3D Weekend Five: Games ‘Donians Played

Today’s list brought to you by a 3D contributor:

Name five favorite toys or games from your childhood.  I’ll have to skip this one, since I enjoyed neither toys nor games as a child* — I had my nose in a book all those years.  (Well, at least it wasn’t the same book.)

*Unless you count the ‘tween years, when Carolyn Hirsch swiped her oldest sister’s “Mystery Date” game one Friday.  We didn’t actually play, mind you — it was more about making up personal histories for the guys behind the plastic door.  And that’s a whole other thread.

36 comments to 3D Weekend Five: Games ‘Donians Played

  • Toys? We didn’t have no toys when I was a kid. We were too poor. Had to make do with real stuff. Real guns. Real trucks. Real furry animals. The girls had to make do with real babies instead of dolls. AND WE LIKED IT! Those of us who survived, anyway.

  • Matt Helm

    1. Rock ‘ Em Sock ‘Em Robots – I can still hear the sound of the head being socked.
    2. G.I. Joe – the 12 inch figures.
    3. Evel Knievel action figure and motorcycle (I still have the lunchbox).
    4. The Six Million Dollar Man figure, and space capsule. The Oscar Goldman figure was not so much fun.
    5. The Jaws Game – You had to use a hook to take items out of the shark’s mouth and if the mouth snapped closed on you, you lost.

    • “The Oscar Goldman figure was not so much fun.”

      Let me guess: that’s the one you got. Your brother got Steve Austin.

      I wasn’t a big fan of the “My Dinner with Andre” action figures I got from my maiden aunt, either.

      I remember playing that Jaws game. A lot of fun.

      • Matt Helm

        Ha, My Dinner with Andre action figures. I actually got both. But Steve Austin was probably a birthday gift, or it would have happened the way you mentioned. The reason for the Oscar Goldman figure was I took the exploding briefcase he came with a little too literally, after reading the box. It turned out that there were two compartments you could open: one that was a normal interior with an illustration of the usual stuff you’d find in a briefcase, and then a second one that had an illustration of those same things burned and torn. That was the explosion referenced on the box. I almost exploded when I realized how gypped I was.

  • 1. Six Finger – Man alive, how’d I ever get along with five?
    2. Some mechanical hockey player game. My buddy and I about wore it out.
    3. Monopoly – That game has been around a long time.
    4. Yahtzee
    5. Scrabble
    6. We had an old board game we called Carom, except it had little corner pockets. The “balls” were wooden rings. I never knew what the real rules were. We just made up our own.

  • Floyd

    1. Hotbox. perfect games when you have two baseball gloves and three kids. Throw the ball back and forth and the base runner tries to steal the base…. like a rundown. Awesome.

    2. Smear the queer — now outlawed probably but also known by it’s more PC name as “tackle the man with the football”. Throw the football in the air and whomever catches it better run like hell because he’s gonna get dog-piled by everybody else. Where were my parents? After this – organized tackle football with pads and full grass was a piece of cake.

    3. Cribbage. My Papa taught me cribbage. Love that game…. he’s been dead 24 years now — still have his cribbage board.

    4. Sorry.

    5. Intellivision Baseball

    1. Superhero action 12″ action figures.

    2. WW2 action set called “Battlefield”. It had pillboxes, machine gun nests, barbed wire, gray Germans with potato masher grenades, and green Americans to kick ass of course.

    3. my bicycle — FREEDOM!

    4. Coleco electronic football (it’s agame, but a toy also)

    5. AFX slot race track.

  • Scott M.

    1) Tonka Trucks….these babies were made out of steel,not this plastic made in China shit
    2)GI Joe,Johnny West and Chief Cherokee…action figures!

  • Floyd-
    Yeah. Cribbage. My Dad taught me also. Great card game. We also played Solitaire. We played football without pads and helmets. As the youngest, lightest one, I often was given the ball and flung over the heads of the defense for touchdowns. I assure you, football is a very rough game.

  • Thanks for the expanded inspiration, Floyd (I love excuses)…

    1. The Porvaznik Driveway, Side and Back Yard — multi-purpose landscape at 7814 Raglan hosted football, whiffleball, basketball, pickle, Johnny Bench Batter-up, and much to my father’s chagrin, chip-shot practice.
    2. Smear the Queer/Amateur rugby
    3. Neighborhood Tour de Howland — ahhhh, the many tires I went through.
    4. Husker Du
    5. Yahtzee

    1. Atari whatever — helped tremendously my dad loved video games almost as much as my brother and I. Never had to wait or trade for the big releases and even walked down memory lane on the PS2 last night with some Pole Position for poops and giggles.
    2. Six Million Dollar Man action figure (and capsule)
    3. Viewmasters — Batman adventures ranked high.
    4. Star Wars anything — our relationship isn’t anywhere near what it used to be, but it was nice having a brother only two years younger so we could collect all the goodies Lucas hawked for Eps. IV, V and VI … except Ewoks.
    5. Spider-Man webshooters — of course, when said brother got out of line, these were nice to have handy.

    Many thanks to the slacker Wankette (I also read like a fiend in my younger years. 😉 ) for this fun little exercise in reminiscin’. I blessedly had one of the greatest childhoods any kid could ask to have.

  • 1. +1 on the Tonkas-great construction equipment!
    2. Lionel train set. That plus my dad worked on a railroad doomed me to 20+ years of the same.
    3. Model cars and airplanes.
    4. Real looking cap guns.
    5. Games- Sorry, which did not teach me “sportsmanship”! And my old favorite-Monopoly.
    Sorry became a real bad thing for me, since my children used to beat me at it constantly, which caused me much frustration.

  • Stephanie

    1: Johnny West..remember him? I had everything, General Custer, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Wyatt Earp, Jane West, Johnny and Jane’s niece. All of the horses. THat was a cool toy.
    2: Breyer Horses
    3: Star Wars, including the Millenium Falcon
    4: Atari
    5: 6 Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman…you all may commence to laughing.

  • 1. The Dark Tower – It was advertised on TV by Orson Welles, and it was the only toy I ever had that fully lived up to my expectations. You moved your pieces around the board, exploring tombs and fighting brigands, buying supplies for your armies, and searching for the three keys to the dark tower, which you would assault at the end of the game. I would still play it today.

    2. I want to say my Atari 2600, but I’ll be more specific and choose a game. It came with “Combat,” and that was a great game for two players. With 50-odd variations, you fought each other in tanks or planes (or boats, but those were no fun). The best part was when your opponent got stuck in a corner in their tank and you blasted away.

    3. Stratego – I obsessed over this board game. I’d spend hours planning my set-ups, which I’d write down in a notebook. I loved when my opponent would work their way through a minefield and a colonel or two to find my flag, only to discover it was a lowly captain I was protecting. The flag was in the second row on the other side!

    4. I could name almost any Infocom game, but I’ll go with “Deadline.” It was an amazing game for it’s time (and still is). It was a text adventure a la “Zork,” where you played a detective trying to solve a murder. The game came with police reports, witness statements, and newspaper articles about the crime. You’d wander in and around a mansion looking for clues and questioning suspects. Beating it without a hints book was supremely satsifying.

    5. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons – I played the game with friends, but to me the real joy was in reading the rule books. I still can’t pass them in a bookstore without stopping to browse. (Although modern ones annoy me because they insist on alternating between “he” and “she” when using personal pronouns. Are half of all gamers really female? I suspect not.) I’d create maps, design pantheons, and populate cities for campaigns I had no intention of ever playing through.

    • Too many games to choose from for this guy, very grateful for the Activision Anthology for the Playstation. If, however, a Combat tank had me trapped in the corner to choose just one … River Raid.

    • Matt Helm

      I remember the Dark Tower commercials but never had it. Another favorite was Hangman that Vincent Price did the commercials for. And speaking of him, how could I forget the awesome Vincent Price’s Shrunken Heads that you made with apples.How bizarre was that concept for kids. Then there was (you sunk my…) Battleship. You can still buy that one.

      • Dark Tower was the opposite of the “exploding briefcase” gyp you mentioned (the bane of kid-dom.) It was better than the commercial. My nephews came of age with fancy videogames and they still talk about that game.

  • Kit

    gameboy Pokemon (sorry)
    Goldeneye on Nintendo (Awesome)
    Lincoln Logs
    Toy army men

  • Matt Helm

    I can’t say I had a favorite video game back in the day because even when the Atari technology was cutting edge, I still knew it was garbage. Now that Xbox 360 is here … Bioshock!!!

    And my upcoming new favorite is Batman: Arkham Asylum. Imagine if we had games like this when we were kids … there would be less liberals in the world.


  • Mr Sideous

    Major Matt Mason

  • Matt Helm

    Wanks, you didn’t grow up in Somber Town when the Burgermeister Meisterburger outlawed toys, did you?

    • Okay, so I sounded grim. Stuff’s been coming back to me.
      I had an EZ-Bake Oven; also these metal plates you poured this stuff into & put into a machine & they came out little rubber flowers with grinning faces. Very 60s, obviously.

      And I had Barbies. And a Dawn. I actually participated in the great Barbie-Trade-in, where you traded in your old Barbie for one with a twist & turn waist. Nice way to sucker little girls my age into giving up a potential gold mine later on in life. Bastards.

  • I had the Sunshine Family, a little hippy version of Barbie.
    http://www.plaidstallions.com/mattel/sunshine4.jpg I had the craft truck, you could make macrame plant holders. All the grown ups wore sandals and calico.

    I also had the coolest banana seat Schwinn ever made. Sparkly blue. I wanted a BMX but they wouldn’t get me one, so I learned to jump on mine. I got a concussion, whiplash and several stitches, but I learned.

    Roller skates. I lived on a dead end street so I spent much time doing tricks on my skates and bike.

    My swing set and my trees.

    My babies. I loved to play with my babies. Some things never change.

    Toy I always wanted but never got: the Evel Knievel wind up thing with him on a motorcycle. That thing was so cool.

    We had this old wooden board game called Waa Hoo, that had pictures of American Indians all over it. Same basic game as Sorry but we played with marbles.

    Chinese Checkers

    Spades, my mom taught us early

    Spoons, another card game


    We also played a lot of hide and seek type games and various tag games. My mom was crazy but she did love to have lots of kids in the house and never worried about things getting broke, she just wanted to have fun and played with us.

  • Matt Helm

    “Toy I always wanted but never got: the Evel Knievel wind up thing with him on a motorcycle. That thing was so cool.”

    I had it, and it was ultra cool. Especially when you had the sky’s limit of what you could make him jump. But then again, he had much safer jumps than we made for our bikes.

    When my brothers and I got bored with Evel or G.I. Joe, we’d toss them up in the air to see what strange configurations they landed in. The more articulated joints, the crazier the pose when gravity took over.

    • Tracy and Matt, you’ve awakened a very traumatic experience for me.

      I, too, coveted the Evel Knievel motorcycle complete with ramp. Christmas morning I unwrapped the same thing, really, but the person on the motorcycle was a lousy girl! With long blonde hair! And a pink jumpsuit!

      My parents explained that Santa must have gotten me mixed up with a girl named Michelle, and I was mollified—a little. He does have a lot of kids to keep track of. But I never got the Knievel toy, either.

      • Matt Helm

        Mike, my apologies. That’s a more tragic expense than my sidekick action figures situation as a kid in the 70s. Every morn that I make my hungover, Fred Sanford walk over to the refrigerator, I look at the Evel Knievel lunchbox and feel happy that I didn’t break every bone in my body, to get there.

        • Fred Sanford and the refrigerator. My favorite line from Sanford & Son was when he got sick from eating some collard greens that had been in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Lamont asked him why he ate them.

          Fred: “I had to. They were stinking up the place!”

      • But now you’d love to find a girl with blonde hair and a pink jumpsuit under your tree. How things change.

  • Rufus

    I hate missing out on these every weekend:

    I had hours and hours of fun with my Matt Mason astronaut action figures. (My mom forbid me from playing with guns. I couldn’t even get those cool, tiny plastic army men. I got little plastic knights.) Lincoln Logs and my motorized erector set were very cool. As Outlaw and I discussed months ago, the vertibird (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertibird) was the coolest toy ever invented. I still wish I had that one. Best toy ever. I also loved board games that took forever to play; Risk, Monopoly, chess… Also, my purple, banana seat bike with the sissy bar (which I’ve written about at DH’s place). Unbelievably cool, and, as Floyd wrote, “freedom.”

    I loved any activity where I got to run a lot. We called Floyd’s Hotbox game “running bases.” I loved capture the flag and bombardment (dodge ball). I was fast and lived to be the guy everyone was trying to catch. Loved being the last one left in dodgeball, holding a ball to deflect the hundreds being thrown at me and jumping, rolling, diving to stay alive. We played a lot of cops and robbers on our bikes. It was Chicago so the robbers were always famous, local gangsters. We also played hours, and hours, and hours of 500 with a 16″ softball. Tackling was allowed. And we played in a city street. On concrete. Played more basketball than anything, but we also played a heck of a lot of football in the street. I love the Bill Cosby bit about playing football, “you go down to the corner, catch the 27 bus, have the driver open the door at 35th street, I’ll fake it to you…” That’s exactly how our games went. When I was a teen we started playing tackle football with a frisbee, rather than a football. It was great fun because you had plenty of time to key on the receiver while he stood there, waiting for the thing to come down.

    Oh yes, we also played hours, and hours, and hours of “front stoop baseball.” You threw a rubber ball against the concrete, front stoop in front of your house and your opponent tried to field the ball. We’d play entire, nine inning games, calling the play by play for all our favorite players. I was the Sox, my buddy was the Cubs.

    One more tremendously fun game… You spray paint a strike zone on a brick wall and a line on the ground about 60′ away. You use a rubber ball. The pitcher throws and the batter tries to get hits. Ideally you have two men on a side. If the batter doesn’t swing and the ball’s in the strike zone it’s a strike. We would play entire nine inning games, pitching the whole game every single day in the Summer, sometimes pitching more than one game a day.

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