This game is something of a miracle. A game show has to be somewhat popular to merit releasing a home game, and early on, “Password” looked like it was never going to make it. Critics HATED the show when it launched.
Gilbert Seldes of TV Guide remarked:
In Password they are as near to perfection as any human beings can hope to get -- it is 99.9 percent nothing... [T]he whole thing is so dull it almost makes you long for the good old days of scandal. But this doesn't mean that the program hasn't been carefully planned. You've got to plan long ahead to create anything as dull as this.
A short time later, the magazine printed a letter from a “College Bowl” fan incensed that an intellectual such as Allen Ludden would have anything to do with the show.
The critics were wrong about it though. Nothing dull has the staying power of the TV show “Password,” and few box games have the staying power of “Password,” which holds the distinction of being one of the few game shows that continued releasing new editions of the home game AFTER the show was cancelled. Even weirder was that as the show was spun off into new formats, the home game was still being released, so in 1982, you could buy either the 22nd edition of “Password” or the 3rd edition of “Password Plus” or the Password Plus electronic console game, and a few years later you might have been able to pick up the 25th anniversary edition of “Password” and a copy of the “Super Password” computer game in one stop. Neat-o, eh?
As the game is a miracle in this sense, it also goes down in history as easily the least necessary home game ever released. There is NOTHING in this game that can’t be accomplished with a writing tablet and a pocket dictionary. But since nobody actually wants to go to the trouble of doing that, this game’s main selling point is convenience for the lazy game show fan. Oh, and the leatherette word holders.
How could I forget these babies? These were the selling point I’m sure; they looked similar to the actual word-holders used for the show…well, not very similar at all, actually; but gosh they look nice.
The home game also came with a scoring dial that was infinitely cooler than just crossing out numbers or using tally marks. Score is kept in a small booklet enclosed with the game.
here’s where the game deviates. The series had the teams play until someone hit
25 points, and then they moved on to the lightning round for a chance at a
whopping $250. The box game has the teams designate one member “Player A” and
the other…wait for it…”Player B.” The A’s and B’s each share a leatherette with
designated game cards, either an A card or a B card. They then alternate giving
clues and guessing passwords for decreasing point values for ten words (so each
player acts as giver and guesser for five words). The last two words are worth
double point values. Top score wins the game and a pack of mints, assuming you
have a pack of mints handy. And that’s it, no lightning round, and if the mood
strikes you, y’all just start another game. This seems rather arbitrary, but
it’s easy to adapt the 25-point rule if you like. Heck, with ten passwords a
game, even adapting the “pass-play-double” and 50-point goal of the 70s version
can be done easily. Words don’t go out of date the way trivia questions do, and
this one holds up fantastically. Having new neighbors over for dinner? Getting
together with old friends? This game works GREAT for small functions.
OVERALL RATING: (4.5/5)