About The Game
Back in the 1960s I was a young child and I played The Game of LIFE a lot. It was my favorite game.
I believe there are Monopoly People and LIFE people–I was a LIFE person. I enjoyed the story line.
The first idea of a parody came to me when I was 10 years old. It was 1968 and the United States was deep in the Vietnam War. There were protesters in the streets and the war was televised every night. I have three older sisters so they were worried about their boyfriends getting drafted.
I wondered: why isn't WAR in The Game of LIFE? WAR seemed to be a big issue and the game was called LIFE.
I also thought it would be an interesting space. You land on a space that says YOU'RE DRAFTED! And I imagined that your player would go down a different path than the other players. Spaces like: Stuck in a swamp, shot at, step on a land mine, etc...
Why was WAR not in a game called LIFE?
Then off to high school. I met a wonderful girl and after a year of dating we started having sex every weekend. I thought this was great!
But I wondered: Why is sex not in The Game of LIFE? Where is LOVE? My eldest sister had a baby and I wondered where is childbirth? In The Game of LIFE you have all these babies but the woman does not go through childbirth. That's just not REAL. Uh oh, here we go.
What if I made a game of REAL Life?
(Back to the 60s real quick. My Uncle Ed made a board game about golf. He sent a prototype to my parents looking for investors. So I think he planted the seed in my brain that anyone can just make a board game. Thanks, Uncle Ed.)
Off to college. Where I started smoking Marijuana and drinking alcohol.
Why aren't drugs in The Game of LIFE?
My parents both smoked tobacco and drank. They were the cool 50s jet-setters.
I thought: if I include coffee and sugar, drugs are a big part of life. We start the day with coffee, we have a candy bar during the day and maybe a drink in the evening.
So the idea of a REAL game of LIFE was in my head and I started keeping notebooks. As I would see something or experience something I would jot it down in my notebooks.
I remember seeing a candy bar commercial. The commercial showed a child doing their homework getting tired, nodding off and the narrator says," It's 4:30pm. Another hour before dinner.
Have a (candy bar brand)! It will pick you right up!"
I thought: they are just selling drugs. Sugar/ chocolate is the drug. They aren't even saying it tastes good. They are saying it will "pick you right up." Drugs.
So, WAR, SEX and DRUGS. These were the first big ideas. That's why they are the cornerstones of my game.
I finished college and pursued a career in musical theater.
(Another jump back to my childhood.
I played a Game called Careers. Careers was like The Game of LIFE–players went down a path. But at the beginning of Careers you chose what you wanted your objective to be: Fame, Money or Happiness.
I thought, "I can have HAPPINESS as an objective!? I love that!"
I used to take all Happiness and never win the game but I didn't care. So that was the first thought in my new game of LIFE: Happiness is the objective not money.
Later, Dungeons and Dragons(D&D) started up with role playing. I never really played D&D. It started just as I was going off to college and I met no one at college playing. But I liked the idea of having "hit" points and playing a character.)
My acting career over, I now took some time to create my new Game of REAL LIFE. Trivial Pursuit was popular at the time. So I sat down and started making all these cards based on age range: birth to 3, 4 to 7, 8 to 12, 13 to 18, etc... And I tried to get everything on these cards: gender, race, religion, nature, zodiac sign, culture, body type, moods, emotions, relationships, street smarts, everything. I realized to get everything on these cards would create 8 billion people. It did not work. So I put the game away into my closet.
Years later I thought, "What if I just make a parody of The Game of LIFE?" Imitate the path; have the GET MARRIED space but you have a choice; keep the job section but put in real jobs like garbage collector and prostitute; make money a minor part of the game; call "hit" points HEALTH POINTS and
HAPPINESS WINS THE GAME!!!
It all started coming together.
I drew the path on a big piece of paper and just wrote in each space.
I was working at a group home for people with disabilities at the time and the manager, Karen, used to throw parties for the staff. So I beta tested the game at these parties.
My friend, Kevin, started a graphic design company and I was his first client. He did the graphic design for the board and box.
I live in Eugene, Ore and we have a weekly handmade crafts market called Saturday Market. I did not have enough money to get the game manufactured, but I had enough money to hand make 50 games and sell them at the Saturday Market Holiday Market in December
I sold them all and I have been making and selling games for 23 years.