Pure magnetic fun

On the continued theme of wholesome fun from the past, I’m postponing murderous fun to focus on the power of magnetism, before I have to pack these games away for several weeks.

Long ago, there were people who could have come up with a Nintendo Wii or a Sony X Box, if only the technology existed. But, in the early 1950s one of those creative geniuses worked for a toy company called Merit, and had the vision to propel games into the sixth decade of the 20th century through the creative use of magnets – the precursor to the computer chip.

This was the golden age of the motor car, so what could be more inspiring than the chance to drive! In the safety of your own home! Thus, he gave us…Driving Test!

A game where boys drive cars and girls look on in admiration, hoping that one day they might ride beside a gentleman driver they could call their own in this world of white people.

This genius game has a gear stick or shift stick so you can drive the car around the board, taking care not to knock over the little policeman or bus stops. In the name of breaking glass ceilings, I dared to drive myself.

Look, we’re going north on Palace Road.

Now we’re crossing the circle and I just realized in my Americanized state I’m driving on the right hand side! That policeman should arrest me except he fears for his life.

I’m going to exit down Lime Street before he chases me – and yes, when you pull the gear stick in the opposite direction the car magically turns around.

Now I’m parking in my garage and running upstairs for a G&T to calm my nerves. Hope my husband doesn’t find out!

Next up…the Amazing Magic Robot.

This small plastic figure, who has sadly lost an arm, will use his magic rod to great effect.

Simply pop him in the magic circle and turn to your question.

Then remove him and put him on the magic mirror…he twists shakily and then points to the correct answer. He’s never wrong!

Find out which state is called the Golden State, who discovered the cure for rabies, and which drink is made from molasses!

Now, I understand how driving test works…there’s a little mechanism with a magnet and the cars respond to it.

But how on earth does magic robot work? Can someone tell me?

5 responses to “Pure magnetic fun”

  1. Dave says:

    magnets – the precursor to the computer chip

    Excellent.

  2. Rogan says:

    Those games look fun, and make me think of the smell of my grandparents’ house.

  3. Dave says:

    I’ve seen both those games in action. The Magic Robot is magic but really, really boring. Driving Test is actually pretty awesome.

    I think the best physical-action-packaged-like-a-board-game game has got to be Hungry Hungry Hippos. No magnets, though.

  4. Jeremy says:

    i love the design of that game.

    it’s amazing how far games have progressed and, simultaneously perhaps, devolved, no?

  5. Jenomnibus says:

    Those games are such great works of art – the drawings (JZ, is that what you are referring to?) are so beautiful and stylized, I would even hang them on my wall. It’s interesting that they were able to spend the time manufacturing such an intricate system.

    My favorite electronic game was Operation. I don’t recall ever having played it properly with rules and all, but I liked taking the little bones out of the guy and trying not to make it buzz.