Toys, along with music and movies, act as the nearest thing to a time machine we have.
Since joining ToyNews, I’ve had more childhood flashbacks than ever in my life, and all have been triggered by the mention of products.
A recent hunt for a Twister mat sent me up into our attic at the weekend (should never have gone, turns out I’m crap at Twister), I stumbled across a load of games that I used to play as a child and there were some suprises.
My top rediscovery, and worryingly my favourite game as a teen, was Mid-Life Crisis from a firm called The Game Works.
"Can you survive your mid-life crisis without cracking up, breaking up or going broke?" read the tagline while a caution on the box claims "the life you play may be your own. For some strange reason, this spoke to my 14 year old self.
But, like the book from The Babadook or the VHS from The Ring, I have no way of knowing how this game entered the house. I didn’t buy it and my parents claim to never seen it before. But finding it again, I remembered just how much I played it (the tower of filled out game sheets are a testament to this).
Now some finds were stranger than others (I’m looking at you Coronation Street Monopoly), but some reminded me how much I used to enjoy playing games that weren’t ‘for me’. Now I don’t mean in the Mid-Life Crisis sense, but more in the way that some teens may have sneak into Fifty Shades of Grey earlier this year.
The key example of this is Saint or Sinner, another weekend discovery. The cocktail of ‘contains working lie detector’, ‘aged 18+’ and the word ‘naked’ on the box made it a no-brainer for my young self and other mates to play.
I actually played it again this weekend, and this time around I’m doubtful of the accuracy of the lie detetctor (if the game is to be believed, I’ve danced naked in front of the mirror, sucked a lover’s toe and starred in a porno. Granted, one of those is true, but I’ll let you decide).
It’s a factor of gameplaying which I think still exists today. While kids and teens are always going to try and see movies that are too old for them, or listen to music with swearing in (gasp!), games I think still can fall into this.
I know my cousin (aged 13) is a massive Cards Against Humanity fan and since I gave away my old Atmosfear DVD game to him and my younger cousins, they love it (it’s aged 12 on the box but I can vouch that a nine year old can grasp it without being emotionlly disturbed).
I suppose the reason I bring all this up, aside from conjuring up images of nude moonwalking, is that the products you create have more power than just play value. They have the power to transport you back to times you’ve forgotten, or memories you won’t have revisited since they happened in real time. It’s special stuff.
Also, on a different note, I’m off to ChiTAG next week to cover the five days of the show and get stories, opinions and interviews with any inventors attending. So if you’re going and fancy a chat, do drop me a line at BLangsworthy@nbmedia.com.
Oh, and I wasn’t lying about the Twister skills. As the below shows, I was seriously struggling with a fairly routine left hand: red, right hand: green, left foot: blue, right foot: red combo (excuse the arse):