take on airs, or act all snooty and high tone with their batteries and computer fonts. How about a nice, down to earth, regular Joe game like Masterpiece: The Art Auction Game. Bah, bunch of rich pricks from the 1970s.

I know this is just a Monopoly-meets-Clue-wanna-be all duded-up. I don't know about you, but if I'm going to be forced to hang out with "a dazzling array of eccentric art speculators" and their oh-so "exciting, suspenseful...elite world of the international auction" well somebody better get murdered with a candlestick or at least a lead pipe. That's all I ask.

Not hoity toity enough for you? Well how about a fast paced game of ruining other peoples lives by inflating the stock prices of companies that aren't really worth any money? How about speculating the nation into five major economic depressions between 1857 and 1939? How about wearing those atrocious 80s white starched collar shirts, yellow suspenders, and a whole tube of hair gel? At least I think the game ends with an ulcer. Fun!

Speaking of sores in your stomach that produce juice that's really acid (sorry, inside joke), I've written before about this type of family game, designed to make one of the members (usually Dad) have a nervous embolism under the pressure.

The box art here looks like they're trying to hide something, no? Where are their faces? Probe sounds less like a fun Saturday night with the fam and more like an un-fun Tuesday night in Guantanamo Bay (or is Wednesday night torture night?). Probe, from the makers of Electrified Testicles and Vee Haff Vays Ov Making You Talk. "Game of words" indeed.

You want wacky, though? Well how much more wacky could you get than eating CRACKERS in your BED. Wacky! On second thought, that sounds disgusting and unsanitary. What's next, Pudding in the Shower? Donuts on the Toilet? Damn you, Parker Bros. for corrupting our youth.

Ninnies, numskulls, and brains? Is this a board game or my 7th grade placement test? Who exactly are the Parker Brothers and why are the Smessing with my head?

You saw what I did there, right?

Oh, but Gabriel has to be in on the act. This game makes my tummy hurt. Quick where's your bathroom... too late. Be careful not to step in the puddle of Galoob on the floor.

Speaking of games that make you nauseous, how about a game that's really like going to work. And what work could be better than the flipping burgers, scrubbing toilets, and getting paid $8.00/hr. variety?

This is just like Chutes and Ladders except with gas leaks, pork grease spilled on the floor, and armed robbery. Tee-hee.

Have you been to a McDonald's lately? What could possibly be "unacceptable" in fast food these days? Besides an errant thumb in the chili or chicken head in the McNuggets.

Now this could be anything. From a spastic shake machine to my explosive diarrhea. Fast food, the best friend of pathogens.

But don't worry, just like in the real world, if you can hide the roaches, bacteria, and sputum from the customers long enough you too can be employee of the year! Which means never being quite able to wash the smell of french fries off your body no matter how hard you scrub.

Hey, kids! Let's all sit down here at the dining room table and play a nice game of Blend and Build, whatcha say?

What's that, Cindy, Timmy? You want to know how to play? Well, it's really simple. Just your regular ol' linguistically-based word game, emphasizing world building with short vowel phonograms.

Hey, where ya going? You say your friend down the block has a Nintendo Wii? I say SIT THE FREAK DOWN AND PLAY! We're going to BLEND SOUNDS AND BUILD WORDS especially you two primary grade children! Now, stop crying and start blending and building!

Now here's a manly game. Fixing leaky pipes, for fun. No coins, mushrooms, Koopa Troopas, Goombas, or Italian stereotypes types. Just leaky, smelly, raw sewage dripping pipes. I kind of want to go home now.


No, not yet. No before you play "The Fun Game of Arithmetic." Children, one piece of advice: If you see Grandpa getting this one out of the closet, run the other way. There's no such thing as a fun math game! Don't get scammed like I did by Milton-friggin-Bradley! RUN!!

Ooh, CNN: The Game. Give us thirty minutes we'll bore your ass to sleep. So what do you cover starvation, pollution, disasters, massacres and Congressional bloviating? Well, I guess it's better than Fox News: We Make Up Bullshit and Pretend Like its News Game. Where is Ted Koppel when we need him?

As if one cruddy newsgame twernt enough, this one comes with as (hush-hush whispery voice) video tape. Oh my, a newsreel challenge! You know what's challenging? Keeping my eyelids open.

I wonder which is more fun: news-scooping or poop-scooping? Maybe it really doesn't matter.

No snide remarks here, at least about Klugman and Randall. Love the show, love these guys. But I just have to wonder -- how many more Challenge Yahtzee sets did their pictures on the box actually sell?

has anyone ever played Challenge Yahtzee? I'm dying to know if there's an anally-retentive strategy versus a slovenly style? Anyone?


Well if the bored, er, board games are doing it for you on a hot June day there's always fun with Mr. Hypodermic Needle and (hush-hush-hush) a videotape!

Yes, I found this in the kid's game section right next to the Little Nemo game and the Sesame Street puzzles. And no, I didn't leave it there. Couldn't have Cindy or Timmy sticking a spike in their arms like Jimmy Hendrix, could I?

But we all know there are worse ways to spend a Saturday night, right?

***

RIP: George Carlin
1937-2008

"Please Saw off My Legs"

18 comments:

Paper Dolls for Boys said...

I would have gotten the Smess game for the graphics alone.

You inspired me to take my camera into thrift stores but I always feel like I'm going to get in trouble (don't analyze me). Have you ever had any issues with that?

ME said...

Wood paneling just makes electronics classy. Your post is freaking hilarious! Right on! :-)

Adam Skinner said...

If you're interested in finding thrift games that don't suck, let this be the first step on your path.

C. said...

That is too funny! I remember playing the leaky pipe game. lol I too am afraid to get in trouble when I take my camera into a thrift store.

bowlingtrophy said...

I take pictures all the time in thrift stores and no one's ever said boo. I got hassled in a grocery store once though for taking pictures of smokies to show my American friends (no, not 'lil smokies)

eniksleestack said...

@ paper dolls:

I have gotten a few strange looks for picture snapping but no hassles at the thrifts.

I did see one place that had a "no cameras" sign in the window -- and so I vowed to never set foot in the place.

The only time I've been yelled at in public for taking pictures was at JFK Airport in NY at the 6great organic TWA building designed by Eero Saarinen in the 60s. it was in Spielberg's /Cath Me if You Can/ So the building is completely empty and some security guard came running out yelling when this Japanese architecture student and me were there taking pics. He said it was illegal and was a violation of national security. Whatever. Security guru Bruce Schneier has called this crap "security theater."

But thirft stores are not on the FBI's radar as far as I know.

The Fiji Mermaid said...

I almost fell out of my chair laughing at your comments about the "Party Mania" game. I've seen a few other games with that cool-hip teen vibe and they look awful, they give me a sad feeling to imagine the poor bastard who actually played that game thinking it would be cool. Keep up the great work Enik.

dreworama said...

haha. i totally remember half those games. i think my family even had some of them.

the smess packaging and one or two of the others actually, from a graphic design standpoint, are well designed.

Javier said...

Some of those old financial board games go for big $$$ on freeBay! Espcecially ones by Avalon Hill such as "Acquire" though not for so much these days...

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Hillary said...

I love this blog, especially this entry. I blog about games from the 80's over at www.imremembering.com. i'm linking to your site today.

cialis online said...

I remember when I played with those old games actually I still have some of those games at home and I want to sell some of them.

Noelle said...

Thanks for the post, really effective info.

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