‘Star Wars: Escape from Death Star Game’, 1977

During the holiday season of 1977, kids were desperate for Star Wars toys. Unfortunately, Kenner couldn’t ramp up toy production fast enough (leading to a groundbreaking marketing maneuver: the Early Bird Certificate Package), so there were very few Star Wars-related items available for parents to put under the Christmas tree…

‘Disaster/Désastre’ Board Game, 1979

Disaster, created by American board game titan Parker Brothers for the Canadian market, transposes nearly every cinematic disaster scenario of the 1970s—the Decade of the Disaster Movie—onto the game board. Disaster films usually consisted of a huge ensemble cast, uniting current Hollywood stars with has-beens and stars of yesteryear, and they “explored” a common theme: the implacable destructiveness of nature and the inability of human structures to protect against it…

King Vitaman Hologram Ring, 1972

The possibility of recording a three-dimensional image for later reconstruction through a hologram was developed out of early progress in X-ray and electron microscopy—notably by Hungarian-born Dennis Gabor, who won the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics…

‘Nuclear War’ Card Game, 1965

Originally designed by Douglas Malewicki, an American aerospace engineer and eclectic inventor, the object of this satirical simulation of cataclysmic nuclear war was to be sole survivor, although final retaliatory strikes often eliminated all players in a deadly chain reaction…

13 Tzameti: The Game

By Brother Bill

A wave of dark, violent horror films arrived in the early-to-mid 2000s, all set in the present-day real world and centered on people caught up in deranged systems or subcultures. It seemed as though the lone psycho supermen of earlier decades (Hannibal Lecter, Max Cady, endlessly respawning Freddies, Michaels, and Jasons) were being supplanted…

Spectravision ‘China Syndrome’ Advertisement, 1982

After a partial nuclear meltdown occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant only days before the release of a 1979 film discussing just that possibility, the term “China Syndrome”—used by nuclear power experts to describe a hypothetical scenario in which an overheating reactor core melted its way to the other side of the planet—quickly passed into common usage…