Category:
Games

“Chicken Sam” to “Kill the Jap”

An arcade game where one tried to shoot a chicken thief was repurposed, after Pearl Harbor, to a game where one sought to nail a Japanese soldier.



Posted By: Paul - Wed May 03, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Ethnic Groupings, Games, Stereotypes and Cliches, War, 1940s

Virtue Board Games

I never knew that "Snakes and Ladders" belonged to this category.

Read an excellent short history here.

One example, with description taken from this other site:



A frankly insane 19th century board game.

The game comes on a series of hand painted paper tiles attached to a thin cloth allowing it to be folded up and put into a drawstring case. When unfolded, it forms a spiral-shaped track on the board going from the outside and running anti-clockwise to the centre. Included are some things to use as counters and a spinner, through which a matchstick can be pushed to form a single-dimensional-rotary d4 equivalent. This is intentional by the makers as they did not want to be seen to be encouraging customers to bring a dice box into private homes. Yes, that is the stated reason as given in the rules to this game, which is described as "for the Amusement of Youth of both Sexes."

Also included are a number of tokens which are handed out to players as they play. Players start at the beginning (i.e. before space 1), roll the dice spin the spinner, which yields a value from 1 to 4 (were d4s available in 1818?), and move that number of spaces. Each space is named with either a Virtue or a Vice and every single one has an effect, usually relating to the rewards that such a virtue might bring (i.e. receiving tokens), or the comeuppance of "the dangerous paths of Vice" which do bad things to the player. Apart from "Hope" which requires the player to "wait with patience until the next turn."
So the players spin, move, and things happen to them, much like the Game of the Goose. It's quite clear from reading the rules, however, that the moral behind the game is highly flawed. Many of the Virtue spaces reward you with "tokens" yet these tokens have zero bearing on the outcome of the game. It is mentioned that the first player to land on the final space (with the whole if you overshoot you must count back rule in effect) "claims the contents of the bank and wins the game" yet there is no indication of what the tokens are for. The first player to the final space, imaginatively named "Virtue," wins regardless of how many tokens everyone has. This means that you could have systematically landed on every vice space imaginable but if you're first to land on the final space exactly, you win regardless of the number of tokens in the bank. The rules also don't specify how many tokens should go in the bank and with the preponderance of "vice" spaces that send you back often a long way, i.e. to "House of Correction" (space 1) or "Stocks" (space 9) a player skilled in fudging spinner spins could well find themselves with an infinite number of tokens. So even if you insert the house rule that the player with the most tokens wins, the player getting to the end "claims the contents of the bank" and therefore has infinity tokens and wins that way.

So what's the real moral message imparted by this game? That stopping to help and be charitable and nice is all well and good but the victory in life goes to whoever barges through the fastest or to the luckiest player. The attempt at inculcating a set of moral values into the youth of both sexes is undermined by the fact that players don't have to make any active choice; at the end of the day, whoever spins the lucky numbers gets the prize at the end of the day.

I can't help but feel that this kid of explains something about Victorian morality though I can't think what.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 10, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Games, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, Ethics and Morals

The Better Sex

Surely this could be rebooted for 2023 in our absolutely carefree and non-contentious cultural atmosphere.

The Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jan 03, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Games, Rivalries, Feuds and Grudges, Television, Men, Women

Motorway Snooker

In his book Bobby on the Beat, former London policeman Bob Dixon described the game of motorway (or traffic) snooker:

A practice that was occasionally talked about in police canteens was the game of snooker, not table snooker but "traffic snooker". This was a game specifically played by lads in the traffic division, the dreaded speed cops whose main work consisted of dealing with traffic accidents but who also reported motorists for speeding offences. The game the officers played consisted of scoring points, as in table snooker, the numbers depending on the colours of the cars they had reported for speeding during their shift — for example, a red car scored 1 point, a yellow 2 points, and so on, with a black one scoring the maximum 7 points. At the end of a shift, the traffic cars on the division would return to the police garage and the crews totted up their points to find the winner. I never heard what the prize was.

Over the years some drivers have filed complaints, claiming to have been victims of motorway snooker.

Sydney Morning Herald - Sep 11, 1999



Of course, the official position of the British traffic police is that their officers would not engage in such frivolous games. But that even if they did, all the cars they stopped were speeding anyway.

The Herts and Essex Observer - Jan 16, 1992



More info: BBC News

Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 24, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Games, Police and Other Law Enforcement, Cars

Script-Analyzer, the game

1957: Ideal Toy Co. came out with "Script-Analyzer," the game that promised to let kids psychoanalyze their parents through the magic of handwriting analysis.

This, the manufacturer says, enables the child to interpret handwriting and determine whether his parents are talented, influential, friendly, virtuous, and so on.

NY Daily News - Mar 4, 1957



Vancouver Sun - Apr 2, 1957



"A handwriting game being analysed by members of the Ideal Toy panel on Inventor's Day at the Ideal Toy Company in Hollis, New York."



NY Daily News - Mar 5, 1956

Posted By: Alex - Sun Oct 16, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Games, 1950s

Melvin Purvis’s G-Men Detective Game

Play along with current headlines!



The object of the game is to capture the Public Enemy. The player who brings a G-Man together with the Public Enemy wins the game. The game starts with one G-Man chasing the public enemy, but after 30 minutes a second can be brought into play.


More pix and info here.

Melvin Purvis at Wikipedia.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 13, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Crime, Games, 1930s

Dispatcher:  The Board Game

Just as exciting as it sounds!

More info here.



Posted By: Paul - Thu Jun 30, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Boredom, Games, Trains and Other Vehicles on Rails, 1950s

The Gourmet Game

Here's a predecessor for all those competitive cooking shows and restaurant makeover shows.




Each player has his own board, which is in the form of a menu. Dishes include classic haute cuisine and are name in English and French (you'll soon learn the French words and their correct pronunciation). Six cards are dealt to each player, and as a player takes new cards from the deck or does discarded by his opponents he gradually puts together a gourmet meal. To win, however, he must order the right dishes and beverages, and must prevent other players from ordering.



Learn more here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 20, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Food, Games, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1970s

Page 2 of 12 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›




weird universe thumbnail
Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
May 2024 •  April 2024 •  March 2024 •  February 2024 •  January 2024

December 2023 •  November 2023 •  October 2023 •  September 2023 •  August 2023 •  July 2023 •  June 2023 •  May 2023 •  April 2023 •  March 2023 •  February 2023 •  January 2023

December 2022 •  November 2022 •  October 2022 •  September 2022 •  August 2022 •  July 2022 •  June 2022 •  May 2022 •  April 2022 •  March 2022 •  February 2022 •  January 2022

December 2021 •  November 2021 •  October 2021 •  September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •