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.