Friends, by the time that The Mad Magazine Game was released by Parker Brothers in 1979, I had already begun picking up an issue of the magazine now and again when visiting the local gas station. I quite enjoyed the parodies of popular television series and films, such as Superman, Battlestar Galactica, Evel Knievel, Sesame Street and more. Having said that however the features I most looked forward to in an issue of Mad Magazine were “Spy vs. Spy” and the strips by the legendary Don Martin. As you might imagine when ads for The Mad Magazine Game began to show up during commercial breaks on Saturday mornings – I took notice and it became a board game I requested for the Holidays.
I would love to tell you that I found it waiting for me under the tree when the Holidays rolled around – or that I received it for my birthday. But the truth of the matter is I would have to wait a mere 28 years before I was able to finally play The Mad Magazine Game – thanks to a Player kindly donating a copy of the game to the arcade. I’ve mentioned on the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast before how Shea Mathis, the owner and manager of the Arkadia Retrocade, decided at the very beginning that a player could skip all the video games and just enjoy some board games if they felt like it.
If you have not had the opportunity to play The Mad Magazine Game for yourself – in a nutshell it is like a demented version of Monopoly. The point of the game could not be more simple, the winner is the Player who manages to lose all of their money. The overall fun of the game comes from the madcap rules – including only rolling the dice with your left hand – in fact if you are caught with the dice in your right hand, the other players add to $500 each to your stash of money. You might find yourself with victory in your grasp, and then on the next turn you have to exchange seats with another player, inheriting however much money they had built up.
In an attempt to lose money you might have to attempt a physical stung like putting a card on the top of your head, trying to walk completely around the table without it falling off your noggin. Or when you land on the appropriate space on the board – if your fellow Players have their elbows on the table you lose $2000. You might be worried you will land on the space on the board where you have to collect the $1,329,063 bill… but only if your name happens to be Alfred E. Neuman!
In closing out this article, the greatest accomplishment that The Mad Magazine Game has pulled off is how the designers were able to capture the irreverence of the magazine itself. Of course it doesn’t hurt that The Mad Magazine Game board features artwork from the likes of Jack Davis as well as Don Martin either!
I you might happen to remember playing The Mad Magazine Game – take a few moments and let us know about it in the comments section.