He Created the 'Game of Life'

Toy-maker Reuben Klamer is dead at age 99
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2021 4:34 PM CDT

(Newser) – Reuben Klamer is in the Toy Industry Hall of Fame, with all kinds of creations under his belt. But his death at age 99 this month shows that one in particular is his true claim to fame—the Game of Life. The Milton Bradley game came out in 1960 and endures to this day, reports the Wall Street Journal. At one time, it trailed only Monopoly in global popularity, his longtime business associate Beatriz Pardo tells the New York Times. Players move about the board and the various stages of life, and the earliest version of the game had a clear goal—the player with the most money at the end wins. Over the years, however, the acquisition of money has been de-emphasized.

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One interesting tidbit about the game: It's actually based on one called the Checkered Game of Life designed by Milton Bradley himself back in 1860. Klamer spotted the original in the archives after being asked to create a game to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary, per the Washington Post. "Something about the word 'life' electrified me,” Klamer wrote in his still-unpublished memoir, Blitz, Sizzle and Serendipity: My Game of Life, per the Times. "It is one of a very few things that every single person experiences, so the market, to put it simply, was literally everyone on earth!" Klamer ditched the original game's prim and proper themes and adapted it for a new age. (Check out more obituaries.)

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