I have been a fan of Electric Football since I was about 9 years old. Prior to that, I only thought of Electric Football as the old Cadaco Foto Electric football, which was my dad’s from 1946. Foto Electric Football was a light box where the offense would put in their plan for a play, the card was black except for the route the runner was planning to take and the defense would take a card to try to neutralize the offensive player with a card with little dots on it (defense). You would pull a lightproof panel away revealing the play. When the runner or receiver crossed lines with the dots the play was over. I used to spend hours at my grandparent’s house shuffling the cards to see if I could play the game solo. It was fun up to a point, but when I first laid eyes upon a Tudor Metal Products Electric Football game, one with true NFL painted teams (L.A. Rams and Detroit Lions) a gift from my Grandma and Grandpa the world changed… Good ol’ Model 618.
I played this game for the entire year with the two kids next door who owned a Munro Day/Nite set complete with lights, but they didn’t have the NFL players so we used my board and teams for much of the year. Until the fateful day when the motor just didn’t buzz anymore. Long hours of games and scrimmages had somehow overloaded the motor and no more NFL electric football. We tried tapping our fingers on the tin field to get the men to move, but that just made us miss the game all the more. Then finally, Christmas was coming around the corner and the Super Bowl with the Cowboys and Dolphins inside was in the Sears catalog. The page was in full color, it was beautiful.
My favorite team, the Dolphins, was featured in the picture. Now, with Christmas list requests coming from Grandma with her direct line to Sears, all ready to place her order, it was the only thing on my list, aside from Ram pajamas and a Dolphin zipper front sweater. (Clothes don’t really count as gifts to kids at least.)
When Christmas day arrived I looked for the long box under the tree, but old Saint Nick let me down. I got some nice toys, stuff that I didn’t really ask for, but was grateful to get and put in a pile next to me and my sister. I think she got a purple Schwinn bicycle, in an awful Minnesota Vikings purple… Yuck. . This year was strange because early in the morning there was a knock on the door and I had thought it was my friends coming to chat about what we had bagged for gifts, but as I answered the door I saw an older man standing outside, my grandpa with a bunch of presents reaching what looked like the heavens. “Help me get these in,” He muttered.
I took some of the packages and led him inside, grandma was bringing up the rear with a large box under her arm.
“I have something for you,” She smiled. “I couldn’t wait for tonight… I could hardly wait. I tore into it and there in all its glory was the Tudor Super Bowl with Cowboys and Dolphins inside.Needless to say the whole day was spent on the floor setting up this magnificent new game.
Electric football was like what toy trains were to my older cousins’ a Christmas staple. All through the fall when we were out we were tossing the football around, dreaming of what position we would play on the L.A. Rams. When we we weren’t playing ball we’d get an extension cord and play electric football on my front steps or in the neighbor kid’s backyard. It was magical. The sound of the buzzing was hypnotic, and watching your team run into one another, dance about and run up to the goal line only to change direction and head the other way… Man, that was playtime gold!
Now, with Summer slowly passing and the NFL heading towards training camps around the country, I get a real itch to pull out the old Model 500 (circa 1958) I picked up a couple of years back. It still fires up after all these years and is complete down to the instruction sheet. The men still dance about, but this game still possesses that magic. Of childhood, simple fun and most of all, football.
I’ve followed the original Tudor products through the time when the company was sold to Miggle Toys, who put out some very cool product all based on the original Tudor models. But back in 2007 the NFL pulled away from Miggle and there were no more pre-painted teams. But now, Tudor games has returned and as of July 2011, the NFL is back and painted teams are available for purchase as well as new game boards.
Today, we’re looking at ToysRUs’ licensed electric football game that carries the Pavilion name. It’s pretty much the least expensive gameboard, but it’s made by Tudor Games and so it uses all the new design features of the larger and more expensive NFL games. This game comes with generic Red and White unpainted players, but they do include some stick on numbers which helps with identifying players with running attributes you desire.
The first thing you will notice about these new games is that they are no longer made with metal parts. In fact it’s hard to see any metal at all in the games. The board is a durable plastic sheet painted to look like a gridiron, hashmarks and the Pavilion logo sits at mid-field. There are 5 clips with holes that fit along the edges of the field and the holes can be used for supporting the goalposts and the yard markers. Another cool development is the fact that this game no longer uses a cord to plug into a wall socket. It’s all battery operated (requiring 2 AA batteries). This makes it possible to take the game to the beach, camp or tailgating at the stadium. Also, it is whisper quiet compared to the older sets. The motor must be set under the board using double sided tape (included), and should be attached by an adult to ensure correct placement of the motor. No tools were required and it only took a few moments to attach.
The two triple threat quarterbacks should be removed from their sprues, and an adult should take a sharp knife and clear any flash off the plastic figures, making sure not to damage the tee of the kicking leg, or the prong that juts out from his foot, you need that to cock the leg for kicking. The flash should be cleared from the part of the kicking leg that sticks into the quarterback’s hip to make sure it can rotate smoothly.
The players should have their bases attached, follow the instructions for dividing up the strength bases and speed bases between the two teams. The old green bases have been replaced with clear invisibases. The strength bases are great for linemen that push into the line and the speed bases are great for running players in directions you can control and set up. These all can be tweaked using directions you can find online. But the major takeaway from this is that controlling your figures is even easier than before.
There is a strip of felt footballs which closely resemble the older version games.
All that remains is to line up your teams and go at it! Assembly time took about 20 minutes, because I like to read the instructions and I am slow, according to my kid.
The players, or action figures as Tudor like to call them, are very nice, sharp sculpts down to ridged thigh pads and faces. These should take paint really well if you wish to paint your teams in high school or college colors, or even if you prefer a slightly more psychedelic look you can make them any color you want… Or just leave them red and white. Tudor sells painted teams in NFL official uniform colors, and they have the old style 67 Big Men and the standard modern players. A single team will run about 13 bucks, and is well worth it if you wish to have great looking pro teams to play with.
With the new cleats and Speedturf surface the game is quieter, and a bit smoother than in the older sets. I really like the ability to take more control over my players and it’s fun to experiment and see what improvements you can make in terms of strength and running direction. The button on the control makes for easy fast starts and stops, which again make for smoother play. The new games have gotten rid of the automatic timers which to tell the truth we hardly used as they were about as dependable as an old car’s analog clock.
Video from Tudor Games displaying game play.
The game is lighter, quieter and easier to have the player mover where you want them to go. This enhances the game play and realism of the game. I didn’t know what I would think of the new plastic Speed Turf surface, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The game pieces were better quality than I expected with such a reasonably priced game, but I guess I shouldn’t underestimate Tudor Games’ commitment to putting out a fine product. Battery operation lifts the restriction of playing near a socket, and this version surpasses the older Power Pro battery game since you can place the motion generator wherever you wish, ensuring the best vibration patterns for your field.
Since this is the entry model, the one drawback is the size of the field. The larger fields enhance play and scale realism, but for the younger set the smaller field makes great sense. It also lends itself to easier storage in your trunk when you bring the game with you in the great outdoors.
I have to say that ToysRUs has a great product here, and it’s all because it’s a licensed Tudor product. So boys, and girls, it’s time to fire up the boards, catch some games on the tube and on the floor of your den or playroom. The old excitement is back and so is Tudor electric football, in a big way!
For more football fun and action visit:Tudor Games for more information on gameboards and NFL team sets.
The Unforgettable Buzz is a wonderful book and website devoted to everything electric football.
The Unforgettable Buzz