Purple Stuff Podcast Episode 15: Board Game Memories


Subscribe at iTunes, Podbean, and Stitcher!

Growing up in the ’80s, board games were in a huge boom period. A game like Life or Pictionary was required to be available in your home in case any guests wanted to take part in some wacky, competitive diversions. Although Travel Boggle and Tiddly Winks are NOT mentioned in the latest episode of The Purple Stuff Podcast, Matt and I do go back in time digging into our memory banks to discuss some of our own board game memories!

While I love Monopoly and Scrabble as much as the next person, I was more into games like Candy Land and Memory. I was a simple kid and anything to intricate or in-depth was an immediate turn off for me. I liked not being too committed to games that made you read intense directions comprised of IKEA-like diagrams with fonts the size of The Atom. Some games took forever to complete, while others were nonchalantly breezed through, providing just the right amount of mild, temporary entertainment. I prefer the latter.

In the episode, Matt brings up some of his favorite games, including the cult-favorite, Fireball Island. You’ll notice a pattern in Matt’s picks since most of them can double as action figure playsets! My choices weren’t nearly as cohesive with each other, aside from the fact that they all helped to uncover some deep seeded revelations for me, as suppressed animosity from a couple of games rose to the surface. It sounds way more serious than it really is, because I actually just wound up ragging on a few games that used to annoy me. Listen to the show to hear all of our selections!

Thanks for stopping by! I know you have some favorite board games from when you were a kid, so tell us some of them in the comments!

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 89: Boardwalk Empire

Steve Gelenter’s Boardwalk Empire/Monopoly parody T-shirt Design

The incomparable artist Tom Krohne aka @Monsterfink recently tweeted about how awesome the ShirtPunch.com site is. Until reading his tweet I had never heard of it so I typed it in and what I found was not just a typical ironic t-shirt store.

Shirt Punch offers a new t-shirt every day and once each shirt is sold out…they’re gone FOREVER! That’s a cool concept since it makes the shirts more rare and original rather than having the chance that every other person has the same t-shirt. Artists can sign up and submit their art and also make a commission off the sale. In today’s case, New Jersey artist and graphic designer Steve Gelenter of CoDdesigns came up with one of the coolest t-shirt designs ever in our NJ T-shirt column.

His Boardwalk Empire parody incorporates the Monopoly connection to Atlantic City. The Rich Uncle Pennybags is modeled after Nucky Thompson while underneath the graphic there’s a quote that reads “When the bankers weren’t looking the outlaws became kings!”

Steve changed the name of some of the properties including Atlantic City Boardwalk in place of simply Boardwalk, Capone’s Place instead of Park Place, Chalky’s Tax (named after Chalky White) instead of Luxury Tax, and it’s all accented by the crime scene outline of a dead body. Unfortunately his design sold out in no time so all we can do now is beg for him to sell it elsewhere!

Monopoly Cake via Retroist

monopoly,atlantic city
via Retroist via Hannah Gibbons’ Flickr (thecakemaiden)

This is a beautifully crafted Monopoly cake by Hannah Gibbons that I found at The Retroist. Monopoly is one of the most famous board games of all time and many of the street names on the board are actually in Atlantic City, NJ. (Anyone want to buy Baltic Ave.?)

“When Monopoly was devised in the 1930’s, Atlantic City was chosen because it epitomized the kind of glittering tourist destination that many Depression-era Americans could only fantasize about visiting.”

Kocieniewski, David. and Fleisher, Linda. “Atlantic City May Lose in New Monopoly.” NY Times
28 Apr. 2006: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/28/nyregion/28monopoly.html

Strip Monopoly is Fun and Entertaining

Monopoly is said to be the most played board game in the world. I’m sure there are still at least a few folks out there who have no idea that many of the streets and a couple of the railroad lines on the classic Monopoly board were named after ones that actually existed in Atlantic City during the time the game was conceived in the 1930’s. Many of the streets are still there, so the next time you go to A.C and you blow all your cash, you can then take your own Monopoly driving tour for FREE! Just a word to the wise – don’t pull a Clark Griswold and ask a random stranger to give you directions back onto the Expressway. That’s a bad move.

In honor of the new Monopoly header that I made, here’s a clip of a game of Strip Monopoly – the version not endorsed by Hasbro. Monopoly does tend to get a little boring after you’ve been playing for 3 1/2 hours and no one has gone bankrupt yet, so why not spice it up a bit? Maybe getting stuck in this jail won’t be so bad! Remember to wear a thimble though!

A Sexy Game of Strip Monopoly by Liv FilmsMore amazing videos are a click away

Rules of Strip Monopoly
Hasbro’s Official Monopoly Website

Game Night Candy

Recently, Mrs. Sexy Armpit came across quite a unique item while on a routine shopping spree at Target. I was amazed that she found these “Classic Hasbro Games Game Night Candy,” considering I was just thinking how we could really use some candy in the shape of board game pieces for our candy dishes that coincidentally are in the shape of board game pieces as well. Needless to say, it was a brilliant find on her part.

I realize that most of the children consuming this candy won’t be critiquing the companies choice in naming their product, but damn, couldn’t they have shortened the name? How about just Board Game Candy? It’s obvious that the mini cardboard boxes made to look like board games, which are clearly visible through the CLEAR cellophane wrapper, didn’t make their point abundantly clear so they deemed it necessary to have an inordinately descriptive name. Let’s just say they definitely overcompensated on the name to make up for the products shortcomings.
Inside these mini versions of Clue, Monopoly, Life, and Operation, are tiny Pez-like candies in the shape of board game pieces. Comparing this candy to Pez is way too kind, it’s more accurate to say these candies can be used as soap for you action figure’s bathtub. They very badly want to be a Sweet Tart, but the novelty aspect is far superior than the low grade candy itself. As far as this candy being a good choice to snack on during board game night, that’s a definitive NO. If you’re at the store, you’re better off buying a gigantic 34 lb bag of Skittles and hightail it out of there.
I got a little weirded out when I opened the Operation box. The last time I played Operation was nearly 10 years ago during an all night nostalgic board game frenzy. All I know is that there were bones involved, as well as a few other foreign objects, but there was NO frogs or birds that I had to fetch out of the dude’s body. I always felt bad for that creepy guy we’ve been operating on. All us kids have been poking into his body for years and years. If I were him, I’m pretty sure I would have gotten fed up by this point and said “This isn’t what I signed up for,” while my boss at Hasbro replies “actually, this is exactly what you signed up for, I have your 2- stipulation contract right here, 1) eternally nude 2) constantly probed, tweezed, and judged…so you lose!”
As you can see here, the Operation candy included
blue birds and only 2 green frogs, but no bones anywhere!

The Operation Game History at Hasbro.com offered some insight. Unbeknownst to me, Operation was updated in 2008 to add “funatomy” parts. This means nothing to me. Changing anything about a classic game like Operation is like changing the formula to our beloved breakfast cereals. When are these companies going to learn not to f-ck with Trix, Fruit Loops, Fruity Pebbles, and they sure as hell shouldn’t mess with our board games. I can handle the breadbox, butterflies, and whatever other silly objects are in the original game, but birds and frogs? That’s exactly what our youth needs, a game informing them that when people get older and need Operations, all they have to do is remove the birds and frogs that are fluttering and leaping around in the persons body.

Name That Tune Eighties DVD Game Review


Could Name That Tune Eighties DVD game triumph over RIFF the reigning champion of DVD music trivia games? Will it’s bargain basement price tag of $7.99 (I got a deal on amazon it’s usually $25.00!) prove to be a sign of weakness? We’ll see how it unfolds in this review.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why this game sucks royally. I usually find DVD games amusing even though they’re notorious for churning out repeat questions and having fairly long loading times. Fortunately, load times were fast on this one but some questions that came up were significantly difficult especially for the unnatural amount of trivia that resides in my cluttered attic of a brain. Other than those few gems the game is super easy. I did get the same question a few times and it was the first time I played the damn game! Another gripe I had is the way the scores are announced isn’t as easy to understand as in RIFF. A few times, I found myself wondering if the score was even accurate.

Name That Tune Eighties provides at the very least, a few different options not usually seen in music trivia games. First is the option to play a 25, 50, or 80 point game, depending on how much time you have to waste. Players also have the option to steal points from their opponent, play for bonus points, or go double or nothing, while the standard question rakes in 5 points.

Among other strikes against it, this game omits a simple yet important feature. When you get a question wrong the game doesn’t provide the correct answer! That was probably my biggest disappointment with the game since there’s times that I’m able to remember stuff just because it was the answer to a trivia question in a recent game I played. Name That Tune not only fails with frequent repeat questions but it also gives variations on the same questions which is worse! At least a repeat question can be forgiveable but if you know anything about the Georgia Satellites you might be the heavyweight champ of this game. Obviously, no one should know that much about the Georgia Satellites.

Here’s an example of one of it’s lame questions: “Listen to the song and try to remember who sang it.” A royalty free muzaky version of the Miami Vice theme song plays. Naturally the correct answer is the songs composer Jan Hammer. There’s no lyrics in the instrumental song so the game should’ve been smart enough to modify it’s question.

’80s trivia is not all bad. One feather in it’s cap is that you can steal points away from your opponent and you’re ability to bet on your chances of answering the question. You only have a few chances to do that so don’t blow through them too quickly. The game also features other music trivia in addition to the general “Name That Tune” questions. Considering it’s flaws I’ll admit that I still had a good time playing this game but it doesn’t come close to the heated arguments that have arisen from bouts of RIFF! I’ll recommend giving it a try only since it’s price was so reasonable. Don’t let the glow of the covers flashy neon fool you, if it’s over $10 you’re getting ripped off.

RIFF The Music Trivia DVD Game Review

It’s possible you might spend up to 3 hours intensely debating which singers left their bands to become actors. It could seem mind blowing to find out that Tupac was murdered before the advent of Napster. Did the lyric to that song contain the word BLEED or BREATHE? It all seems inconsequential, but not if you’re a hard core music fiend or just an avid trivia buff. I consider myself both and if you’re anything like me then I totally recommend purchasing RIFF, The Music Trivia DVD game.

Unfortunately they aren’t paying me or giving me a kickback to promote their game but it’s one of the better games that has been released in the past few years. I’ve had this game for a couple of years already and each time I play it debates and heated discussions take place. Music trivia games tend not to have a high re-playability factor and usually DVD games get old quick. With DVD games it’s typical to get repeat questions and play the game once or twice and never play it again. If you’re playing with a group or your significant other RIFF will surprise you by how fun it is. Depending on the level of useless knowledge you retain, some of the questions may seem excruciatingly hard while others may seem so easy that Vince Clortho could blow through them without any prodding from Egon. You’ll be put to the test with all different kinds of questions dealing with everything from Heavy Metal and Gospel, to album covers and song lyrics.

One reviewer on the Target site complained that the game repeats itself, but that isn’t always accurate. I’ve played the game a ton of times and only had a handful of repeat questions. When you’re working with a DVD game you’re bound to have a repeat. After your hard fought victory you can walk the halls of Hard Rock Café’s ROCK VAULT which is a cool feature that displays pictures and trivia from Hard Rock’s collection of memorabilia. I find Riff to be as engaging as Scene It and it can definitely stand up with the big boys like Trivial Pursuit. Riff is a must have for music fans so track it down if you can and let me know what you think!