Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Games 100: 1980 Edition, Part 4

This is part 4, and the final chapter, in the 1980 Games Magazine Games 100 in Review. Thanks for stopping by!

This page starts off innocently enough with Sorry! While nowadays, I'd imagine that's the first thing I'd say if someone suggested we play it, it kept us kiddies quiet for an hour at a time. So I can't complain.

Aside from Sorry! there's not much to look at here, except for maybe Speed Circuit, which was a relatively entertaining racing game for it's time WITH NEAT METAL CARS! Racing games have come a long way since Speed Circuit, and about the only good thing I can say about Speed Circuit is that it's design-a-car system worked great for the hilariously life-damaging game Circus Maximus.

Circus Maximus, for those who aren't aware, is a chariot "racing" game. Racing is in quotes, however, since it pretty quickly devolves into a combat game. While the race is supposed to take three laps, usually before you even hit the second turn you've got one runaway leader, two dead players, 1 player being dragged by his horse, and one player stopped just outside the second turn, waiting for the leader to come around for a few good whips and rams. Mad Max movies have never had this kind of vehicular carnage.

And I think, Circus Maximus made it into the Games 100 list a few years later, if you are keeping track.

Skyro, the hard rubber Ring of Death, while not a game, was/is a pretty amazing piece of technology. As advertised, you could whip that thing 3 football fields long. Have fun chasing it down, however, if you didn't have pinpoint accuracy with it. Or if there was a even the slightest breeze. But a close range, it could do about the same amount of damage to a kid's face as Xena's Ring of Death.

Electronic Tennis, Strobe, Sudden Death, Swashbuckler, and Split Second. Lost and forgotten, all.

221-B Baker Street and Twixt are the two nice additions here. Both games aren't that well known beyond the world of board game geekery, and both deserve some loving.

Trac-Balls are great. The ability to throw big, swooping curve balls around the yard is fun. Additionally, Whirlyball uses the scoops to throw the balls around in bumper cars. Without Trac-Ball, there would be no Whirlyball is the form that we know it's in now. And that would be a sad thing.

Terrible Swift Sword is a wargame I hear about occasionally on BBGwhich rates very highly. I find the abstract of the game slightly amusing: "Many short scenarios are available but its appeal is the 125-turn 60+-hour full game." YIKES.

A checkers variant makes the list. Unfortunatly, just like 2-5-8, I've never heard of Tournament Stadium Checkers. It looks kind of neat. Has four player action. And uses marbles, therefore ruining the checkers analogy.

The annoyingly spelled Trippples is a game I only knew about through the Avalon Hill catalogs. It has a clever movement gimmick in that your opponent can only in the directions shown on the tile that you are standing on. Which not only sound clever, but irritating as hell.

About the only thing I can say about Twister is this: There are a lot of people who I would not want to play a game with at a game convention for various hygiene reasons. Twister would just multiply that revulsion 100 fold. In my college days, we prefered Octopus, which due to the velcro strappings, we called the Bondage Game.

On the last and final page, we've got Waterworks, Uno, and Yahtzee representin' our classic games on the page, even though I think that Waterworks has fallen away with the onset of many more intersting card connection games, Carcassonne being one of many.

Ultimatum, another hex-based wargame is an unknown to me, as is Wizard.

On the other hand, the Atari VCS is very well-known to me. Many hours of many years of my childhood were wasted, slack-jawed in front of an old Zenith black and white TV connected to an Atari. Ah, fond slack-jawed memories.

Wildfire, hot LED pinball action, while mostly the first pinball handheld, also proved that pinball is awful as a handheld LED device, which noone learned from, as many others tried to do pinball in the same type of format.

I think War of the Rings is well known, even though more recent movie-inspired versions of Lord of the Rings have surpassed it.

And finally, we end with one of the bigger "what the heck" moments: Weird Wands! Don't carnivals give these things away for free?

And so that's it for me and my smarmy comments looking back on the gaming world of 1980. It's interesting to note how many classics back then are still around, churning profits for the likes of Mattel and Hasbro. Thankfully, Games Magazine has created their own little Hall of Fame, so they don't take up valuable space in the more recent editions of the Games 100.

Another thing that strikes me is how much of the lists nowadays are really confined to hobby games, whereas the 1980 list really needed some fluff to fill out 100 slots. If you know about the games in the hobby market, things are a lot better now than in 1980, I believe.

And with that, I ask, anyone want to play Weird Wands?

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