Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Games 100: 1980 Edition, Part 1

As some people know Games Magazine puts out a 100 Top Games article every year just in time for Christmas. Well, it's really 200 Top Games now, as they have 100 board/card games, and 100 video games.

Going through an old stack of magazines, it turns out that I've got most of the issues throughout the 1980's, including their very first list, published waaaaaay back in 1980. It's sort of interesting reading seeing what were considered to be the top games 25 years ago.

First of all, it's not filled with 80% of import games, since, well, they weren't importing German games yet at this time. Hare and Tortiose did make it into the 1982(?) list. Second of all, their definition of "game" would surely make the purists squirm who have very exacting definitions of what a game is. Frisbee and Master Frisbee anyone? Astro, the calculator that doubles as an electronic astrologer? Fun stuff.

Prices are nice and cheap. Acquire for $15, Yahtzee for $3, Monopoly for $10. Well, I guess the price of Monopoly hasn't changed too much if you buy the most basic version.

There's a nice set of classics back here in 1980, which I guess reminds us why timeless classics are timeless. You 've got your D&D, Othello, Scrabble,and even 221-B Baker Street. However, the oddball games from the smaller publishers are more interesting, such as Passing Through the Netherworld and Compulsion.

Anyway, here's the first in a multi-part post of a slice of gaming history.

Page 1 includes the classics Acquire and Boggle, and the not-quite-so-classic, but fairly well-known Awful Green Things from Outer Space. Pretty good start.

However, things drop off a bit, as I doubt Boffers, in all of it's safety-goggle glory would make anyone's list nowadays. But at least you can "play" a swordfighting game with them, I guess, which is something Astro finds lacking.

Blockade is a nice marginal entry, I remember Baseball 3 and Bank Shot from my childhood.

I draw a blank on Brain Baffler. Hey, $60 for a computer that plays Simon and Hangman, and can do Anagrams is pretty pricey in those days. At least Bank Shot played something unique for $50.

Another set of classics here, with Can't Stop, Cosmic Encounter, and Clue. I'm somewhat surprised at the lowly score Clue gets on BoardGameGeek, however. How sad.

We've got a creation toy in Capsela, and two games I've never heard of before in Compulsion and Counterstrike.

Conquest I am aware of, and it's game that's always looked interesting with it's cool components and non-symmetrical board. And finally, the family classic of Careers, which garners a 5.7 rating on BBG. Which sadly, beats the rating for Clue.

And, oh yeah, a Checkers Computer.

Part 2 coming soon!

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