Ah, the Game of Life.
It’s about as offensive as a bowl of Jello.
But the original one from a hundred yearsearlier? It had squares like.
The first Game of Life wasn’t just a game.
It was a form of moral instruction.
And it says something about how society thinkslife should be lived then and now.
In a way, the Game of Life started when thischin disappeared.
Milton Bradley was a young lithographer — basicallya printer — in Massachusetts when he made a thousand prints of this man runningfor president in 1860.
When Abraham Lincoln grew a beard, those printswere worthless.
So Bradley had to pivot.
He took his printing skills and let them looseon a young medium: board games.
The Checkered Game of Life was his first game— and it became a hit.
Players started at infancy.
They spun a teetotum — this thing — todetermine options for their move.
You had control to choose yourmove once you spun.
The goal was to hit 100 points, through 5-point milestones like college, and Congress, or big ones, like 50 points for Old Age.
The game’s patent shows that MiltonBradley’s Life was more than just a social game.
It was about great moral principles.
Elizabeth Peabody founded the first Englishkindergarten in the United States in 1860.
Milton Bradley published this portrait ofher well after his Lincoln failure.
He also volunteered to teach his own daughter’skindergarten class in Springfield, Massachusetts, after the success of Life.
And he used his business, Milton Bradley andCompany, to publish games and educational tools, including more than 40 books aboutthe new Kindergarten curriculum.
They made a wide variety of learning tools, from educational puzzles to influential color wheels.
Education became Bradley’s passion, andthe original Game of Life predicted that — it was a way to teach “the checkered journeyof life” to children — and adults.
That weird spinner, the teetotum? That was originally to avoid cards and dice, because they were associated with gambling.
The location of each spot also taught a lesson.
Old age was surrounded by many difficulties.
“Poverty lies near the cradle, ” but passingthrough it didn’t hurt you in the beginning of the game.
Setbacks didn't earn you points, but mostdidn't kick you out of the game, either.
Honesty led to happiness.
Industry, to wealth.
And perseverance led to success.
“I made 50, 000 in the stock market today.
” “That’s Life”In 1960, long after Milton Bradley died, the company — which by then was mostly makinggames — dug Life from the archives, choosing it over a long list of other games the companyhad once published.
They adapted it to 1960s America with a candy-coloredspinner and stacks of cash and cars that could load up a full family of baby boomers to placeslike Millionaire Acres.
“I went to the Poor Farm.
” “I’m on Millionaire Acres!” It centered around paydays, where the valueof winning a Nobel was the cash prize that came with it.
The winner is the person with the most money.
Today’s versions are almost identical, withtweaks for jobs and hot brand integrations.
” There was no more disgrace but there alsowasn’t bravery, or honor, or truth.
Both versions are the Game of Life.
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