Electric Football

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I didn't know Electric Football games were still being sold, much less played and now even with Electric Football leagues and tournaments that have sprung up around the toy. I don't recall Electric Football being a thrilling spectator sport, so I'm not sure about the utility of the mini-camera rig shown in the video above, but to each his own.

For those not familiar with the game you set up formations of your players on a board which vibrates when turned on to start a play. The players then move, in pretty much random directions, as they're bounced around by the vibration. Bill Bryson, in his book  The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir describes Electric Football as follows:
The worst toy of the decade [the 1950s], possibly the worst toy ever built...it took forever to set up each play because the men were so fiddly and kept falling over, and because you argued continuously with your opponent about what formations were legal and who got to position the final man...it hardly mattered how they were set up because electric football players never went in the direction intended. In practice what happened was that half the players instantly fell over and lay twitching violently as if suffering from some extreme gastric disorder, while the others streamed off in as many different directions as there were upright players before eventually clumping together in a corner, where they pushed against the unyielding sides like victims of a nightclub fire at a locked exit. The one exception to this was the running back who just trembled in place for five or six minutes, then slowly turned and went on an unopposed glide toward the wrong end zone until knocked over with a finger on the two-yard line by his distressed manager, occasioning more bickering.

If, after reading that, you still have a hankering for the game, Miggle Toys sells several different electric stadiums, along with painted and unpainted players as well as sideline figures of coaches, cheerleaders, umpires, camera men and the like.