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Friday, July 17, 2015


I often wax nostalgic on this blog, but truth is things weren’t really better in the “old days” they were just different.  They were only better in our memories. 

Spencer, my 17 year old crank, plays “Madden Football” on a PlayStation computer thing.  It has amazing graphics and realistic football playing conditions.  How could the old football games we used to have possible be better?  They weren’t, except they were in my memory.

We had three popular football board games that I remember.

There was “Photo-Electric Football.”

In this two player game each had a series of offense plays and a set of defenses on sheets of special paper.  The player on offense would lay his “play” on a simulated field; the defense player would lay his defense on top.  The “play” and the “defense” was not apparent until you turned on a light projection under the field, and slowly pulled out a cardboard piece allowing the light through.  When the defense card had a player that crossed the offense play, it was a tackle. 
Anyway, hard to visualize, but that was the basics of the game.  It did not take long for the cards to be marked or bent, and defenses would be laid on top of an offense just off kilter enough to stuff a play that ordinarily was effective against the same defense.

It was a good game, but it was flawed.

Then there was “Electric football.”

In this game each team had eleven players with slanted rubber “feet.” The players were placed on a board which when turned on vibrated and caused the players with the slanted rubber feet to move forward. When the offense and defenses were in place, the board was turned on and the players started to move.  When a defensive player pushed through the blockers and touched the ball carrier it was a tackle.  Some players tended to run straight ahead, some tended to take wide circles.  Some were faster than others.  It took forever to set up and run a single play.  This game was best when playing alone with nothing but a ten year olds imagination.

The board game I liked the best was “Pro Football Quarterback” I have posted about it before @  

This game combined the offense and defense play selection of Photo-Electric Football with the luck of rolling dice.  Once plays were selected, each player rolled some dice, and the combined total of the dice determined the success of the play.

I remembered this game as the greatest board game ever, and when my sons were ten and twelve, I found it for sale at a local store.  I bought it for Christmas.  I was looking forward to showing my boys what a great board game was all about.

I bragged about what a great game this was.  It required skill, strategy, and a little bit of luck…just like the real game…way better than “Pac Man” or any of those stupid computer games.

I first showed the game and rules to Matt, my ten year old, a lad who had the reputation of possessing good luck.  I explained that if you used certain plays against certain defenses your chance of success would be minimal.

Matt won the toss and took possession of the ball.  I knew how the ten year old mind works, and knew what play he would call.  I would teach him a lesson of patience and strategy.  He would pick a Hail Mary long pass on his first play, so I picked the best pass defense card I had.

He showed his play.  I anticipated correctly. 

“See Matt, that play is for a last ditch situation where time is running out and you need an all or nothing play.  It is not a good play to use on your very first play.  If you roll anything but triple sixes it will be incomplete and if you roll less than ten I get an interception.”

“OK, let’s roll.”

It came up triple sixes…TOUCHDOWN!!

“Great, but you were so lucky, that was not the way to play.”

“It worked!”

When I got the ball, I ran up the middle on the first play and our roll came up triple ones…fumble and Matt recovers.

“See, the run isn’t so safe.”


On his second offensive play, Matt once again used the Hail Mary like I knew he would.  I used my best pass defense.

“I knew you would try the same play. That is just not the way to play!”

“Let’s roll.”

Triple sixes…TOUCHDOWN!!

Without saying a word, I packed up all the offense and defense plays, and the dice, put them away in the game, folded it up, snapped it shut, and it was never played again

“I don’t know Dad; I don’t think the game is that much fun.”


  1. I had Electric Football. I thought you were supposed to leave it on until the ball carrier scored a touchdown. We weren't much for reading instructions in our house.

  2. I'm not good at games, board or computer. I just don't think fast enough.

  3. Sometimes I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about ...

  4. give me monopoly or a deck of cards for concentration any day.

  5. I never played football games, but I know what it's like trying to share something you like with your child. Your passion usually isn't matched.

  6. Bwahahahahahahahahaha. I love the things that happen at your house. Never a dull moment.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

  7. It is interesting how games have evolved over time due to technology; I think somethings the "old fashioned" games are so much more better in teaching kids things than the ones played nowadays on the computer.


  8. I remember the time my stepdad taught my brother and me how to play poker.
    He was out of matches after the first five hands.
    Then he taught us hearts.

    After a week we couldn't find a deck of cards in the house, except for pinochle cards.
    He wouldn't teach us.

  9. My brother had electric football. Noisy as hell!

  10. Kids. They also are the only ones who can fix our computers. Scary. We better be nice to them!

  11. Why am I reminded of the line from the old movie, WAR GAMES, when the computer asks Matthew Broderick, "How about a nice game of chess?"

  12. Really think you ought to take your son to Vegas. Hopefully his "luck" has stayed with him.
    Never played any football games but Madden does sound appealing.

  13. Joe, delete at will, but this reminded me of back in '82 at Cal., when the oldest then 7 went with me to a night class for fortran......she was quickly more adept than me, and later is on to theoretical math and physics, now a prof.

  14. Oh gosh---I remember that electric football game! My brother had something like that. My hubs loves to play the Madden football game on the Wii.


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