Montreal’s Chinatown

The colourful mural that greets visitors to Montreal’s Chinatown:

Mtl Chinatown mural

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Key West style

A restaurant entrance in Key West – a decidedly different kind of sign:

Key West sign

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memories of the ’80s – TV show board games

In the 1980s, board games were still popular, as was the inspiration to create them based on your favourite television and radio shows of the day.

In 1982, the daytime soap opera General Hospital has been on the air for almost 20 years, a staple of ABC Television.

But because of the storyline of two key characters, the infamous duo of Luke and Laura, interest in the show had skyrocketed in 1981.

As a result, ABC TV worked with Cardinal Games to launch The Game of General Hospital, a board game where 2, 4 or even 10 players could pick their favourite GH character and try to survive the machinations of what could happen to them on the board. The winner was the character who made it to the end of the board.

Another ’80s favourite, Knight Rider, which debuted in 1982 0n NBC TV was another hit for producer Glen A. Larson, and had every fan wanting their own KITT car to solve the mysteries with David Hasselhoff.

For kids aged 7+, Knight Rider: A High Speed Adventure game, was released in 1982 from Parker Brothers, was a four player game, which each player trying to clear up Trouble Spots around the board, and survive the Chicken Challenges. The player who has cleared the most spots and won the most bonus money wins the game.

For a decidedly different board game (and one that is gender-specific) is Sweet Valley High. The series of books was a successful young adult series for young women, but translated to a board game was an odd choice.

Published by Milton Bradley in 1988, the Sweet Valley High game, for 8+, two to four players, goes like this: each player moves around the board in search of their missing, lost or late boyfriends and the items needed for their date night.

The player who finds the boy and the accessories wins!

And not to be left out, adults could also have fun with a board game. In 1980, Dr. Ruth Westheimer had started working with NYC radio station WYNY with a weekly show sharing her advice on sexual matters.

In 1985, Victory Games published the Dr Ruth’s Game of Good Sex, created with the good doctor.

Four to eight players, aged 18+, and usually as couples, go around the board, answering questions from Dr. Ruth about their sexual awareness and earning Arousal Points with visits to Dr. Ruth’s Sex Clinic.

The winner is the one who gains the most points, but the key is learning! (and perhaps putting info into practise).

Four random games of the decade are examples of how board games can be used in so many different ways to promote another part of pop culture.


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Wynwood painter

One of my favourite images from my first visit to Wynwood Arts District in 2013:

Miami - Wynwood painter

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memories of the ’70s – TV show board games

For pop culture obsessed kids of the 1970s, there was many ways to celebrate their favourite TV heroes. And one of the most fun – the board game.

Debuting in 1973, the police detective series Kojak became a hit with viewers of all ages – especially since the title character took to always having a lollipop. (side note – actor Telly Savalas used a lollipop to help him quit smoking).

In 1975, Arrow Games Ltd published Kojak Detective Game,  a board game for kids ages 8 and up. Created for two to four players, each participant was a detective, competing to make the most arrests in New York City as they go around the board.

Each roll of the dice brings them closer to solving four potential crimes, with an assignment given when you land on the Contact card square, with the aim to get the criminal into the Trap Card space or with a Warrant card to help you expedite the arrest. The first to solve the four crimes wins.

Other squares help in the investigation with details from an informant and a place to do surveillance from the car (of course a Buick Century Regal, just like Kojak).

And if kids didn’t want to play Kojak, there was always Barney Miller.

The series, also set in NYC, debuted on television in 1974, and in 1977, kids could channel their fave character in the Barney Miller with the 12th Precinct Gang board game, published by Parker Brothers.

The board game worked like this – each participant (from age 8 and older, maximum four players), was trying to arrest the four people on their warrant card – the Shopping Molls, the Cap Burglars, Ruffian Bears and Riding Hoods.

Kids could become Wojo, Fish, Harris or Yemana, hoping to win and tell their boss Barney they have the criminals in the cell.

With each role of the dice, a move on the board gives a player evidence cards to help pursue the criminal, and hoping for the arrest warrant card to get the criminal behind bars. The first player to arrest their four criminals wins.

And although both games only existed in the 1970s, the belief that kids would renact the tv show probably fueled the love of police shows (and perhaps encouraged many) to want to get the bad guys.

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College Street graff

Some colourful graffiti spotted among the construction on Toronto’s College Street:

Toronto - college st graffiti

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Bigger is better

Because in South Africa, enlargement is possible:

Johannesburg - enlargement

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