It seems like every popular new film – if it’s part of a recognized series or becomes a blockbuster – shows up as a game. And not only films, but popular comics, television series’, and even sports teams inspire licensed board games, card games, and video games. Every new Star Wars film inspires a Monopoly variant. But I think one of the most interesting games, already staffed with its own cast of characters ready to take on new personas, is the board game Clue. And as a 2017 inductee into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong, in Rochester, New York, Clue will gather even more recognition.
Licensed Clue editions include iterations pulled from pop culture properties centered around mystery. Alfred Hitchcock Clue, for example, takes characters, weapons, and locations from many of Hitch’s best-known films. And Scooby Doo, Where Are You! Clue casts the cartoon’s characters as Clue’s classic suspects. Scooby is Colonel Mustard, Velma is Mrs. Peacock…you get the picture. There are some Clue versions that carry situations and characters not usually associated with a mystery. When playing The Simpsons Clue it may not be difficult to imagine Bart committing murder with a poisoned doughnut, but I’m not sure I care to sleuth out just who “messed with Sheldon’s stuff” when playing The Big Bang Theory Clue. I think part of Clue’s fun is imagining that a murder has been committed, and then trying to solve it. But I may be wrong.
In 2017 USAopoly – maker of licensed board game variants for all the world – introduced Clue: The Golden Girls. What? Yes…a game modelled after a sitcom dealing with four retired women in Florida, which broadcast from 1985 through 1992. It appears that subsequent syndication has gathered an ever-increasing fan base for the award-winning show. In this version of Clue, nobody committed murder, but someone ate the last piece of cheesecake and left something behind. Was it Rose, with the lipstick, in the kitchen; or Blanch, with the pocketbook, on the lanai? You’ll need to play the game to find out! The Golden Girls edition is available from countless online retailers, and of course at the gift shop at The Strong.
Nicolas Ricketts is Curator at the National Museum of Play at The Strong.
Explore classic toys and games that captured our attention and never let go.