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The Game Makers: The Story of Parker Brothers, from Tiddledy Winks to Trivial Pursuit Hardcover – November 14, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (November 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591392691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591392699
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #565,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 1883, George Parker was 16 years old, and he liked to play board games. But he and his friends were tired of the "heavy-handed moral lessons" of the typical board game, and George, an inventive young man, created his own game, called Banking (chartered banks were a relatively new thing in the U.S., and people were fascinated by the whole subject). It was a success, and soon George and his brother, Charles, formed their own company, Parker Brothers. This playful history of the company, written by a former employee, chronicles Parker Brothers from its birth through its early successes (including Pit, a card game invented by Edgar Cayce), its subsequent lean years, and its transition into pop-culture icon. Most of us know Parker Brothers as the company that makes Monopoly (created seven decades ago), but Orbanes lets us know it's much more than that; for example, George Parker was the guy who brought Ping-Pong to the U.S. No fan of board games should be without this entertaining business history. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"[T]his book makes an excellent choice for anyone interested in the development and growth of a family business." -- Publisher's Weekly

"an intriguing read." -- USA Today, January 12th, 2004

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I finished reading the Game Makers at 2:00 a.m. Usually I am sleeping long beforehand, but I found it just fascinating to learn about this amazing family and their great company-- especially because of the the way the story is told. It is filled with real drama and surprise. It made it difficult to stop reading before the last page. I learned a lot about making games as well. I also understand much better now the relations between the principles of successful business and the rules of games. The incredible changes in the last 25 years were of great interest for me. The amount of details presented is astonishing and the way they are presented makes it a pleasure to read.I applaud this highly original and interesting book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Frederic Horst on January 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Philip Orbanes tells a sympathetic and interesting tale of Parker Brothers' long rise to fame and fortune between 1883 and the beginning of the 1980s, as well how General Mill's video-game-stoked greed and lack of prudence brought on the decline of the once so respected game maker. This is the point where the authors tone as well as coverage of the history of the firm change dramatically, becoming somewhat more emotional, although not less enthusiastic.
One thing that "bothers" me about Orbanes' book is that the author is not always as elaborate as he could be. For example, he could have been more explicit on how Parker's Banking game was actually played, rather than just a basic outline of the game. Or the history of the Mah-Jongg game could have been more detailed. Also, an early example of the clear and concise wording of game rules that George Parker was famous for would have been interesting. None of these shortcomings seriously compromise the quality of the book, but it left me somewhat hungry for more material.
Much to my amusement, from the moment I passed the first few pages of Philip Orbanes' Parker story I have been housing the notion of making games myself. I can only imagine the satisfaction of creating intelligent and fun games. I find the concept of take a set of concise, simple rules and turning them into challenging and lasting game quite intriguing. Parker certainly mastered this principle in the past with games such as Risk or Monopoly, to name two of the most prominent.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peter Schell on April 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The author is a former employee and diehard fan of Parker Brothers which makes his viewpoint a double edged sword. On the one hand, his account is complimentary although never gushing. He does not shy away from relating some of the nasty corporate politics especially those during the company's recent years during which he worked for them. Some of the early history though, seems a bit too rosy especially when you consider US labor conditions in the early 20th century.
On the much brighter side, Orbanes' passion and connections to the company have afforded him dilligence and sources no other author could have attained. The book is well documented with accounts from George Parker's own private papers as well as interviews with lifelong employees from the upper and lower reaches of the organization.
Being a game fan, I can't be completely objective about the historical quality of the book. Orbanes injects as much historical context as he can and documents these references as well. Personally, I couldn't put the book down and found every chapter fascinating.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lehigh History Student VINE VOICE on December 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Parker Brothers have made some of the most memorable games and the story of how they came up with them and built an empire is fascinating. This is one of the great business books on the toy industry of which sadly there are few. No attention was placed to video games undercutting board games sloes but otherwise this covers everything you would want to know. The stories are great and the ideas for the games really come to life. For those who want to create board games or understand the toy industry this is a must read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Johnster on May 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a must read if you enjoy collecting or playing with classic toys and games. I was to learn more about how the early jigsaw puzzles were made. Phil covers the the eras of George S. Parker, Ranny Barton and General Mills well. The Nerf section near the end of the book is pretty cool, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Seuss on February 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a perfect companion to Orbanes' other two books about the Monopoly game. If you have an interest in the history of Monopoly, this is good to have. However you would also want Orbanes' History of Monopoly.
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By Joe Seymour on May 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must for any serious game collector; well written, fascinating history of one of the game industry's earliest game maker / inventors.
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