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Fascinating facts about the invention of
The Game of Life
by Reuben Klamer in 1960.
Invention: The Game of Life®
The Game of Life®  courtesy Hasbro
Function: noun / Trsdemsrk
Definition: Board game. Spin the wheel of fate! A family classic for more than 40 years. Do good deeds to earn Life Tiles and more money down the road! For 2 to 6 players.
Inventor: Reuben Klamer
1860 Milton Bradley invents and markets "The Checkered Game of Life."
1960 Reuben Klamer invents "The Game of Life®". Milton Bradley company markets game.
 invention, history, inventor of, history of, who invented, invention of, fascinating facts.
In 1860, Mr. Milton Bradley was a successful lithographer whose major product was a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. When Mr. Lincoln grew his trademark beard, Bradley's clean-shaven portrait was no longer popular. Out of desperation, Mr. Bradley printed up several copies of a game he'd invented called, "The Checkered Game of Life." Its immediate popularity put Milton Bradley in the game business. This was Milton Bradley's first game. He sold 45,000 copies of the game by the end of the year.

In 1959, Milton Bradley executives asked freelance toy and game inventor, Reuben Klamer, to come up with an appropriate game for the 100th anniversary of the company. Inspired by a "Checkered Game of Life" game board he saw in the Milton Bradley archives, Klamer and a co-inventor developed The Game of Life® which was introduced in 1960. In 1992, The Game of Life® was updated to include Life Tiles which reward players for recycling their trash, learning CPR and saying "no" to drugs. Today, The Game of Life® is played all over the world in some 20 different languages.


History of Toys and Games   from The Great Idea Finder


The Game of Life and How to Play It
by Florence Scovel Shinn / Paperback: 95 pages / DeVorss & Company (June 1, 1978)
Many of thousands of people owe a great deal to this little book because it has taught them that life is not a battle but a game. Not about the board game, but the real game of life.
Oxford History of Board Games
by David Parlett / Hardcover: 352 pages / Oxford University Press; (May 1999)

Here are the origins and development of our favorite games, from the Egyptian and Asian ancestors of Chess, Checkers, and Backgammon, to the invention of such modern classics as Monopoly, Clue, and Scrabble.
Toys!: Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson, Laurie Keller  / Hardcover - 128 pages (2000) / Henry Holt & Company
The quirky tales behind more than two dozen novelties, gadgets and games, from seesaws to Silly Putty and toy soldiers to Trivial Pursuit.

The Game of Life® Game History
See how Hasbro has adapted their games to entertain over eight generations of kids.

Games Invented by Ruebem Klammer
Smess was created by Reuben Klamer, and it was produced in 1970 by Parker Brothers. Smess is played much like Chess, the main difference being that the directions of movement available to any piece are determined by arrows on its square. In 1979, Parker Brothers released All the King's Men, which was mostly the same game as Smess but with a completely new look.
Toy Industry Hall of Fame
Reuben Klamer is a toy inventor and designer with more than 200 products to his credit. As a result of his gift for anticipating and capitalizing on trends, his talent for developing consumer “must-haves” across a broad spectrum of categories and his ability to work in a variety of media, In addition to his pre-eminence in the areas of toy design, development and marketing, Mr. Klamer also pioneered the worldwide use in toys of an unbreakable plastic called polyethylene.
Life The Math Game
Life was invented by the mathematician John Conway in 1970. Life is just one example of a cellular automaton, which is any system in which rules are applied to cells and their neighbors in a regular grid. Life is probably the most often programmed computer game in existence.

The Game of Life
Games / by Milton Bradley /
ASIN: B00000IWD7 / SKN: 231967 / Less than $15.00
Practice makes perfect in the game of Life. Anything's possible with a spin of the Life wheel! A classic family game that can be a reality check--or just a fun time.


  • The Game of Life is part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institute.
The Game of Life® is a registered trademark of Hasbro. All rights reserved.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised October 27, 2006.

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