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Gimmick’s Got Game

Dang, I love gray baddies. I could smite them all day.

I didn’t grow up playing many board games. In our household they fell into three camps. There were classic games like Risk and Monopoly, also known as “boring games.” There were the complicated multi-session games my friend Brent played, which required more investment than my periodic visits could provide. And there were demonic games, those that might rupture the fabric of reality like a turgorous pimple and allow the devil’s hordes to pour into our plane. These included ouija boards and face cards.

But then, in between episodes of Duck Tales, a commercial showed me something new. In vivid colors and a thespian’s voiceover, it boasted of something that was as much a mountain of plastic as it was a game. It was mechanized. It made sounds. Its turbulence was part of its gameplay. I had to have it.

That game was Forbidden Bridge. Its commercial was seared in my memory. That Christmas, it became my first encounter with gimmick-as-gameplay.

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