I’m sure everyone has one game in their mind that they loathe. That no matter what game they play it can not be worse than that game. For me it’s “Going-Going Crazy”. While I was attending Normandale Community College in Minnesota, I worked at a board game store called “Games By James”. One day I started to get a flood of middle aged women coming in asking for this game. We had never heard of it before. Apparently some local TV talk show host had plugged it that morning, and now all of the Minneapolis area was gullible enough to want a copy.
My boss, the owner of the small store, saw the commotion and promptly ordered a couple of cases of the game, rushed them in and we were all set for the big rush. As was customary, us sales associates whipped open a copy of the game so we could properly inspect it and see what all the fuss was about so that we could better sell it.
So what was it? What was so great about this game?
The game consists of a spinner that says forward and backward, a couple of dice, a deck of cards, a board with two single tracks of squares, and a couple of pawns. On your turn you spin the spinner to determine your direction, and then roll the dice to see how far you go (or if you don’t like the idea of rolling dice for whatever reason, you could draw a card instead that had numbers on it). The first player to reach the end of the track wins. That’s it. Nothing more. I was shocked.
This was passing for a game? There was no “game” here, just a meaninglesss excersise in following the rules. There was no humor or theme to carry the game, like you see in other “roll and move” games. Nor was there any sort of choice given to the players to add even the remotest amount of skill. There was nothing.
I can’t tell you how many people came back trying to return thier copies of the game. Fortunantly for us we had a very clear open box policy, or we would surely have had to eat the price of all of those. When I left the store two years later, we still had a few copies of the game lying around, because as word spread people wised up and stopped buying it.
This kind of game is the reason that gaming is not a major pass time in the United States. Lots of mainstream folks look upon all games as if they are just another Going-Going Crazy: boring, stupid, and monotonous. To the designer of this game I say “shame on you”. Your game did live up to its name, by driving this store clerk and her customers absolutely crazy with rage and disgust for your product.
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