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Game trivia

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  • Bob Scherer-Hoock
    One of my daughters gave me a copy of the recently published book The Game Makers, a history of Parker Brothers, for Christmas. I just got around to starting
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 11, 2004
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      One of my daughters gave me a copy of the recently published book "The
      Game Makers," a history of Parker Brothers, for Christmas. I just got
      around to starting to read it, and I'm finding it fascinating.
      Obviously it's interesting to me because of the game history, but also
      because it has smatterings of North Shore history interspersed, and
      because back in my struggling schoolboy days I worked part time as a
      house cleaner at the home of Robert Barton and Sally Parker (George
      Parker's daughter) on Marblehad Neck, and their son Randolph Barton's
      home in Manchester (not yet know as Manchester-by-the-Sea), all of
      whom are prominently featured in the book (both Bartons were
      presidents of Parker Brothers).

      Anyway, I'm only up to 1910, still well before Monopoly and the
      Depression, but I'm learning many things I hadn't heard before about
      Parker's history. Maybe you all have heard these before, but here are
      three facts in the book that I got a kick out of, posed as trivia
      questions so you can mull them a bit. Answers later this week:

      1) In 1902 Parker Brothers published a game that brought in so much
      money the brothers were able to buy out all non-family investors,
      purchase the manufacturing facility on Bridge Street in Salem that
      they had been renting up until that time, and buy land around the
      plant for future expansion (that would be the home of Parker Brothers
      until Hasbro shut it down in the last decade). What game was it?
      (Hint: the game capitalized on the invention of celluloid, which
      Thomas Edison was also using at about the same time to make the first
      movie film.)

      2) In 1903 the famous psychic Edgar Cayce contacted George Parker
      about publishing a card game he had invented. Parker assumed Cayce's
      card game would have something to do with fortune-telling. Parker was
      wrong. They agreed to meet and he was impressed enough with Cayce's
      game at their meeting to purchase rights to it on the spot, and they
      parted with Parker never seeing Cayce again. The card game became a
      huge hit upon publication. What game was it? (Hint: I wouldn't be
      surprised if many of you have played it, as it is still around today.)

      3) In 1909 Parker Brothers decided to stop production of all board and
      card games. Why?

      I'll restrain myself from spoiling the book any further for anyone who
      wants to read it, except to say it also mentions that George Parker's
      first game was a self-published card game that had a press run of 500
      copies. It made me think of all those "limited edition" games that we
      rush for out of Essen (given a good word or two) and leaves me
      wondering if any of them will spawn a game company that will last 100
      years.

      Bob Scherer-Hoock
    • jmhuber_2000
      ... Seconded. Megan gave me a copy for Christmas, and I finished it on the 28th. Really enjoyable book - lots of information I d never seen before. About
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 11, 2004
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        "Bob Scherer-Hoock" <bobshoock@c...> wrote:
        > One of my daughters gave me a copy of the recently published
        > book "The Game Makers," a history of Parker Brothers, for
        > Christmas. I just got around to starting to read it, and I'm
        > finding it fascinating.

        Seconded. Megan gave me a copy for Christmas, and I finished it on
        the 28th. Really enjoyable book - lots of information I'd never seen
        before. About the only thing it didn't cover that I wish it had was
        more of the history of some games (Game of Politics in particular).

        > 2) In 1903 the famous psychic Edgar Cayce contacted George Parker
        > about publishing a card game he had invented. Parker assumed Cayce's
        > card game would have something to do with fortune-telling. Parker
        > was wrong. They agreed to meet and he was impressed enough with
        > Cayce's game at their meeting to purchase rights to it on the spot,
        > and they parted with Parker never seeing Cayce again. The card game
        > became a huge hit upon publication. What game was it? (Hint: I
        > wouldn't be surprised if many of you have played it, as it is still
        > around today.)

        This is one of the things I _did_ know, oddly enough.

        > I'll restrain myself from spoiling the book any further for anyone
        > who wants to read it, except to say it also mentions that George
        > Parker's first game was a self-published card game that had a press
        > run of 500 copies.

        ...which, to be honest, sounds interesting enough that I'd like to
        give it a play.

        Joe
      • randycoxclemson
        ... So, Bob, do we get the answers and end the suspense?
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 22, 2004
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          --- "Bob Scherer-Hoock" <bobshoock@c...> wrote:
          > Answers later this week:

          So, Bob, do we get the answers and end the suspense?
        • Bob Scherer-Hoock
          ... Whoops. Sorry Randy - Too busy finishing the book, the latter part of which does a pretty fair job of explaining the current state of the game industry, at
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 23, 2004
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            --- In Unity_Games@yahoogroups.com, "randycoxclemson"
            <randycoxclemson@y...> wrote:
            > --- "Bob Scherer-Hoock" <bobshoock@c...> wrote:
            > > Answers later this week:
            >
            > So, Bob, do we get the answers and end the suspense?

            Whoops. Sorry Randy - Too busy finishing the book, the latter part of
            which does a pretty fair job of explaining the current state of the
            game industry, at least as it applies to large companies.

            For those of you who prefer to read this for yourself in the book,
            "The Game Makers - A History of Parker Brothers," then please read no
            further.

            The answer to the trivia questions offered last week are:

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            1) In 1902 Parker Brothers published a game that brought in so much
            money the brothers were able to buy out all non-family investors,
            purchase the manufacturing facility on Bridge Street in Salem that
            they had been renting up until that time, and buy land around the
            plant for future expansion (that would be the home of Parker Brothers
            until Hasbro shut it down in the last decade). What game was it?
            (Hint: the game capitalized on the invention of celluloid, which
            Thomas Edison was also using at about the same time to make the first
            movie film.)

            Answer: Ping-Pong, although Parker Bros. quickly saw sales plummet
            when other companies came out with cheaper versions under the generic
            name Table Tennis because Parker had failed to secure adequate patent
            and trademark rights - the company worked very hard never to repeat
            that mistake. Also, I found it interesting that, allegedly, a number
            of Ping-Pong sets were purchased because people liked the way the
            balls incinerated on contact with a match.

            2) In 1903 the famous psychic Edgar Cayce contacted George Parker
            about publishing a card game he had invented. Parker assumed Cayce's
            card game would have something to do with fortune-telling. Parker was
            wrong. They agreed to meet and he was impressed enough with Cayce's
            game at their meeting to purchase rights to it on the spot, and they
            parted with Parker never seeing Cayce again. The card game became a
            huge hit upon publication. What game was it? (Hint: I wouldn't be
            surprised if many of you have played it, as it is still around today.)

            Answer: Edgar Cayce invented Pit.

            3) In 1909 Parker Brothers decided to stop production of all board and
            card games. Why?

            Answer: The company needed all available manufacturing space for the
            lastest fad,its Pastime Puzzles - jigsaw puzzles that were made out of
            plywood, were individually made, and were hand-cut. By shutting down
            board and card game production, space was created for 225 jigsaw
            machines operated by women stitchers hired away from local shoe
            factories (same skill set, apparently). The book has a picture of rows
            of "Pastime Puzzle girls," each of whom was expected to cut 1,400
            pieces per nine-hour workday. (There was no mention of any count of
            lost fingers.) The puzzles were sold in plain boxes with only a
            description of the picture on the puzzle (no picture on the outside)
            and a "rough count" of the number of pieces.

            Bob Scherer-Hoock
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