When I started doing this blog, I wanted to specifically cover goofy stuff about video games. But today we’re breaking the chain. We’re going rogue, and not in a political sense. Oh, we’ll still be talking about games, board games to be exact. Well, the closest thing to a board game, anyway.
Remember Trivial Pursuit? Yeah, that board game where you’re given ridiculously hard trivia questions about history stuff and maybe a question or two on something you actually know? Considered a game of strong intellect, it’s been degenerated to having at least 5-6 special editions each year dedicated to various TV shows and movies. I can totally understand making one on Saturday Night Live, but is there seriously enough content to make a Rolling Stones Trivial Pursuit? (I wonder how many questions mention their heavy drug and sex habits)
Back in the 80s, before Hasbro acquired Trivial Pursuit and thought it was a good idea to make one based off Lord of the Rings and Nickelodeon shows, there weren’t as many spinoffs of the game. Most of them were based off subject matter like the 20s, movies, Disney, and even several kids editions. You might have seen these and many others at your local thrift store, as Trivial Pursuit seems to be a common thrift store dumping ground, next to other board games like bad licensed TV show games and that one incomplete copy of 1970s-era Monopoly with mysterious stains on it. But what I saw was something I hadn’t seen before, and I couldn’t resist snatching it up.
This is the Trivial Pursuit “Pocket Player Set”: Boob Tube edition. It’s a travel version of Trivial Pursuit. This makes about as much sense as making a travel version of Hungry Hungry Hippos. I believe this is the only attempt by Selchow & Righter — the original Trivial Pursuit rights holders — to actually make a travel version, because I had never seen anything like this before or since.
For those unaware of Trivial Pursuit, the goal is to correctly answer questions in six categories — which differed depending on the version you played — and get to the center of the board to win. You’d roll a die to land on a space and get asked a question. If you got the question right, you got a tiny pie piece that corresponded to the category you landed on.
Since making a small board would be a bad idea, the Pocket Player set foregoes the board and die entirely. Instead, you use a spinner on your game piece to determine one of the six colors you choose from — there are no specific categories in this version — and you’d still ask questions as normal with the goal to get all six categories filled in first. There are considerably fewer questions in this version separated between two decks of cards, and they’re all based on TV content up to the time of the game’s release. Since the category colors have never changed, you could probably import a different edition of the game and still play it with the spinners. Bring a copy of the Baby Boomer edition just to piss off your friends on road trips!
This isn’t the first time they attempted a boardless Trivial Pursuit — the 1993 “Game Show” version loosely based on the short lived game show used a colored die to determine the category — but this was probably was the last time they attempted it. The appeal of Trivial Pursuit is to get up to six of your buddies huddled in front of a board as they try to answer something about Napoleon Bonaparte that they have no freakin’ clue about. The Pocket Player set lacks that, and makes it a goofy novelty, yet an interesting collector’s item.
Along with the TV-centric edition, a “TP’s People” version was also released. The box advertises additional mini-packs, but I have no idea if these were ever sold anywhere. If you’re interested in playing travel Trivial Pursuit, this should be the one to get. Or you could just buy Trivial Pursuit for the iPhone instead, which is a more portable (and modern!) experience anyhow.
(Your regularly scheduled video game content will resume shortly. Unless you people really like this stuff, then I might do more stuff like this.)