What would gaming life been like without Trivial Pursuit? I remember, as a young adult, gathering with friends and playing into the night. Much laughter and good clean fun was had, as befits a family-oriented board game. (Yes, we were geeks – but look at us now! …Wait, I’m still a geek!).
Released in 1982, and becoming a major best-selling game by 1984, Trivial Pursuit was a classic from the start. Players worked their way around the game board, landing on different colored squares and answering color-coded questions based on six trivia categories, with correct answers giving the player a colored wedge to add to their player token. When all six colored wedges were collected, players made their way to the center of the board and answered one final question to win the game.
The creators of the game, Scott Abbot and Chris Haney at first struggled to get the game released to a national audience. But in 1983 they worked a licensing deal with Selchow and Righter, a publishing company. By 1984, Trivial Pursuit had become a monster hit, selling over 20 million copies, and continued to sell for the rest of the decade. By 1988, Parker Brothers (now a division of Hasbro, Inc) secured the publishing license, and was so successful that Hasbro purchased the rights outright in 1988 for a cool $80 million. Considering that the entire concept had been created by Abbot and Haney when they were short of Scrabble pieces one night, I’d say that gaming can pay off, too.
In addition to the sequels that added new questions (Genus II, III, IV, V, and 6), there have been many variations on the theme: Baby Boomer, Walt Disney, Silver Screen, RPM, Young Players, Warner Bros., 1980s, 1990s, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, 10th Anniversary, 20th Anniversary, 25th Anniversary…and many, many more editions. (Even a hand-laid leather inlaid version with gold and silver embossing worth over $4000.) This is a game that just keeps sticking around, which is why it earned a spot on the “Games Hall of Fame” by Games Magazine in December, 1993. The game has also spawned a television series and assorted video and computer games based on the concept.
If you haven’t played the game before, pick up a copy – any edition – and gather a few of your favorite friends aged 12 and up. Prep a bowl or two of snacks, something to wet your parched throat, and pass the time in trivial pursuits!