Invented in 1947, the electro-magnetic tabletop game “Electric Football” was the analog precedent to the modern day video game. Famous for it’s vibrating board (& humm) the players wended their way across the field in a slow and wiggly, quivering style. It had a huge resurgence in the 1970’s and with it’s various versions over time, Electric Football has continued to inspire legions of enthusiasts, appreciation societies, and playing leagues which are active today. It’s easy to see the charm of this game, through its grand sense of history, nostalgia, and culture for bygone eras with it’s old school mechanical, hand-held controls versus the blinding speed of current video games which often leave too little space for the imagination to roam.
Many of these Electric Football enthusiasts paint in painstaking detail the plastic figurines and boards which they buy online or hobby shops, whether vintage or new, creating miniture replicas of their heroes, favorite team or conference. Some of these artists hand-carve plastic or wood creating completely home-made figures. These artists, hobbyists, players & fans keep the game alive and provide a link to an earlier, perhaps more innocent lost era of American culture in which the collective dreams of small, tightly-knit communities and families lived and breathed these pastimes, sharing glory or defeat. In its miniaturized version personalized for the home, each individual player is able to deploy his or her own abilities in the game’s cerebral chess-like strategy and maneuvers along to the switched-on hum of the game’s electric motor, in a captivating approximation of the true, physical game of football it is modeled from.
From the now quaint, old-fashioned leather-helmeted styles of mid-twentieth century adornments to the fully padded and highly designed professional gear and uniforms of today, Electric Football has changed with the times. Among many artifacts collected for this exhibition, THE ELECTRIC FOOTBALL GAME ART SHOW will also display approx. 1,000 hand painted figurines offering glimpses into the evolution of the game and the culture within.
We hope the current exhibition will appeal equally to long-time enthusiasts of the game and to those learning of it here for the first time.