A product doesn’t just appear on the market. Someone creates the product. If it wasn’t developed by a company, the company buys the rights to it and, before putting it into full production, they create some prototypes and test the products. Names are chosen carefully via test markets so as to appeal to the expected target audience. Then the item is handed over to marketing to generate interest in the new product.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.
Sometimes someone can bypass some of the usual steps. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, for example, was so successful, and unexpectedly so, that it made Mattel executives hesitant to intervene with the names the creators were choosing, even as the creators tested the envelope of what they could get away with. “Sea-Man” was nixed and replaced with “Mer-Man”, but “Fisto” made it through.
Sometimes, however, mistakes are made even with all of the typical steps followed. A bad idea just gets passed along because it seemed funny or clever to the right people at the right time.
Mindful of that, I give you the 1975 Mego game, Ballbuster
Players move around groups of playing pieces set up similarly to checkers. Each piece consists of a plastic ball mounted on a long springy stem which is mounted on a peg which fits into holes in the board. Players can attack an opponents piece by pulling back on one of their own adjacent pieces and releasing it, causing the plastic balls to collide.
And lest anyone think that the name choice was accidental, there was the commercial:
Copies of this game are extremely rare on the secondary market, because almost nobody bought it. It is hard to imagine why. With a complicated setup, gameplay advertised as incredibly simplistic, and a name that would guarantee it not be found in the homes of anyone who fancied themselves as morally upright in 1975, one might expect these to fly off the shelves….
With all of that being well known history in board game circles, what would you NOT name a new game, if you were in charge of a toy company? Especially a company that specializes in therapy toys for children? Say, for instance, Kaydan Sensory Solutions out of Canada?
Question of the night: What is/was your favorite board game?