Mystery Date (game)
Mystery Date box cover, 1965
|Years active||1965, 1970, 1999, 2005|
|Playing time||20 minutes|
Mystery Date is a board game from the Milton Bradley Company released in 1965, conceived by Marvin Glass and created by Henry Stan. Marketed to girls 6 to 14 years of age, it has been reissued in 1970, 1999, and 2005.
Mystery Date can be played with 2, 3, or 4 players. The object of the game is to acquire a desirable date, while avoiding the "dud". The player must assemble an outfit by acquiring three matching color-coded cards, which then must match the outfit of the date at the "mystery door". The date is revealed by spinning the door handle and opening the plastic door on the game board. The five possible dates are the "formal dance" date, the "bowling" date, the "beach" date, the "skiing" date, and the "dud".
The date to be avoided is the poorly dressed "dud". He is wearing slovenly attire, his hair is tousled, and his face sports a beard shadow. There is a figure made out to represent a construction worker. In the 1970s game, a "picnic" date replaces the "bowling" date.
If the player's outfit does not match the date behind the door, the door is closed and play continues.
The book Timeless Toys described Mystery Date as if it was the result of crossing "Barbie in all her high-fashion glory with 1965's biggest game show, Let's Make a Deal". Calling it an example of "simple, yet ingenious" quality typically associated with Marvin Glass, it is now considered "one of the most sought-after games from the '60s".
In popular culture
It is the inspiration for the TV series Mad Men episode "Mystery Date" (2012). The plot uses the game's themes of dating, masculine desirability, and Russian roulette approach to opening a door as a metaphor.
In the Ren and Stimpy episode "Sven Hoek", the game is parodied as Misery Date.
The game is played on screen in the bookshop "Buy-the-book" on the 1990s sitcom Ellen and is referred to there as "the chick game".
The game is presented in the Season 5 finale of Pretty Little Liars.
Season 4 episode 21, titled "Prank Day", of That '70s Show features the game.
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