Return to home3000BC The earliest 6-sided dice
date to about this time from a site in northern Iraq.
(WSJ, 10/27/06, p.W5)
c1500BCE A court to play ulama was built about
this time in Chiapas, Mexico. Olmecs used latex balls for the game.
(Econ, 4/24/04, p.81)
c500BCE The game of Go was devised in China about
(Econ, 12/18/04, p.128)
43CE The Romans brought with
them the board game latrunculi (little soldiers), when they
(Arch, 1/05, p.39)
56CE Huan Tan, Go strategist,
died. In his book “Xin Lun" (New Treatise) he advised that the best
approach to the game is to spread your pieces widely so as to
encircle the opponent.
(Econ, 12/18/04, p.128)
990 A set of instructions on
chess, the Versus de Scachis (Poem About Chess), emerged in
Switzerland about this time. The game had begun in India before the
(Arch, 1/05, p.40)(Econ, 10/29/11, p.97)
1424 James I returned from
exile and was crowned King of Scotland. He tried but failed to ban
golf. He wanted his troops to practice more archery.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R34)(SSFC, 11/23/03, p.C6)
1457 King James II of Scotland
(James of the Fiery Face) banned "Futeball" on the grounds that it
threatened national defense by drawing young men away from archery
practice. He banned "Golfe" for the same reason. "Nocht usit and
utterlie cryit doun."
(SFC, 8/10/96, p.E4)(Hem., 1/97, p.47)
1473 The game of golf was
played in Scotland at the Old course at St. Andrews.
(SFC, 6/25/95, p.T-7)
1530 Florence, Italy, held the
first lottery, La Lotto de Firenze. It was followed by similar
drawings in Genoa and Venice to raise funds for various public
1530 The game of bingo can be
traced back to a lottery game called "Il Giuoco del Lotto d'Italia"
played in Italy about this time. By the eighteenth century, the game
had matured, and in France, playing cards, tokens, the reading out
of numbers had been added to the game. In the nineteenth century,
Bingo was widely used in Germany for educational purposes to teach
children spelling, animal names, and multiplication tables.
1567 Mary, Queen of Scots,
played one of the 1st recorded games of golf at Seton Castle. In
2005 the 14-bedroom castle was put on the market asking $27 million.
(SFC, 8/31/05, p.C2)
1616 A set of silver playing
cards was created in Germany about this time engraved by a man named
Michael Frömmer. It used a suit seen in Italy, with swords, coins,
batons and cups in values from ace to 10. Each of these suits has
three face cards — king, knight and knave.
1620 May 17, The 1st
merry-go-round was seen at a fair in Philippapolis, Turkey.
1702 Meijin Dosaku, go-master
to the shogun of Japan, died. He was the 4th head of the Honimbo go
school and is held by many Japanese to have been the game’s greatest
(Econ, 12/18/04, p.129)
1722 Apr 30, Game of Billiards
was mentioned in New England Courant.
1742 Aug 29, Edmond Hoyle
(1672-1769) published his "Short Treatise" on the card game whist.
1754 In Scotland the Royal and
Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews was founded.
(Econ, 12/20/14, p.110)
1769 Aug 29, Edmond Hoyle
(b.1672), English games expert, died.
1788 Rules were set for the
game of cricket.
(Econ, 4/24/04, p.81)
1791 A document was released in
2004 from Pittsfield, Mass., that contained a 1791 bylaw to protect
the windows of a new meeting house from baseball players.
(SFC, 5/12/04, p.A2)
1831 The Lewis chessman, 92
walrus ivory pieces, were unearthed on the Isle of Lewis off the
coast of Scotland. In 2010 Gudmundur Thorarinsson tried to convince
scholars that these pieces were the work of Margret, an Icelandic
woman carver commissioned by medieval Norse Bishop Paul Jonsson. In
2015 Nancy Marie Brown authored "Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the
Most Famous Chessmen in the World and the Woman Who Made Them."
(Econ, 8/29/15, p.68)
1834 Nov 1, The 1st published
reference to poker was as Mississippi riverboat game.
1836 May 18, Wilhelm Steinitz
was born. The Czech-born world chess champion (1866-94) later became
a naturalized American.
(HN, 5/18/99)(SC, 5/18/02)
1842 Jun 12, Dr Thomas Arnold
(b.1795), British educator and historian, died. Arnold was an early
supporter of the Broad Church Anglican movement. He was headmaster
of Rugby School from 1828 to 1841, where he introduced a number of
reforms. In 2012 Mihir Bose authored “The Spirit of the Game: How
Sport Made the Modern World."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Arnold)(Econ, 3/3/12, p.95)
1844 Sep 25-1844 Sep 27, The
first int’l. cricket match was played between the USA and Canada at
the St George's Cricket Club, Bloomingdale Park, NY. Canada won by
1860 Jul 25, The 1st US
intercollegiate billiard match was between Harvard and Yale.
1860 Milton Bradley started a
lithograph company in Springfield, Mass. In 1866 Bradley launched
the board-game industry in North America with “The Checkered Game of
Life," which innovated on earlier representations of life as a board
game. By 1880 he expanded into manufacturing jigsaw puzzles. Hasbro,
short for Hassenfeld Brothers, bought Milton Bradley in 1992.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Game_of_Life)(SFC, 6/11/08, p.G3)
1861 Henry Morton founded the
Paris Manufacturing Co. in South Paris, Maine. The company made
various toys and then desks from the late 1800s. In 1978 it became
(SFC, 1/23/08, p.G5)
1862 Frederick August Otto
Schwartz (FAO Schwartz) opened up a toy shop in Baltimore 6 years
after arriving in America from Germany. In 1870 he moved to New
York. In 1880 he moved to larger quarters on Union Square.
(SSFC, 7/21/02, p.F3)(WSJ, 11/21/03, p.B1)
1865 Oct 10, John Wesley Hyatt
patented a new method for manufacturing billiard balls. He used
melted glue and cloth as an alternative to the ivory balls in use,
but his 1st products did not work well. [see Apr 6, 1869]
(MC, 10/10/01)(ON, 11/03, p.3)
1867 The US Playing Card Co.
began business. In 2003 its brands included Bee, Hoyle, Aviator and
(WSJ, 4/29/03, B12)
1869 Apr 6, John and Isaiah
Hyatt applied for a new patent using collodion to manufacture
billiard balls. They later named their product celluloid. It was
similar to that made by English inventor Alexander Parkes, who
patented the process in England in 1855. The new plastic could be
molded and mass produced, but was very flammable and exploded when
struck with excessive force. [see Jun 15]
(HNQ, 5/8/98)(WSJ, 1/11/98, p.R18)(MC,
4/6/02)(PCh, 1992, p.467)(ON, 11/03, p.3)
1870 Frederick August Otto
Schwartz (FAO Schwartz) opened up his 1st NYC store on Broadway
called Schwartz Toy Bazaar.
(WSJ, 11/21/03, p.B1)
1871 Jul 25, A carrousel was
patented by Wilhelm Schneider in Davenport, Iowa.
1873 Modern lawn tennis made
its debut. It was a variation of a game played for centuries by
royals. Major Walter Clopton Wingfield, a British army officer,
devised the game for the entertainment of guests at his country
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R34)(Econ, 4/24/04, p.81)
1875 Apr 17, The game of
"snooker" was invented by Sir Neville Chamberlain.
1876 The medieval game of court
tennis arrived in the US. It was the fore-runner of lawn tennis,
which was already being played in the US.
(SFC, 5/15/98, p.D7)
1886 A board game called "The
Game of Baseball" was made with a lithographed game board by the
McLoughlin Brothers. In 1999 the boxed game was worth $3,000.
(SFC, 4/7/99, Z1 p.7)
1877 In Germany the Steiff Toy
Co. was founded. They made their first teddy bears in 1903 with
black, shoe-button eyes.
(SFC, 1/21/98, Z1 p.3)
1877 In Germany the S.
Gunthermann manufacturer of metal vehicles and other toys was
founded in Nuremberg about this time.
(SFC, 9/19/06, p.G3)
1889 The dexterity game “Pigs
in Clover" was built by Charles Crandall. It dared a player to move
little balls into a center pen.
(SFC, 9/10/02, p.A15)
1889 Nintendo of Japan was
founded by the great-grandfather of President Hiroshi Yamauchi to
produce hand-painted hanafuda playing cards decorated with flowers.
A book about Nintendo was later written by David Sheff.
(SFC, 10/11/97, p.A19)(Econ, 10/1/16, p.62)
1890 In Chicago Henry C.
Niemann organized the H.C. Niemann & Co. to make tables. In 1909
the company moved to the 1800 block of Rockwell Street. It closed in
(SFC, 5/14/08, p.G6)
1890 Parker Brothers introduced
its board game Across the Continent. The game was re-released a
number of times until 1952.
(SFC, 6/25/08, p.G3)
1891 Dec 1, The Canadian, Dr.
James B. Naismith, sports figure, inventor, teacher, invented the
game of basketball at the YMCA in Springfield, Mass. A janitor
provided peach baskets instead of the requested boxes.
(Hem, Dec. 94, p.126)(DTnet, 11/28/97)(MC,
1894 Charles Miller, the son of
an English railway engineer, returned to Sao Paulo from a British
boarding school. He brought back a football and popularized the game
of soccer in Brazil.
(Econ, 10/29/16, p.30)
1895 The Montgomery Ward
catalog offered the game of Tiddledy Winks for 20 cents.
(WSJ, 12/17/03, p.B1)
1895 The J&E Stevens Co.
began making Rival toy stoves. The mass-produced cast-iron toys were
sold with a coal bucket, a tea kettle, frying pan and cooking pot.
The company was in business until the 1930s.
(SFC, 3/19/97, z1 p.3)
1895 The US Bowling Congress
began keeping league records.
(WSJ, 5/24/08, p.A7)
1898 Aug 16, Edwin Prescott
patented a roller coaster.
1898 A coin operated machine
called Liberty Bell was invented in San Francisco. It was the first
automatic payout machine. It established the standard for millions
of slot machines made during the early 20th century.
(SFC, 4/20/17, p.E14)
1899 Apr 13, Alfred Moser
Butts, inventor of the board game Scrabble, was born.
(HN, 4/13/98)(MC, 4/13/02)
1900 Joshua Lionel Cowen
(1877-1965), inventor, along with some partners founded Lionel Corp
in NYC. Operation were later based outside Detroit and Lionel grew
to become the world’s largest toy maker in the 1950s. [see 1901]
1900 At the Olympics in Paris a
Belgian sharpshooter killed 21 live pigeons. The event was abolished
shortly thereafter. Separately the game of croquet was featured for
the first and last time.
(WSJ, 7/23/96, p.A6)
1901 Feb 5, Loop-the-loop
centrifugal RR (roller coaster) was patented by Ed Prescot.
1901 Joshua Lionel Cowen (22)
set up a battery-powered toy train to draw customer attention to
goods in a store display window. This marked the beginning of Lionel
(SFEC, 8/15/99, Z1 p.8)
1902 S.W. Erdnase published
“The Expert at the Card Table." The book revealed secrets behind
card tricks and cheating techniques. The real identity of the author
was a mystery.
(WSJ, 8/16/00, p.A1)
1903 Feb 15, The 1st Teddy Bear
was introduced in America by Morris & Rose Michtom.
(440 Int’l., 2/15/99)
1904 Elizabeth J. Magie
(1866-1948), American game designer, patented the Landlord’s Game.
In Oct 1929 Ruth Hoskins brought a version to Atlantic City, where
she refined the rules and street names. It was later introduced to
George Darrow who began selling it commercially as Monopoly in
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Magie)(WSJ, 2/3/05, p.W12)
1907 In France the bowling game
of petanque or boule assumed its current form after possible origins
in ancient Greece or Egypt. Similar to bocce ball it is played on a
dirt court with baseball sized steel balls. In 1998 it was seeking
Olympic recognition. The French version was born near Marseille as a
sport for the masses. In 1959 France held the 1st annual petanque
(WSJ, 1/5/98, p.20)(WSJ, 8/30/07, p.A7)
1909 Rose Cecil O’Neill
(1874-1944), illustrator, drew the 1st Kewpie doll for an issue of
Ladies Home Journal. By 1911 they were being produced as dolls and
1912 Prizes were added to boxes
of Cracker Jacks. [see Feb 19, 1913]
(HFA, ‘96, p.67)(SFC, 7/29/98, Z1 p.23)(AH,
1912 The Durable Toy &
Novelty Co. began making toy registering banks about this time. Its
office was in NYC and its factory in Cleveland, Ohio.
(SFC, 4/2/08, p.G2)
1912 Heinrich Muller and
Heinrich Schreyer started the Schreyer & Co. toy company in
Nuremberg, Germany. The name was shortened to Schuco in the 1920.
They began making “Yes/No" toys in 1921 and after WWII these were
called “Tricky" toys. In 1999 Schuco became part of the Simba
(SFC, 4/23/08, p.G6)
1913 Feb 19, The 1st prize was
inserted into a Cracker Jack box. [see 1912]
1913 Dec 21, The first
crossword puzzle, created by Arthur Wynne, the English-born New York
journalist, was published in the New York World.
Manufacturing Co. of Moline Illinois was incorporated by J.F.
Strombeck and R.D. Becker. They made wooden handles and tent poles
and expanded into toys in 1919 and dollhouse furniture in 1931. In
1962 the company dropped out of the toy business.
(SFC, 8/20/08, p.G4)
1913 Mary McAboy of Missoula,
Montana, began hand-making Skookum Indian dolls and acquired a
patent for it in 1914. Skookum was a Siwash Indian word that roughly
means bully good.
(SFC, 6/17/98, Z1 p.3)(SFC, 3/16/05, p.G4)
1914 The Toy Tinkers Company of
Evanston, Ill., made the Tinkertoy Wonder Builder construction set
out of wood as its first product. It sold for 50 cents. Toy Tinkers
was sold in 1952 to A.G. Spalding. It was later acquired by Hasbro
who made its parts out of plastic. Hasbro was named after the
(SFC, 2/5/97, z-1 p.7)(SFC, 4/8/98, Z1 p.6)(SFC,
1915 May 28, John B. Gruelle
patented the Raggedy Ann doll.
1917 Jun 28, The Raggedy Ann
1918 The game “Consult El Caro"
was 1st built. A metal ball fell into a recessed hole containing
answers to questions.
(SFC, 9/10/02, p.A15)
1920 The Olympics dropped the
tug-of-war event this year.
(Econ, 2/8/14, p.59)
1921 Wyandotte Toys of
Wyandotte, Mich., was founded and initially concentrated on toy
(SFC, 2/15/03, p.E7)
1922 A kind of draught board in
an elongated 'H' shape, together with its pieces and dice, were
found during archaeological excavations at the royal cemetery in the
ancient Sumerian city of Ur, known now as Tal al-Muqayyar, in
southern Iraq. It took more than five decades until experts managed
to match up and translate a set of rules carved into a piece of clay
with the board game. It became known as the Royal Game of Ur.
1928 Norman Angell (1872-1967),
English journalist, made one venture into economics, when he
invented a card game, described in “the Money Game" (1928). This was
an attempt to explain matters such as deflation and inflation in
visual terms which the ordinary person could understand.
1928 John von Neumann,
mathematician, conceived the strategies of game theory. In 2000
Robert Wright authored "Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny." In the
40’s and 50’s Neumann and John Nash developed game theory as a
branch of mathematics.
(WSJ, 1/23/97, p.A12)(Econ, 1/22/05, p.75)
Apr 1, Louie Marx introduced the Yo-Yo in the US.
1929 Aug 26, The 1st US roller
coaster was built.
1929 The game of beano involved
dried beans and was first played in the US at an Atlanta carnival.
It was based on an Italian game that dated back to 1530. In New York
the name mutated to “Bingo" when Edwin Lowe, a toy salesman, took it
(SFEC, 3/22/98, p.A25)(SFC, 7/25/98, p.B5)
1930 Herman G. Fisher
(1898-1975) and Irving L. Price co-founded the Fisher-Price toy
company in East Aurora, NY. Quaker Oats Company acquired the firm in
1969. Mattel Inc. acquired Fisher-Price in 1993.
(www.hbs.edu/leadership/database/leaders/274/)(WSJ, 12/21/05, p.A8)
1930 A competition began in
India, known as the Empire Games. It gathered the British empire's
athletes as a way to bind together the Britain’s vast dominions. The
games later became known as the Commonwealth Games.
1931 Frederick August Otto
Schwartz (FAO Schwartz) moved to uptown NYC to its flagship Fifth
Avenue store. In 1986 it moved across the street.
(WSJ, 11/21/03, p.B1)
1932 Kenton Hardware
Manufacturing Co., founded in Ohio in 1890 as a lock maker, began
making toy concrete mixers under the Jaeger brand name. The company
closed in 1952.
(SFC, 5/28/08, p.G2)
1932 Denmark’s LEGO Group was
founded by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, a carpenter. The name came from the
Danish words leg godt (play well). Christiansen and his grandson
perfected toy bricks made of wood and later shifted to plastic. Lego
produced its first interlocking bricks in 1949.
4/28/12, p.76)(Econ, 3/8/14, p.71)(Econ, 1/16/16, p.46)
1933 Mar 7, George Darrow added
some copyrighted art work to the board game Monopoly and began
selling it commercially in Philadelphia. He sold it to Parker
Brothers in 1934. The game had originally been patented in 1904 as
the Landlord’s Game by Elizabeth J. Magie. In Oct 1929 Ruth Hoskins
brought a version to Atlantic City, refined the rules and street
names. It was later introduced to George Darrow.
1934 Dec, Parker Brothers
purchased the game of Monopoly from George Darrow and rewrote the
rules. George Parker had rejected the 1st version of Monopoly
submitted by Darrow and cited 52 fundamental errors. In 2003 Philip
E. Orbanes authored "The Game Makers: The Story of the Parker
Brothers, from Tiddley winks to Trivial Pursuit."
1934 Daisy Manufacturing
introduced a Buck Rogers toy pistol.
(SFC, 4/13/05, p.G4)
1935 Jan, Parker Brothers
launched the Monopoly game acquired from George Darrow and by mid
February were selling 20,000 sets per week.
1935 Mar 16, Aron Nimzowitsch
(b.1886), a Latvian-born Danish chess player, died. In 1925 he
authored “My System," which he described as a chess manual based on
entirely new principles.
1939 Los Angeles banned
pinball machines after they became considered devices for gambling.
The ban was overturned by the Supreme Court of California in 1974.
Pinball was banned beginning in the early 1940s until 1976 in NYC.
1939 William Gruber and Harold
Graves produced the 1st View-Master in Portland. 2 cameras were used
to create stereo images. They were introduced at the New York
World’s Fair and became an overnight sensation. In 2009 Fisher-Price
eliminated almost all of its View Master titles, except for a
handful of children’s titles.
(SFC, 8/31/00, p.C8)(Econ, 3/14/09, p.34)
1941 Jan 11, Emanuel Lasker
(b.1868), German mathematician and chess player, died. In 1927 he
authored “Lasker’s Manual of Chess."
1943 Mar 9, Bobby Fischer
(d.2008), first American world chess champion (1972-1975), was born.
He later authored “Bobby Fischer’s Games of Chess."
(HN, 3/9/99)(SFC, 9/7/01, p.D5)(SFC, 1/19/08,
1943 Apr 7, The NFL adopted its
free substitution rule.
1943 Richard James (d.1974)
observed a torsion spring balance bounce off a ship’s deck while
working at a Philadelphia shipyard and conceived the idea of a
"slinky" toy for children, named by his wife Betty James (d.2008).
In 1945 they founded James Industries. In 1998 the company was sold
to POOF Products of Michigan.
(IBCC, 10/97, #9)(SSFC, 11/23/08, p.B9)
1944 Jul 13, Erno Rubik,
inventor (Rubik's cube), was born in Budapest.
1946 Aug 21, Lev Alburt, USSR
International Chess Master (1976), was born.
1946 Lincoln Toys began
operating in Walkerville, Ont., and continued to 1958.
(SFC, 10/1/08, p.G6)
1946 The Mattel toy company was
co-founded by Ruth Handler, her husband Elliot, and Harold “Matt"
Mattson. The name came from a combination of Matt and Elliot. In
2009 Jerry Oppenheimer authored “Toy Monster: The Big, Bad world of
(WSJ, 2/18/09, p.A15)
1947 Parker Brothers launched
the board game Clue.
(Econ, 11/22/03, p.81)
1947 Tonka toys were introduced
by Mound Metalcraft, located in Mound, Minnesota, near Lake
(SFC, 8/23/06, p.G7)
1948 Spud Melin (d.2002) and
Richard Knerr (1925-2008) started a mail-order toy company in
southern California named Wham-O to market sling-shots. In 1982 they
sold the company to Kransco Manufacturing for $12 million.
(SFC, 7/1/02, p.B5)(WSJ, 1/19/08, p.A10)
1948 The London-based Mondo
company began producing rubber balls for a local fistball game. It
grew to become a major maker of prefabricated running track.
(SFC, 3/17/11, p.72)
1950 Mar 2, Silly Putty was
introduced to the public. Silly Putty was accidentally invented in
1943 by James Wright of General Electric.
1950 John Nash (1928-2015)
published his groundbreaking work on game theory.
1951 Mar 8, The Int’l. Table
Tennis Federation banned Egypt for refusing to play Israel.
1951 May 23, Anatoli Karpov,
world chess champion (1975-85), was born in the USSR.
1951 The video game NIM was
created for the Festival of Britain. It was played on Nimrod, a
computer developed by the Ferranti electronics firm.
(Econ, 12/10/11, SR p.12)
1952 Apr 25, American Bowling
Congress approved use of an automatic pinsetter.
1952 May 1, Mr. Potato Head was
1954 May 1, Legos, founded by
Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen, became a registered
trademark in Denmark.
1955 Jan 19, "Scrabble" debuted
in the board game market.
1955 Wham-O purchased a plastic
disc from building inspector Fred Morrison, who had developed it
after watching Yale students toss Frisbee Co. pie tins [see Jan 13,
(SFC, 7/1/02, p.B5)
1957 Jan 13, The Wham-O Company
produced the 1st Frisbee. It was initially called the Pluto Platter.
(SFC, 7/1/02, p.B5)(MC, 1/13/02)
1957 Jun 7, Mrs. Elizabeth S.
Kingsley, double-Crostic puzzle creator, died.
1957 Jul 22, Walter "Fred"
Morrison applied for a patent for a "flying toy" which became known
as the Frisbee.
1957 The first Toys R US store
opened. The company was founded by Charles Lazarus, who opened
Children's Bargain Town, a baby furniture store, in Washington, DC.
It became a public company in 1978. In 2017 the company filed for
bankruptcy and in 2018 filed a plan to close or sell its 740 stores
in the US.
(SFC, 3/16/18, p.C3)
1958 Jun 19, Entrepreneurs
Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin sought a trademark for a plastic
cylinder based on a similar toy in Australia. Wham-O began selling
the Hula Hoop following a demonstration of a rattan hoop imported
from Australia. After one year teenagers in the US purchased some
100 million hoops at a suggested retail price of $1.98.
(SFC, 7/1/02, p.B5)(SFC, 6/19/08, p.C3)
1958 Charles Harrison
(1931-2018), an African-American designer, was put in charge of
redesigning the 3-D View-Master, first introduced in 1939. He made
it lighter, more durable and easy enough to be used by a child. In
1961 he was hired by Sears and became the company's first black
(SFC, 12/7/18, p.C12)
1958 Legos, the toy Lego
building block kit with simple red bricks, was introduced with
8-stud bricks that could be combined 24 ways. The company was
founded by Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1932. Legos
became a registered trademark in 1954. The name was derived from
“les godt," Danish for play well.
(SFC, 1/9/99, p.B8)(Econ, 10/28/06, p.76)
1958 In central Moscow Detsky
Mir (Children's World), a new huge toy store, opened. In 2008 the
hulking block-long building across from the KGB's notorious Lubyanka
headquarters closed for a 3-year, $200 million renovation project.
1959 Mar 9, The Barbie doll was
unveiled at the American Toy Fair in New York City. The Barbie Doll
No. 1 was introduced by Mattel Toy Company for $3. Ruth Handler
(d.2002), co-founder of Mattel, had spotted the German Bild-Lilli
doll in 1956 and asked toy designer Jack Ryan (d.1991) to create a
version for American girls. The first dolls were produced by Mattel
Toy Co. in Hawthorne, Ca. In 1994 one sold for $4000 as a
(WSJ, 12/9/94, p.R-8)(SSFC, 4/28/02, p.A2)(SFC,
5/31/05, p.E1)(WSJ, 2/18/09, p.A15)
1959 Oct, NBC fired Dr. Howard
Felsher (1927-2018) after he testified in Washington DC that the new
evening version of the "Tic-Tac-Dough" game show was rigged to
generate excitement. NBC took over production of the show from Jack
Barry and Dan Enright after several contestants alleged that that
the "Twenty-One" game show, another Barry & Enright production,
was also rigged.
(SFC, 8/2/18, p.D2)
1959 Parker Brothers launched
the board game Risk.
(Econ, 11/22/03, p.81)
c1960 The Visible Man toy was
created by Marcel Jovine (d.2003 at 81) and was soon followed by
(SFC, 1/28/03, p.A15)
1960s The DoodelMaster Magic
Screen toy, made in England, was acquired by Ohio Art Toy and
renamed Etch A Sketch.
(SFC, 6/15/00, p.C6)
1961 Mattel toys introduced the
Ken doll, and marketed it as Barbie’s boyfriend.
(SFC, 1/14/98, Z1 p.2)
1962 Denys Fisher, an English
inventor, made a tool to help draw waves for scientific use, but it
was not adopted. His family thought it would a good toy for children
and in 1965 it was made into a kit and showed at an int’l. toy show.
Kenner bought the toy and sold it as the Spirograph.
(SFC, 10/17/07, p.G2)
1963 Apr 13, Gary Kimovich
Kasparov, world chess champion (1985-2000), was born in the USSR.
(MC, 4/13/02)(SFC, 1/16/04, p.D19)
1964 Feb - 1964 Mar, Hasbro
launched the G.I. Joe action figure debuted as a popular American
toy at the annual toy fair in NYC.
(SFC, 7/10/04, p.F11)(SFC, 2/7/14, p.A12)
1965 Nov 1, Edward Headrick
(d.2002) of Wham-O patented the Flying Saucer, an improved Frisbee
with concentric ridges that improved flight.
(SFC, 8/13/02, p.A20)
1965 Three fathers in
Washington state threw together wooden paddles, a badminton net, and
a perforated plastic ball creating a sport that became known as
pickleball. A dog named pickle reportedly kept running away with the
(Econ., 1/30/21, p.21)
1967 Aug 28, Charles Darrow
(b.1889), US inventor of Monopoly, died in Pennsylvania.
1969 The US National Commission
on Product Safety recommended that 8 toys be banned including the
Zulu toy gun, which shot plastic darts, the Empire Little Lady
Stove, which had racks that could heat to 600 degrees, and the Bird
of Paradise slingshot, with razor-sharp missiles. The commission
urged Congress to pass new legislation banning toys based on their
electrical, mechanical or thermal qualities.
(WSJ, 12/3/07, p.B1)
1970 Aug, The first
all-computer championship was held in New York and won by CHESS 3.0
(CDC 6400), a program written by Slate, Atkin and Gorlen at
Northwestern University. Six programs had entered the first
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) North American Computer
Championships. The event was organized by Monty Newborn. The other
programs were DALY CP, J Brit, COKO III, SCHACH, and the Marsland
1971 Keith Wylie (1945-1999),
British croquet star, in the Open Championship completed "the
sextuple peel," which involved knocking a ball through 6 hoops using
another ball. He authored "Expert Croquet Tactics" in 1985.
1972 Sep 1, American Bobby
Fischer won the international chess crown in Reykjavik, Iceland,
defeating Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union. In 2004 David Edmonds
and John Eidinow authored "Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the
Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time."
(AP, 9/1/97)(SSFC, 2/07/04, p.M1)
1972 Sep 4, In San Francisco
the Playland-at-the-Beach amusement park was bulldozed on Labor Day
Weekend. Playland shut its gates and some 40 Fascination tables were
transferred to a Market Street arcade. Fascination was invented by
John Gibbs of Los Angeles and combined the skill of bowling with the
luck of Bingo. The head of Laughing Sal was stolen on closure and
turned up in 2004.
(SFC, 8/5/00, p.A1)(SSFC, 3/14/04, p.B2)(SSFC,
7/3/05, p.F6)(SFC, 5/31/08, p.B2)
1972 Atari was founded by Nolan
Bushnell, 2 years after he built the first videogame, Computer
Space. He conceived Pong and it was built by Allan Alcorn. Atari
co-founders Samuel Dabney (1937-2018) and Nolan Bushnell helped
create the hit console game Pong.
(Wired, 10/96, p.168)(SSFC, 6/3/18, p.C4)
1973 Jul 4, Leonid Stein
(b.1934), Soviet Grandmaster chess player from the Ukraine, died of
a heart attack.
1974 Hungarian professor Erno
Rubik designed the Rubik's Cube. Sales peaked at 100 million in
1980. Some 250 million units were sold worldwide.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R34)(SFC, 8/8/03, p.D1)
1974 Gary Gygax (1938-2008) and
David Arneson (d.2009 at 61), having founded Tactical Studies Rules
(TSR), published Dungeons & Dragons, a role-playing game. Gygax
and Don Kaye had founded Tactical Studies Rules (TSR), a publishing
firm in 1973. In 1997 TSR was sold to Wizards of the Coast.
p.102)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Gygax)(SFC, 4/11/09, p.B3)
1974 Japan-based Nintendo
secured the Japanese distribution rights to the Magnavox Odyssey,
the world’s first games console.
(Econ, 12/1/12, p.73)
1975 Apr 3, Bobby Fischer
(1943-2008) was stripped of world chess title for refusing to defend
1975 Sep 26, Herman G. Fisher
(b.1898), co-founder of the Fisher-Price toy company (1930), died.
In 1930 he got together with Irving Price and Helen Schelle to
establish a toy company under the name of Fisher-Price.
1975 Edward Headrick (d.2002)
invented the golf, for Frisbee players.
(SFC, 9/26/03, p.A1)
1975 Mattel introduced its
"Growing up Skipper" doll. When her arms were twisted she would grow
taller and her breasts would get larger.
(SFC,1/22/97, Z1 p.7)
1976 Dec 1, In San Francisco
BART officials installed an arcade of video games on the platform of
the Powell Street station.
(SFC, 10/20/18, p.C1)
1977 Apr 23, Dr. Allen Bussey
completed 20,302 yo-yo loops in Waco, Texas.
1977 In Japan Bandai began
making capsule toys, the majority of them were cheap, sold mostly at
20 yen, and were of poor quality. A craze for such toys really took
off in 2012 when Tokyo-based manufacturer Kitan Club launched its
"Koppu no Fuchico" ("Fuchico at the edge of a glass") product.
1978 Jul 11, Christa Tybus of
London set a 24 hrs hula-hoop record.
1979 Feb 25, James Williams and
Gene Stewart of Redwood City won the 18th world championship domino
tournament in San Francisco.
(SFC, 2/20/04, p.E4)
1979 Dec 14, The Seminole Tribe
opened a high-stakes bingo hall on their reservation at Hollywood,
Florida, and the state tried immediately to shut it down. This was
followed by a series of court battles leading to a final decision by
the United States Supreme Court in 1981 “Seminole Tribe vs.
Butterworth." The court ruled in favor of the Seminoles
affirming their right to operate their bingo hall.
1979 David Sudnow authored
“Pilgrim in the Microworld." It described his obsession with a game
called Breakout on the Atari 2600. It came out in paperback in 1983.
1979 Canadian Scott Abbott, a
sports editor for The Canadian Press, and Chris Haney (1950-2010), a
photo editor for Montreal's The Gazette, created the Trivial Pursuit
game. With the help of John Haney and Ed Werner, they completed the
development of the game, which was released in 1982. Hasbro bought
the rights to game for $80 million in 2008.
1979 Carol Shaw became the
first female video game designer with the release of her Atari game,
(SFC, 2/18/14, p.A6)
1980 May 22, The computer game
Pac-Man was first released in Japan. Pac-Man, with its characters:
Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde, epitomized the arcade games of the
1980 Richard X Zawitz created
his handheld Tangle in San Francisco out of plastic and a larger
chrome Tangle sold at museum shops. The twistable playthings had
started out as a 3-foot-long walnut wood sculpture made of several
90-degree joints. The toy pieces were manufactured in China.
(SFC, 12/24/21, p.A9)
1982 John Maynard (1920-2004),
English biologist, authored "Evolution and the Theory of Games."
(SSFC, 4/25/04, p.B7)
1982 San Francisco Mayor Diane
Feinstein accepted a $1 million dollar pledge from Atari, creator of
the Pac-Man arcade game, to help save the cable car system.
(SFC, 12/2/17, p.D1)
1982 In Nepal elephant polo
began under the direction of Jim Edwards, a jungle safari organizer.
(WSJ, 1/16/98, p.A1)
1983 Atari dumped 728,000
cartridges of its video game “E.T." into a landfill in New Mexico
following disappointing sales of what many called the worst video
game ever. In 2014 a documentary film company recovered a number of
the cartridges that were still playable.
(SSFC, 4/27/14, p.A2)
1984 May 26, A frisbee was kept
aloft for 1,672 seconds in Philadelphia.
1984 In Russia Alexander
Pajitnov, a computer programmer at the Moscow Academy of Science,
invented the game "Tetris" on an old Electronica 60 computer. He
gave up the rights to the game to the State for ten years. In 1985
it was introduced on the IBM and Commodore 64 and ported to handheld
devices in 1989. In 1996 rights for the game reverted back to
Pajitnov. He and Henk Rogers soon founded Blue Planet Software to
manage the Tetris rights.
(SFC, 7/7/96, C5)(SFC, 6/3/09, p.C5)(SFC, 6/6/14,
1985 Nintendo Co. of Japan
launched its first home video game console: the Nintendo
Entertainment System with “Super Mario Bros." included. In Japan it
was known as the Family Computer or Famicom.
(Hem, 4/96, p.29)(Econ, 12/24/16, p.68)
1986 The Mashantucket Pequot
Tribal Nation opened its first bingo hall in Connecticut. Since the
invention of the internet, however, bingo online has become the
preferred method of play.
1987 The “Winnie the Pooh"
stuffed animals, the original toys of author A.A. Milne, given to
publisher E.P. Dutton in 1947, were turned over to the New York
Public Library. In 1998 the British requested that they be returned
(SFC, 2/5/98, p.A12)
1988 The first John Madden
Football computer game was produced by Electronic Arts. EA founder
Trip Hawkins had earlier gained permission to produce the game from
John Madden, coach of the Oakland Raiders. EA programmer Robin
Antonick wrote the initial code for the game which went on to
generate over $4 billion for EA.
(SFC, 7/22/13, p.A6)
1988 In New Zealand the first
commercial bungee jumping operation began at Queenstown’s
154-foot-high Kawarau Bridge.
(SSFC, 11/10/13, p.M3)
1989 The Brooklyn Salvation
Army began to allow the Elite Pool Checker Club to play regularly in
(WSJ, 10/22/02, p.A17)
1990 Dec 26, Garry Kasparov
beat Anatoly Karpov to retain chess championship.
1991 Mar, The video game
“Street Fighter II" was released in Japan by Capcom. It introduced
female characters. It was a sequel to Capcom's 1987 fighting game
(SFC, 2/15/11, p.E5)
1990 Toy company FAO Schwartz
sold out to Dutch Company Koninklijke Bijenkorf Beheer.
(WSJ, 11/21/03, p.B1)
1991 The war strategy game
Civilization, created by Sid Meier (b.1954), was published and
became a sensation among PC gamers. In 2020 Civilization VI was
p.W9)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sid_Meier)(Econ., 5/30/20, p.74)
1992 Sep 1, Defying a U.S.
government warning, Bobby Fischer announced he would play his
one-time rival, Boris Spassky, in a $5 million chess match in
Yugoslavia despite United Nations-imposed sanctions.
1992 Nov 5, Bobby Fischer beat
Boris Spassky to win the Chess title in Belgrade. Fischer received
$3.5 million for his win, but violated UN sanctions and an embargo
on doing business in Yugoslavia. In 2004 he was arrested in Japan
for traveling on a revoked USD passport.
1992 The video game “Mortal
Combat II" was released. It became know for its bloody graphics.
(SFC, 2/15/11, p.E5)
1993 Apr 4, Alfred Mosher Butts
(b.1899), US architect and inventor of the Scrabble game, died.
(WSJ, 6/28/01, p.B1)(MC, 4/4/02)
1993 Aug 19, Mattel and Fisher
Price toys announced a merger.
1993 Mattel introduced its
“Earing Magic Ken" doll, which gave him a pierced left ear.
(ST, 7/29/04, p.C8)
1993 The fantasy card game
Magic: The Gathering was created.
(SFC, 9/1/04, p.B1)
1993 The computer game "Mortal
Combat" sparked a controversy in Congress over video game violence.
(SFC, 7/5/97, p.E1)
1993 The computer game "Myst"
swept the US with its eerie puzzle plot.
(SFC, 7/5/97, p.E1)
1994 Aug 31, In the London
Intel Speed Chess Grand Prix a Pentium computer beat world chess
champ Gari Kasparov.
1994 Dec 3, Japan’s Sony Corp.
launched its PlayStation game console.
(WSJ, 3/7/05, p.A8)(Econ, 12/10/11, SR p.4)
1994 John Bowes (1928-2005), SF
businessman, and John Rosekrans sold the assets of their Kransco
Group Cos. to Mattel and netted over $350 million. Kransco had
acquired Wham-O and popularized such toys as Frisbee, Slip’N-Slide,
and hula hoop.
(SFC, 10/28/05, p.B7)
1995 The real-time strategy
video game "Command & Conquer" was released by Westwood Studios.
1995 The colonization board
game “Settlers of Catan" began a new boom in board games.
(Econ, 8/30/08, p.52)
1995 The first Internet
gambling casino opened, but games could only be played for fun. The
first real money Internet casino opened in 1996.
(SFC, 7/2/07, p.C1)
1996 Jun 22, A Texas firm
called id Software released a video game called “Quake," featuring a
fully three-dimensional world.
(Econ, 6/18/16, p.79)
1996 Dec 15, The Tyco Toys
Tickle Me Elmo stuffed animal that giggles and says "that tickles"
when squeezed retailed for $30 and was flying out of stores. It was
based on a character from the children’s TV show Sesame Street.
(WSJ, 12/16/96, p.B1)(WSJ, 9/15/06, p.B1)
1997 May 1, Virtual Pets began
to be marketed by Tiger Electronics and Bandai Ltd. of Japan. The
egg-sized gadgets played out the lives of various animals on a
liquid crystal display.
(WSJ, 5/2/97, p.B1)
1997 May 3, World chess
champion Garry Kasparov won the first game of his rematch with IBM's
Deep Blue computer. However, he lost the six-game match.
1997 May 4, IBM's Deep Blue
computer defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov, evening their
six-game series at one game apiece.
1997 May 6, World chess
champion Garry Kasparov and IBM's Deep Blue computer played to a
draw in game three of their six-game match.
1997 May 11, The "Deep Blue"
IBM computer demolished an overwhelmed Garry Kasparov and won the
six-game chess match between man and machine in New York.
1997 Jul 10, Walter Korn
(b.1908), Czech-born chess authority, died. His books included "The
Art of Chess Competition."
(SFC, 7/29/97, p.A18)
1998 Mar 31, Starcraft, a
military science fiction real-time strategy video game, was released
in South Korea. It was developed by Blizzard Entertainment, a
1998 Oct 22, The US government
announced one of the biggest toys recalls ever, advising parents to
remove batteries from Fisher-Price Power Wheels cars and trucks
because of faulty wiring.
1998 Nov 27, Shoppers on Black
Friday crowded shopping centers and the new Furby toys, a furry
talking toy, was creating a mania. Black Friday was used to describe
the big shopping day following Thanksgiving that put stores into the
(SFC, 11/28/98, p.A1)
1999 Mar 20, The 128-acre
Legoland California, a children’s theme park, was scheduled to be
completed in Carlsbad by the Danish toy company.
(USAT, 5/7/98, p.1D)(SFC, 1/9/99, p.B8)(SFEC,
1999 David Gonzales began
selling 2-inch figurines of fictional barrio residents in vending
machines across the country. The "Homies" sales grew and in 2004 a
Mijos line, short for "Mis Hijos," (My Kids), was introduced through
(WSJ, 3/24/04, p.B1)
2000 May 6, The 1st geocaching
cache was found hidden outside Portland, Oregon, by Mike Teague.
[see May 3]
(WSJ, 3/19/02, p.A20)
2000 China banned the sale of
video game consoles citing their adverse effect on the mental health
of its youth. The ban was lifted in 2014 on a temporary basis.
2000 Gary Kimovich Kasparov
(37), world chess champion (1985-2000), lost to Vladimir Kramnik
(MC, 4/13/02)(SFC, 1/16/04, p.D19)
2001 The first commercial
alternate reality game (ARG), called “The Beast," was produced as
part of a promotional campaign for Steven Spielberg’s film “A.I.:
(Econ, 3/7/09, TQ p.16)
2001 MGA Entertainment
introduced the Bratz line of dolls based on a design by Carter
Bryant, a designer from Mattel. The doll became very popular and
threatened the Barbie franchise of Mattel. In 2008 the 2 companies
faced each other in court. A jury ruled that the Bratz dolls were
conceived while Bryant was employed by Mattel. On August 26 a
federal jury in Riverside, Ca., awarded Mattel $100 million in
damages. On Dec 3 a federal judge banned MGA Entertainment Inc. from
making and selling Bratz dolls after the holiday season. In January,
2009, a federal judge said the company can continue to sell the toy
line through 2009.
(WSJ, 5/23/08, p.A1)(WSJ, 7/18/08, p.B1)(SFC,
8/27/08, p.C3)(SFC, 12/4/08, p.A9)(SFC, 1/8/09, p.C2)
2002 Jun 28, Spud Melin (77),
co-founder of Wham-O (1948), died in Costa Mesa, Ca.
(SFC, 7/1/02, p.B5)
2002 Aug 12, Edward Headrick
(78), the man who made the Frisbee soar, died in California. He
created the sport of disc golf in the 1970s.
(SFC, 8/13/02, p.A19)
2003 Feb 7, Garry Kasparov
(39), chess master, played to a 3-3 tie against the Deep Junior
(SFC, 2/8/03, p.A2)
2003 Aug 18, A 24-year-old
woman from China tipped over 303,621 dominos, breaking a
long-standing record for the world's longest solo domino topple.
2003 Aug 24, Dan Knights of San
Francisco set a world record at the World Rubik's Game Championships
in Toronto. His record time was an average of 20 sec.
(SFC, 8/26/03, p.A15)
2003 Oct 23, A 3-day dominos
tournament began at the Ocho Rios resort in Jamaica.
(SFC, 10/24/03, p.D3)
2003 Dec 4, Toy seller FAO
Schwartz filed for bankruptcy.
(SFC, 12/5/03, p.B2)
2003 James Zug authored
"Squash: A History of the Game."
(WSJ, 9/26/03, p.W16)
2004 Feb 11, It was reported
that Mattel planned to introduce a line of toys capable of receiving
digital signals from a new Batman TV cartoon show scheduled for the
(WSJ, 2/11/04, p.A1)
2004 Feb 12, Mattel released
news that Barbie would have a new boyfriend named Blaine, an
Australian boogie boarder. Barbie’s new “Cali Girl" lined was set to
debut in the summer.
(ST, 7/29/04, p.C8)
2004 Billy Gaines and Duncan
Carrroll, graduates of Carnegie Mellon Univ., developed a Web site
called bpong.com along with a multiplayer online beer-pong game.
Beer pong had gained popularity on college campuses in the 1990s.
(WSJ, 8/29/07, p.A10)
2004 Japan’s video game makers
introduced the Nintendo DS (dual screen) and Sony PSP (PlayStation
(Econ, 2/26/11, p.70)
2005 Mar 17, Toys R Us agreed
to become a privately owned company in a $6.6 billion buyout deal
that included 2 equity firms and a real estate developer.
(SFC, 3/18/05, p.C1)
2005 Disney launched a free
online game called Virtual Magic Kingdom in conjunction with its
50th anniversary. It became very popular and in 2008 fans protested
plans to shut the site down.
(WSJ, 5/20/08, p.B1)
2006 Nov 11, Sony Corp.
launched its new PlayStation 3 (PS3) in Japan.
(Econ, 11/18/06, p.63)
2006 Nov 17, Japan’s Sony Corp.
launched its new PlayStation 3 (PS3) in the USA.
2006 Nov 19, Nintendo's new Wii
video game console debuted, the final entrant in the three-way
scramble for dominance in the $30 billion global game market.
2006 Dec 5, In Germany world
chess champion Vladimir Kramnik lost the sixth and decisive game
against computer program Deep Fritz, ceding a hard-fought Man vs.
Machine match 4-2.
2006 Dec 12, Online political
groups, the Campaign to Defend the Constitution and the Christian
Alliance for Progress, demanded that Wal-Mart dump Left Behind:
Eternal Forces, a new computer game in which players must either
kill or convert non-Christians.
(SFC, 12/12/06, p.A1)
2006 Julian Dibbell authored
“Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading
(Econ, 12/10/11, p.7)
2006 The word game Bananagrams,
created by Rhode Island native Abraham Nathanson (1929-2010), made
its debut at the London Toy Fair. In 2009 it was named game of the
year by the Toy Industry Association.
(SFC, 6/11/10, p.C7)
2007 Apr 24, The video game
“Lord of the Rings Online," developed by Turbine Inc., was released
for the Microsoft Windows platform. It initially cost players $40
plus a subscription for each month played.
(Econ, 12/10/11, SR p.7)
2007 Jul 7, Jack Odell
(b.1920), British creator of the Matchbox miniature toys (1953),
died. The toys were made by Lesney Products, founded by Leslie and
Rodney Smith in 1947. The company went public in 1960 and bankrupt
in 1982, when it was sold to Hong Kong’s Universal International
Ltd. In 1997 Mattel acquired Matchbox.
(WSJ, 1/14/07, p.A4)
2007 Aug 2, Beijing and
Washington agreed to cooperate more closely on product and food
safety as the US recalled almost 1 million toys due to lead
concerns. Mattel apologized to customers as it recalled nearly a
million Chinese-made toys from its Fisher-Price division that were
found to have excessive amounts of lead.
(AP, 8/3/07)(SFC, 8/3/07, p.D1)(AP, 8/2/08)
2007 Sep 21, Mattel Inc,
apologized for damaging China's reputation after recent massive
recalls of its Chinese-made toys, admitting it targeted some goods
that were actually up to scratch.
2007 Oct 14, In California Gov.
Schwarzenegger signed legislation banning toys that contain toxic
plastic softeners, i.e. phthalates, becoming the first state in the
US to do so.
(SFC, 10/16/07, p.A1)
2007 Dec 12, Thailand smashed
through the 100-gold barrier at the SEA Games as they continued
their relentless pursuit of top spot on the medals table.
2007 Edward McPherson authored
“The Backwash Squeeze & Other Improbable Feats: A Newcomer's
Journey into the World of Bridge."
(WSJ, 8/4/07, p.P8)
2007 Lumos Labs launched
Lumosity, a website of online games designed to improve users’
(Econ, 8/10/13, p.56)
2007 Mark Pincus founded Zynga
Game Network. The company had a smash hit with the social online
game FarmVille in 2009. By the end of 2010 the San Francisco-based
company was valued at $5.4 billion.
(SFC, 11/19/10, p.D8)
2008 Jan 14, Richard Knerr
(82), co-founder of the toy company that popularized the Hula Hoop,
Frisbee and other fads that became classics, died. Knerr started
Wham-O in 1948 with his childhood friend Arthur "Spud" Melin.
2008 Mar 4, Gary Gygax
(b.1938), co-creator of the role-playing Dungeons & Dragons
game, died in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Gygax and Don Kaye had founded
Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) in 1973. In 1974 Gygax and David
Arneson published D&D. In 1997 TSR was sold to Wizards of the
(WSJ, 3/8/08, p.A7)(Econ, 3/15/08, p.102)
2008 Apr 29, The videogame
“Grand Theft Auto IV," produced by Take-Two Interactive Software,
hit the stores with expectations of record sales. First week sales
topped $50 million.
(WSJ, 4/29/08, p.B7)(WSJ, 5/8/08, p.B8)
2008 Jun 10, In NYC a million
pieces of stainless steel toy parts assembled into a nearly
seven-story model skyscraper glimmered under the hot sun. It was
created by American artist Chris Burden (b.1946). The 16,000-pound
(7,250-kg) "poetic interpretation" of the 30 Rock Building at
Rockefeller Center was made of replicated Erector set pieces from
the toy created by A.C. Gilbert in 1912.
2008 Oct 29, In Germany
Viswanathan Anand of India retained his world chess title by drawing
with the white pieces against Russian challenger Vladimir Kramnik.
2008 Nov 13, The 38th Chess
Olympiad started in Dresden, Germany. It included 146 teams in the
open division, often referred to as the men's division although it
includes a few women. The separate women's division included 111
2008 Nov 25 Armenia won its
second straight gold medal at the Chess Olympiad in Germany by
defeating China 2.5-1.5 in the 11th and final round.
2008 Toy maker Chris Nee
pitched her Doc McStuffins doll idea to Disney executives. The
company changed the doll’s race from white to black and by 2013 it
was a top seller.
(SSFC, 12/8/13, p.D7)
2009 Jan 30, Hans Beck (79),
creator of the colorful plastic Playmobil toy figures that sold by
the millions around the world, died in Germany. Beck had created and
developed the 3-inch (7.5-centimeter) tall line of figures for the
company in 1971. they were dubbed Playmobil and brought to market in
2009 Apr 9, Dave Arneson (61),
co-creator of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game (1974) and a
pioneer of role-playing entertainment, died after a two-year battle
(AP, 4/10/09)(SFC, 4/11/09, p.B3)
2009 May 27, Toys R Us Inc.
said it acquired toy retailer FAO Schwarz, which has struggled for
years through bankruptcies amid tough competition from discount
2009 Jun, Facebook introduced
the online FarmVille game created by Zynga. Facebook shut down the
game on Dec. 31, 2020. Flash, the software that powered the game,
also shut down.
(NY Times, 12/31/20)
2008 Jul 9, US electronic games
publisher Activision under Bobby Kotick closed its merger with the
gaming arm of Vivendi, a French media conglomerate, in a deal valued
at $18.8 billion.
2009 Oct 1, Mattel planned to
release its Mindflex toy, which allowed users to lift a ball and
send it through an obstacle course using brain control interface
(SSFC, 9/6/09, p.A8)
2009 Sep 9, In South Korea
performers from around the world have gathered on the South Korean
island of Jeju for this week's international Delphic Games,
popularly known as the "Culture Olympics." The first Delphic Games
of the modern era were held in Russia in 2000 and the second in
Malaysia in 2005.
2009 Sep 24, Japan’s Tokyo Game
Show, billed as the world's largest computer entertainment fest,
kicked off with hopes that depressed sales of game consoles will
enjoy a holiday resurrection.
2009 Sep 24, In Spain Garry
Kasparov soundly defeated Anatoly Karpov in an exhibition chess
match marking the 25th anniversary of their first title bout.
2009 Oct 1, Mattel planned to
release its Mindflex toy, which allowed users to lift a ball and
send it through an obstacle course using brain control interface
(SSFC, 9/6/09, p.A8)
2009 Nov 10, The
hotly-anticipated video game "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" was
launched in Britain amid a political row over its levels of
2009 Dec 5, The Defense Advance
Research projects Agency (DARPA) conducted an experiment challenging
teams around the country to locate the submit the correct geographic
coordinates of 10 weather balloons in return for a $40,000 cash
prize. Over 4,000 teams participated and the winning answer came
after 8 hours and 56 minutes. Social networking sites played a major
role in the game theory simulation. Riley Crane, a post doc research
fellow at MIT’s media lab, led the winning team using an elaborate
information gathering pyramid.
(SFC, 12/7/09, p.A9)
2009 Nov 10, Activision
released its new video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2." Sales
over the next 5 days brought in $550 million breaking records in
2009 Dec, Finnish computer game
developer Rovio Mobile released “Angry Birds," a puzzle video game.
It was inspired primarily by a sketch of stylized wingless birds and
was first released for Apple's iOS.
(Econ, 12/10/11, SR
2009 James McManus authored
“Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker."
(SSFC, 12/20/09, Books p.E6)
2009 Silly Bandz, rubber band
bracelets of various shapes, became a fad among kids in Alabama and
then across the nation. Robert Croak of Ohio began manufacturing and
marketing the product after seeing a similar item from Japan in
2007. A pack of 24 was priced at around $5.
(SSFC, 7/11/10, Par
2009 Riot Games, an American
firm, launched the "League of Legends" video game. The firm was
later acquire by Tencent, China's biggest tech firm.
(Econ., 6/27/20, p.49)
2010 Jan 4, The Norwegian Chess
Federation said Magnus Carlsen (19) is the youngest person to hold
the title since ratings were introduced in 1971.
2010 Feb 9, Walter Fredrick
Morrison (90), the man credited with inventing the Frisbee, died at
his home in Monroe, Utah. Morrison began manufacturing his flying
discs in 1948. He sold the production and manufacturing rights to
his "Pluto Platter" in 1957. The plastic flying disc was later
renamed the "Frisbee," with sales surpassing 200 million discs.
2010 Mar 27, In Russia former
Soviet world chess champion Vasily Smyslov (89) died of heart
failure. Smyslov beat Mikhail Botvinnik in 1957 to become the
seventh world champion, before losing in a re-match the following
year. His career in the top flight of world chess spanned some four
decades. He was beaten by Garry Kasparov in 1984 in the
Candidates Final match for the right to challenge Anatoly Karpov for
the world title, which Kasparov went on to capture.
2010 May 8, In Hungary Andor
Lilienthal (99), the last surviving member of 27 original
grandmaster chess players, died in Budapest.
2010 May 31, Chris Haney
(b.1950), co-creator of the Trivial Pursuit (1979) game, died in
(SFC, 6/2/10, p.C4)
2010 Oct 3, In India the
troubled Commonwealth Games got underway with a glittering opening
ceremony in a fortress-like New Delhi after a shambolic run-up that
threatened to derail the event.
2010 Oct 14, In India the
Commonwealth Games ended after 11 days of fiery competition that
went some way to mending the damage done to Indian pride and
prestige tarnished by the chaotic buildup to the event.
2010 Nov 2, San Francisco’s
Board of Supervisors passed a law that cracks down on the popular
practice of giving away free toys with unhealthy restaurant meals
for children. The law, which would take effect on December 1, would
allow toys to be given away with kids' meals that have less than 600
calories, contain fruits and vegetables, and include beverages
without excessive fat or sugar. Mayor Newsom vetoed the measure on
Nov 13. On Nov 23 the board overrode the veto.
11/3/10)(http://tinyurl.com/25458to)(SFC, 11/24/10, p.C1)
2010 Nov 4, Microsoft released
Kinect, a motion-tracking peripheral for the Xbox console.
Scientists soon found uses multiple other uses for the device.
(SFC, 1/10/11, p.D1)
2010 Nov 9, The $60 Activision
Blizzard video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops" was released. It raked
in a record $360 million in the first 24 hours of sales and $650
million in the first 5 days.
(SFC, 11/12/10, p.D3)(Econ, 12/10/11, SR p.3)
2010 Nov 27, In China an
"extraordinary" Asian Games closed after 15 days of thrills and
spills that saw China reinforce its sporting credentials as 45
countries and territories took part. China’s final gold tally
reached 199 and its total medals to 416, both Asian Games records.
2010 Bruce Lourie and Rick
Smith authored “Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of
(SFC, 3/12/10, p.F8)
2011 Jan 25, It was reported
that Poland's state-run National Remembrance Institute has created a
new game called "Kolejka," or "Queue," to help young Poles
understand the hardships of life under communism. It goes on sale
2011 Feb 26, In Japan
Nintendo's latest game machine, offering glasses-free 3-D images,
went on sale ahead of a global rollout. Analysts said it promises to
be the world's first 3-D mass-market product.
2011 Mar, IBM began teaching a
computer chip, called Synapse, to play Pong. The chip was designed
to learn through experience and after a few weeks it was nearly
(SFC, 11/7/11, p.D1)
2011 Apr 15, Indictments were
unsealed in Manhattan against 11 people including the founders of
three of the largest online poker sites open to US players.
PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker were charged with
bank fraud, money laundering and violating gambling laws.
(SFC, 4/16/11, p.A6)(Econ, 4/23/11, p.68)
2011 Apr 19, Sony Corp. in the
US noticed unauthorized activity on its network, and discovered that
data had been transferred off the network the next day. The
company's general counsel gave the FBI information about the breach
on April 22.
2011 Apr 20, South Korean
telecoms operator KT rolled out Kibot, a robot playmate for
children, in a move aimed at cashing in on the potentially lucrative
2011 Apr 21, Mattel Inc, after
waging a seven-year legal war against a tiny California company,
suffered a surprise defeat after a US jury decided that MGA
Entertainment Inc is the rightful owner of the once-billion dollar
line of pouty-lipped Bratz dolls.
2011 May 23, Bradley Franzen
(41) pleaded guilty in a Manhattan court to bank fraud, money
laundering and illegal gambling offenses. The US president of a
Costa Rica-based company faced up to 30 years in prison for
illegally processing payments for Internet poker firms.
2011 May 25, Austrian
authorities filed incitement charges against a right-wing politician
for commissioning a video game that required players to target and
stop mosques, minarets and muezzins as they pop up on a screen.
2011 Jun 19, Japanese game
maker Sega said hackers have stolen the personal data of some 1.29
million customers of the, in a theft via a website of its European
2011 Jun 27, The US Supreme
Court refused to let California regulate the sale or rental of
violent video games to children, saying governments do not have the
power to "restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed"
despite complaints about graphic violence.
2011 Oct 14, An Austrian court
found right-wing politician Gerhard Kurzmann not guilty of charges
of incitement for posting a video game called "Moschee Baba," that
required players to target and stop mosques, minarets and muezzins
as they appear on a screen.
2011 Nov 8, Activision released
the video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3," developed Infinity
Ward and Sledgehammer Games. It sold a record $750 million in its
first five days.
(Econ, 12/10/11, SR
2011 Nov 11, Indonesia opened
the 26th Southeast Asian Games with more than 6,000 athletes from 11
countries participating in the biennial games.
2011 Nov 22, In Indonesia the
Southeast Asian Games were formally closed by Indonesia Vice
President Budiono. Indonesia earned a table-topping 182 golds among
476 medals, followed by Thailand with 109 among 329.
2011 Dec 16, Zynga, a SF-based
internet game company, went public for $10 a share, valuing the
company at $1 billion. Shares closed down 5% at $9.50.
(SFC, 12/16/11, p.A1)(SFC, 12/17/11, p.A1)
2011 Jane McGonigal authored
“Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can change
(Econ, 3/19/11, p.94)
2011 Skee-ball Inc. (SBI), the
Pennsylvania maker of the skee-ball machine, sued the Brooklyn-based
Brewskee-ball League for infringing on its century-old trademark.
(Econ, 7/19/14, p.29)
2012 Jan 17, It was reported
that a new online game in India called "Angry Brides," available as
a free application on Facebook, has attracted more than 270,000
fans. It seeks to highlight the problem of illegal dowry demands for
2012 Feb 5, New York Giants
quarterback Eli Manning led his team to a 21-17 victory over the New
England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in
(SFC, 2/6/12, p.B1)
2012 Mar 26, British video
games retailer GAME collapsed into administration, placing more than
5,500 jobs at risk, becoming the latest victim of tough economic
conditions. GAME's international divisions were operating as normal.
2012 Apr 29, Thomas Preston
(83), Texas gambler also known as Amarillo Slim, died in Amarillo.
His 1972 win in the fledgling World Series of Poker in Las Vegas
helped make him an ambassador for the game.
(Econ, 5/12/12, p.98)(http://tinyurl.com/8xlfd8l)
2012 May 30, In Moscow world
chess champion Viswanathan Anand of India retained his title,
beating Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand 2.5-1.5 in a rapid
tiebreaker round of four games.
2012 Nov 8, The US Navy said 7
members of SEAL Team 6 have been punished for disclosing classified
information to the maker of a video game.
(SFC, 11/9/12, p.A10)
2012 Nov 18, The Wii U,
Nintendo’s newest games console, was released in the US. Release in
Europe was set for Nov 30 and in Japan for Dec 8.
(Econ, 12/1/12, p.73)
2012 Major League Ultimate, the
first centrally managed professional league for Frisbee-flinging,
began its first season.The Boston Whitecaps won this year’s
(Econ, 10/5/13, p.68)
2013 Jan 16, Andre Cassagnes,
inventor and renowned kite maker, died in France. He was the
inventor of the Etch-a-Sketch toy (1959), which he sold to Ohio
Art for $25,000.
(Econ, 2/16/13, p.90)
2013 Jan 24, Toymaker Mattel
Inc. scored a partial victory when a federal appeals court
overturned a 2011 jury verdict and $170 million in damages for
allegedly stealing trade secrets from the maker of Bratz dolls. The
court upheld a judge’s award of $137.2 million to Bratz’s
manufacturer, MGA Entertainment, for its defense against Mattel’s
trade secrets claim.
(SFC, 1/25/13, p.D5)
2013 Mar 5, Stealth action game
"Dishonored," featuring a masked bodyguard-turned-assassin, was
named best video game of the year at an award ceremony in London.
2013 Apr 30, A Las Vegas casino
subsidiary launched Ultimate Gaming, the first fully legal poker
website in the US.
(SFC, 5/1/13, p.A8)
2013 May 14, Malaysia-based
Genting Group, a major casino operator, accused Phil Ivey (37) of
amassing millions of dollars in winnings by cheating at baccarat.
Ivey, an American, is one of the world's top professional poker
players. The game in question took place on Aug 20-21, 2012, at
Crockfords, one of London's oldest and most respected casinos.
2013 May 18, Russia's Sergey
Karjakin won the €100,000 ($130,000) Norway chess championship after
drawing against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.
2013 Sep 17, The video game
“Grand Theft Auto V," made in Edinburgh, Scotland, by Rockstar
North, was released. Take-Two Interactive, the American owner of
Rockstar North, expected to take as much as £1 billion in revenues.
(Econ, 9/21/13, p.60)
2013 Sep 17, A man (23) was
attacked in London in the early hours as he made his way home from a
midnight launch event for the notoriously violent videogame "Grand
Theft Auto V." Three British teenagers, ages 14-17, were later
charged over the stabbing and robbery. The victim remained in
hospital in a stable condition. On Sep 20 game's publisher Take-Two
Interactive Software said that it had raked in more than a billion
dollars during the first three days of sales, smashing previous
2013 Nov 7, The US National Toy
Hall of Fame in Rochester, NY, inducted the rubber duck and the game
(SFC, 11/8/13, p.A7)
2013 Nov 15, Sony released its
PlayStation 4 video game player, one week ahead of Microsoft’s new
(SFC, 11/15/13, p.C1)
2013 Nov 22, Microsoft crowed
that more than a million Xbox One consoles were snapped up within 24
hours in 13 countries after hitting shelves for the first time in
2013 Nov 22, In India Magnus
Carlsen (22) of Norway defeated Viswanathan Anand of India in the
chess world championship, becoming the first Western player since
Bobby Fischer to hold the title. The match in Chennai, which began
Nov. 9, has been shown live on TV in both Norway and India, with
millions more watching online.
2013 In Japan “Yo-kai," a word
meaning supernatural spirits, began as a cartoon series. It
was later adopted for TV and made into a hit video game after which
toy maker Banda Namco won merchandise rights.
(Econ, 2/25/17, p.56)
2014 Jan 6, China temporarily
lifted a 14-year-old ban on selling video game consoles, paving the
way for Sony Corp, Microsoft Corp and Nintendo Co Ltd to enter the
world's third largest video game market in terms of revenue.
2014 Jan 14, A Chicago federal
court sentenced H. Ty Warner (69), the billionaire businessman
behind Beanie Babies, to two years probation for not paying taxes on
$25 million he had hidden.
(SFC, 1/15/14, p.A4)
2014 Mar 18, The Mega Millions
jackpot of $414 million, the third largest in the game’s history,
went to two winners of tickets sold in Florida and Maryland.
(SFC, 3/20/14, p.A6)
2014 Mar 25, King Digital,
ticker KING, raised $500 million from the sale of 22.2 million
shares. Established in 2002, King's business has soared in the last
two years thanks to the spectacular popularity of Candy Crush Saga,
which boasts some 97 million players worldwide.
2014 Apr 15, South Korean
police charged a man for the murder of his 2-year-old son after he
confessed to suffocating the child so he could leave the house to go
back to playing games at an Internet cafe.
2014 Sep 15, Microsoft
announced a $2.5 billion deal to acquire Mojang, the Swedish firm
behind the “Minecraft" video game said to have over 100 million
(SFC, 9/16/14, p.A1)
2014 Dec 6, Ralph Baer, video
game pioneer, died at his home in Manchester, New Hampshire. He
created both the precursor to "Pong" and the electronic memory game
"Simon" and had led the team that developed the Magnavox Odyssey,
the first home video game console.
2014 Dec 26, Sony's PlayStation
network remained offline on the second day of an outage that began
roiling the online world just as eager video game players were
unwrapping new consoles on Christmas morning.
2015 Jun 2, Disney said it will
be introducing a new line of toys that combine high-tech wearable
gadgets and old-school superhero role-playing to keep kids moving.
Disney’s Playmation will hit stores in October and cost $120.
(SFC, 6/3/15, p.C3)
2015 Jun 28, In Azerbaijan the
European Games came to a close. Russia sent its top athletes to the
games as a warm-up for next year's Olympics and was rewarded by
winning almost four times as many gold medals as its closest rival.
2015 Jul 11, In Japan Satoru
Iwata (55), head of Nintendo Co., died at Kyoto University Hospital
after a lengthy illness. He had led the video game company through
years of growth with its Pokemon and Super Mario franchises.
2015 Jul 28, In Germany the
14th annual Maccabi Games, Europe’s largest Jewish sporting event,
opened in Berlin.
(Econ, 8/1/15, p.48)
2015 Oct 15, Fan Hui, a
professional with the Chinese Go Association, lost to Google
DeepMind’s AlphaGo in the final game of the five game match. The
startling performance of AlphaGo wasn’t revealed until a paper
detailing the feat was published in the science journal Nature, on
January 27, 2016. AlphaGo, developed by British AI research company
DeepMind, was acquired by Google in 2014.
(http://tinyurl.com/gvs8krj)(Econ, 1/30/15, p.72)
2015 Nov 3, Activision
Blizzard, a video game company, acquired King Digital Entertainment
for $5.9 billion in cash and stock.
(Econ, 11/7/15, p.61)
2015 Edward Brooke-Hitching
authored “Fox Tossing and Other Forgotten and Dangerous sports,
Pastimes, and Games.
(Econ, 11/21/15, p.78)
2015 The game Pie Face by
Hasbro was released and became a big hit.
(SFC, 12/23/17, p.D4)
2016 Jan 12, The Denmark-based
Lego Group announced that it would no longer ask what the "thematic
purpose" of a project is. Instead, customers who intend to display
their creations in public will be asked to make clear that Lego does
not support or endorse them.
2016 Mar 9, In South Korea a
Google-developed supercomputer stunned South Korean Go grandmaster
Lee Se-Dol by taking the first game of a five-match showdown between
man and machine in Seoul.
2016 Mar 10, In South Korea
human Go champion Lee Sedol said he was left "speechless" after his
second straight loss to Google's Go-playing machine in a
highly-anticipated human versus machine face-off.
2016 Mar 12, In South Korea
AlphaGo, a Google-developed computer program, won its best-of-five
match-up with a South Korean Go grandmaster, taking an unassailable
3-0 lead to score a major victory for a new style of "intuitive"
artificial intelligence (AI).
2016 Jul 6, Japan’s Nintendo
video-gaming firm released Pokemon Go, an app for smart phones, in
American, Australia and New Zealand. The Pokemon franchise began as
a video game in 1996.
(Econ, 7/16/16, p.54)
2016 Jul 20, Saudi Arabia's top
clerics renewed a religious edict that warns against playing Pokemon
— this time as the wildly popular mobile phone application "Pokemon
Go". First issued in 2001 when the game was played with cards, the
decree says Pokemon violates Islamic prohibitions against gambling
uses devious Masonic-like symbols and promotes "forbidden images."
2016 Oct, Russian blogger
Ruslan Sokolovsky was detained for posting a video on his blog
showing him playing “Pokemon Go" on his phone in a church on the
supposed site of where the last Russian czar and his family were
killed in Yekaterinburg. On May 11, 2017, he was convicted of
inciting religious hatred and given a suspended sentence.
(SFC, 5/11/17, p.A2)
2016 Dec 6, Danish toymaker
Lego said it is appointing its first foreign CEO and will give its
family owners a bigger role in developing the Lego brand under an
organizational shake-up that will see incumbent Jorgen Vig Knudstorp
step down by the end of the year. Briton Bali Padda, currently chief
operations officer, will replace Knudstorp.
2016 Dec 8, Zynga released its
“Dawn of Titans" video game as a free download for Apple and Android
(http://www.dawnoftitans.com/2016/12/08/358/)(SFC, 12/12/16, p.D1)
2016 Dec 9, Venezuela’s fair
pricing authority seized almost 4 million toys from toy distributor
Kreisel and said it plans to hand them out to poor children this
holiday season. Two company executives were detained on suspicion of
promoting price speculation.
(SSFC, 12/11/16, p.A4)
2016 Dec 15, Nintendo of Japan
released “Super Mario Run," its latest video game.
(Econ, 12/24/16, p.69)
2016 Dec, Video streaming firm
BAMTech, a technology subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company located
in Manhattan, NY, agreed to pay $300 million for the rights to
stream tournaments for a game called “League of Legends" until 2023.
The game was owned by Tencent, a Chinese Internet giant.
2017 Jan 22, Masaya Nakamura
(91), the "Father of Pac-Man," died in Japan. He founded Namco, part
of Bandai Namco, the Japanese video game company behind the hit
creature-gobbling game in 1955. Pac-Man, designed by Namco engineer
and video game maker Toru Iwatani, went on sale in 1980, at a time
when there were few rival games, such as Space Invaders.
2017 May 23, In China Google’s
AlphaGo computer defeated Ke Jie, China’s national go champion.
Censors blocked access to the online broadcast by Google, which
organized the game in Wuzhen, a town west of Shanghai, during a
forum on artificial intelligence.
2017 Jul 8, In San Antonio,
Texas, Jorge Gonzalez found his son Isaiah (15) hanging from the
closet. A propped up cell phone next to him had broadcast the
suicide, believed to be tied to an online spectacle known as the
Blue Whale Challenge. On July 10 CNN reported that a girl (16) in
Atlanta had also taken her life while participating in the
(SFC, 7/12/17, p.A11)
2017 Jul 23, In Nevada Scott
Blumstein (25) of New Jersey won the series' marquee no-limit Texas
Hold 'em main event early today in Las Vegas. He was more than $8.1
million richer after eliminating Pennsylvania's Daniel Ott on the
246th hand of the final table.
2017 Sep 18, New Jersey-based
Toys 'R' Us, the toy retailer struggling with $5 billion in debt and
intense online competition, said it has filed for bankruptcy
protection ahead of the key holiday shopping season. The company
said its stores will remain open for business as usual.
2017 Sep 19, Game developer
Zynga said it is adding 50,000 pop culture words as part of its
largest dictionary update for the Scrabble-esque game “Words with
(SFC, 9/20/17 p.C6)
2017 Dec 24, A vice president
of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) said seven Israeli players have
been denied visas to participate in the Dec. 26-30 speed chess
championship hosted by Saudi Arabia this week.
2017 Dec 26, Saudi Arabia
hosted a world chess tournament for the first time, nearly two years
after the country's top cleric issued a religious edict against
playing the board game. Players from Israel and Qatar missed the
tournament due to regional tensions.
2017 Dec 28, In Kansas Andrew
Finch (28) was killed by a SWAT team in Wichita following the fake
911 call about a shooting and killing at the victim’s address.
Police in southern California arrested Tyler Barriss (25) the next
day, suspected of making the hoax call that resulted in the fatal
shooting. On Nov. 13, 2018, Barriss pleaded guilty to making the
hoax call following a dispute between two online gamers over a $1.50
bet in a Call of Duty WWII video game. On March 31, 2019, Barriss
was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
(SSFC, 12/31/17, p.A7)(SFC, 11/14/18, p.A5)(SFC,
2017 The fidget spinner swept
the world as a toy that everyone could play with. It was originally
developed to help calm children with attention-deficit hyperactivity
disorder. Similar devices had been invented as early as 1993.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fidget_spinner)(Econ, 9/9/17, p.60)
2017 The game Toilet Trouble by
Hasbro was released and became a big hit.
(SFC, 12/23/17, p.D4)
2017 PUBG Corp., a subsidiary
of South Korean video game company Bluehole developed and published
PlayerUnknowns' Battlegrounds (PUBG), an online multi-player video
game. PUBG soon sold publishing rights in China to Tencent. In 2019
the governments of Iraq and Jordan banned the game, but their
decisions proved ineffective.
2018 Jan 9, Authorities in the
Paraguayan border town of Ciudad del Este temporarily closed a shop
accused of selling transgender dolls. The city attorney Christian
said the shop also was closed for failing to pay this year's
commercial tax and was selling toys when it's only authorized to
sell electronic goods.
2018 Apr 21, It was reported
that Ireland-based Smyths Toys has reached a deal to take over more
than 90 Toys R Us stores in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
2018 Jul 16, Saudi Arabia said
it's banning a long list of popular video games after allegations
surfaced that two children killed themselves after being encouraged
to do so in an online game. A girl (13) and a boy (12) had
reportedly killed themselves after playing the so-called "Blue
Whale" social media game.
2018 Aug 14, Indonesia deployed
100,000 police and soldiers to provide security for the Asian Games,
the biggest event ever held in its terror attack prone capital
2018 Aug 18, In Indonesia the
18th Asian Games officially opened in Jakarta.
2018 Aug 26, In Indonesia a
crew comprising South Koreans and North Koreans won the 500-meter
dragon boat final at the Asian Games co-host city of Palembang. This
was the first gold medal by a combined Koreas team at a major
2018 Sep 2, In Indonesia the
Asian Games closed in a ceremony emphasizing the country's diversity
and the ties linking the 11,000 athletes who competed for 45
nations. The 2-week-long games ended with Indonesia fourth on the
medal table behind China (289), Japan (205) and South Korea (177).
(AP, 9/2/18)(AP, 9/3/18)
2019 Oct 2, The 9th World
Championship of "League of Legends," a fantasy game played by teams
of five, began and continued to November 10 in Berlin, Madrid and
Paris. The video game, owned by Chinese megacorporation Tencent, was
watched by some 44 million people.
2018 Oct 23, The live-betting
esports platform Unikrn had its wagering license approved by the
Isle of Man, clearing the way for users to legally gamble on
competitive video games. Unikrn had previously only been licensed to
provide real-money betting on esports in the UK and Australia.
2018 Dec 1, The Bristol-based
disciplinary panel of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker
Association, founded in 1968, handed long bans to two Chinese
snooker players for fixing matches in one of the sport's biggest
2018 China's Pres. Xi Jinping
cracked down on online addiction, blood, butchery, boobs and bums in
(Econ., 6/13/20, p.56)
2018 Puerto Rico-based
LiftFoils began shipping its first battery-powered propeller
surfboards. The units enabled users to rise a foot or so above the
(SFC, 10/8/20, p.A11)
2019 Jan 25, It was reported
that a board game that makes light of last year's nerve agent attack
on a former Russian spy in Britain has gone on sale in Russia.
Players of "Our Guys In Salisbury" roll dice to advance across the
board from Moscow to Salisbury, the city where Britain says two
Russian spies used a chemical weapon to poison Sergei Skripal and
2019 Apr 17, Iraq's parliament
voted unanimously to ban the popular but brutal online game Player
Unknown's Battlegrounds for "inciting violence" in the war-torn
2019 May 8, China-based Tencent
Holdings Ltd shut down its test version of global blockbuster
"PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" in China and shifted users to a
similar, more patriotic video game which, unlike PUBG, has
regulatory approval to generate revenue.
2019 Jun 12, It was announced
that the Immortals Gaming Company has acquired Infinite Esports in
what is believed to be the competitive video gaming industry's first
$100 million deal.
2020 Aug, Ryan Cohen, the
former boss of Chewy, an online pet food store, began amassing a
large stake in GameStop, a brick-and-mortar purveyor of video games.
In November he urged the board to invest in e-commerce and soon
joined the board. The share value of GameStop rose and became a
subject on a Reddit forum that drove the share price even higher.
(Econ., 1/30/21, p.60)
2019 Sep 25, Mattel, the
toymaker behind Barbie, launched a range of gender-neutral dolls
which can be styled as either girls or boys, saying children were
moving away from traditional stereotypes.
2019 China imposed a cyber
curfew barring those under 18 from playing games between 10 p.m. and
8 a.m. In 2021 Tencent said it began testing facial recognition
technology in April to verify the ages of avid nighttime players and
has since used it in 60 of its games.
(NY Times, 7/8/21)
2020 Feb 14, Matvey Natanzon
(51), Russian-born Israeli backgammon player, died. He moved to
Buffalo, New York as a teenager and graduated from the New York
State University at Buffalo in 1991 with a degree in accounting. In
2007 Natanzon, known as Falafel, was named the number one backgammon
player in the world by an unscientifically compiled peer-audited
review known as Giants of Backgammon.
2020 Apr 7, It was reported
that sales of sex toys in Denmark have more than doubled after Danes
were told to stay at home to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
2020 Sep 21, Microsoft bought
ZeniMax Media, which makes the best-selling "Fallout" and "Elder
Scrolls" series of games, for $7.5 billion.
(Econ., 11/7/20, p.59)
2020 Nov 18, Group video chat
app Houseparty said that it has partnered with popular video game
"Fortnite" to let friends video chat while playing the game, as
people seek various sources of entertainment during the COVID-19
2020 Dec 17, Afghanistan's
telecoms regulator banned "Player-Unknown's Battlegrounds" (PUBG), a
popular video game, after the Ministry of Haj and Religious Affairs
declared it harmful to mental health.
(Econ., 1/16/21, p.30)
2020 Dec 22, German media
reported that Benedikt Schwaderlapp decided to commercialize a
coronavirus game, invented by his four daughters, by hiring an
artist to design cards, board and box. So far he's sold 2,000
copies, and signed up a toy store as a secondary distributor.
2020 Dec 31, Apple removed
39,000 game apps on its China store, the biggest removal ever in a
single day, as it set year-end as deadline for all game publishers
to obtain a license.
2021 Jan 20, The EU's executive
Commission said it has issued fines to Valve Corp., owner of a US
video game platform and five game makers, after they blocked players
from buying cheaper copies of the games in other countries in the
2021 Jan 27, Shares of GameStop
and AMC Entertainment Holdings soared for a fourth day running,
forcing hedge funds to retreat from heavy losses and sparking calls
for scrutiny of a social media-driven trading frenzy. The share
price of GameStop spiked from a few dollars in 2020 to a peak of
more than $350.
(Reuters, 1/27/21)(Econ., 1/30/21, p.60)
2021 Jan 31, It was reported
that Melvin Capital, the hedge fund at the center of the GameStop
drama, lost 53% in January but received commitments for fresh cash
from investors in the last days of the month. The firm, founded in
2014 by Gabe Plotkin, had bet that ailing video game retailer
GameStop's stock, which traded at less than $5 five months ago,
would fall. A wave of retail investors, comparing notes on social
media platform Reddit and using online trading app Robinhood, took
the other side of Plotkin's trade to send the stock up 1,625% this
month to close at $325 on Jan. 29.
2021 Feb 9, Poland's video
games maker CD Projekt said a cyber attack will slow fixes to its
flagship Cyberpunk 2077 game and other development work.
2021 Feb 24, GameStop shares
doubled, lifting their year-to-date gain to over 380% and the video
game chain's market value to $6.4 billion. That puts GameStop, whose
shares are in the iShares Micro-Cap ETF, above the value of some
S&P 500 companies.
2021 Mar 3, Zynga Inc said it
had acquired San Francisco-based game studio Echtra Games Inc,
taking the mobile-game maker a step closer to its goal of developing
a portfolio of new titles that users can play across platforms.
2021 Mar 10, Shares of Roblox
Corp, a video game platform, rose almost 55% on its stock market
debut. Well-known stock picker and exchange-traded fund operator
Cathie Wood bought into the company. California-based Roblox was
founded in 2004 by David Baszucki and Erik Cassel (d.2013), although
its journey began in 1989 when Baszucki and Cassel programmed a 2D
simulated physics lab Knowledge Revolution that would later lay the
groundwork for the company.
2021 Mar 24, Sweden-based
E-sports and gaming group MTG said it has agreed to buy mobile games
developer Ninja Kiwi for about 1.6 billion crowns ($186 million) to
broaden its gaming portfolio.
2021 Jun 17, A patch of virtual
land in the blockchain-based online world Decentraland sold for more
than $900,000, in a record purchase for the platform. The purchase
was made using MANA, Decentraland's own cryptocurrency. The land
cost 1,295,000 MANA, which was worth $913,228.2 at the time of sale.
Decentraland is a user-owned, Ethereum-based virtual world where you
can play, explore, and interact with games and activities.
2021 Jul 3, Turkish national
Mehmet Aydin (30), on the run after allegedly embezzling money from
thousands of people in a Ponzi scheme, was extradited from Brazil to
Turkey and detained. Aydin is thought to have collected the
equivalent of more than $131 million in Turkish lira from over
130,000 people through an online scheme called Ciftlik, or Farm
Bank, an online game inspired by FarmVille.
2021 Jul 14, Danish toymaker
Lego said it had asked Provo-based Culper Precision, a Utah-based
gun company, to stop producing a product that makes a pistol look
like it is covered with the famous multi-colored building brick.
Lego they have agreed to remove the product from their website and
not make or sell anything like this in the future.
2021 Aug 10, Maki Kaji (69),
known as the "Godfather of Sudoku," died. Kaji took hints from an
existing number puzzle to create what he later named "sudoku" - a
contraction of the Japanese for "every number must be single." He
first “fell in love" with a game called Number Place in 1984. He
renamed it Sudoku. The number puzzle is played daily by millions
around the world.
(Reuters, 8/16/21)(NY Times, 8/17/21)
2021 Aug 30, China published
new rules forbidding under-18s from playing video games for more
than three hours a week, a stringent social intervention that it
said was needed to pull the plug on a growing addiction to what it
once described as "spiritual opium".
2021 Sep 18, It was reported
that Chinese regulators have set up a platform that allows the
public to report on gaming companies they believe are violating
restrictions on online games times for children.
(SFC, 9/18/21, p.C2)
2021 Oct 10, Dream11, one of
India's most popular gaming apps, said it has suspended operations
in the southern state of Karnataka after a complaint was registered
against its founders claiming it was in violation of a new state
2021 Oct 21, Tom Morey,
inventor of the surfing Boogie Board (1971), died in Laguna Hills,
2021 Nov, Radio Free Asia
reported that copies of Squid Game had been smuggled into North
Korea on USB drives and SD cards. A man who is said to have smuggled
in the show was later sentenced to death by a firing squad.
2021 Dec 10, Cybersecurity firm
Cloudstrike said a software vulnerability in the online game
Minecraft is rapidly emerging as a major threat to
internet-connected devices arund the world. New Zealand's computer
emergency response team was among the first to report the flaw a day
earlier. The flaw in open-source Apache software was discovered on
Nov. 24 by the Chinese tech giant Alibaba.
(SFC, 12/11/21, p.A5)
2021 Dec 16, Masayuki Uemura
(78), Japanese engineer who developed the Nintendo Entertainment
system (1983), died in j in Japan.
(SSFC, 12/19/21, p.F8)
2021 Dec 22, US auto safety
regulators said they have opened a formal safety investigation into
580,000 Tesla vehicles sold since 2017 over the automaker's decision
to allow games to be played on the front center touchscreen.
2021 Dec 23, A US federal
safety regulator said Tesla has agreed to modify software in its
cars to prevent drivers and passengers from playing video games on
the dashboard screens while vehicle are in motion.
(NY Times, 12/23/21)