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Vintage Bingo Games

Bring Bingo Into Your Living Room!

With Bingo such a massive worldwide game, it would be crazy to not conceive there would be home and arcade versions of our favourite number game. Going way back to the 50's, there have been board games, pinball type games, card games and even video games during the 80's and 90's. These little curiosities gave people a way to vent their bingo desires, or practice their bingo dab way at home, way before the internet existed, let alone the concept of online bingo (and all those lovely offers)! These games are fascinating in their own right. So, allow me to take you through my favourites;

Bingo Board Games

If you want a feast of classic board game delights to hit the back of your retina then feast your eyes on this Etsy search, you might even be tempted to buy one of them!

There were various bingo board games produced by companies like Pressman and Milton Bradley from the 1930s onwards. The games were mostly a sized down version of the real game, sometimes involving wooden chips instead of bingo balls, and featuring a pack of cards which you could mark numbers off with. There were various methods of play, some even playable by yourself. But you could always fall back onto the old style of play and have one player as the caller and the remainder as card holders.

A variation on the bingo game was "Dingo Doggy Bingo" and involved cards with various types of hound depicted upon them. The box contained 4 paper bingo boards with names of dogs and 15 thick illustration cards. There were also 3 wild cards and a set of rules.


Pinball Games

Arcades in the 60s and 70s housed mainly one type of game; Pinball games. In the 60s these were more mechanical affairs, moving to electronic creations in the 70s and early 80s. The bingo machines were mainly made by arcade game manufacturer, Bally, and consisted of a typical pinball layout with a bingo card on the upper end display. You could obtain a full house (or other bingo patterns) by hitting the corresponding numbered pins on the table. Once hit, the lights would illuminate on the card to indicate you had "dabbed them off". More Bingos, meant more points!

Video Games

As we draw into the 1980s, we enter the world of video games, and there were a fair few Bingo related games on Public Domain and shareware releases. This generally meant they were free, or could be obtained through computing magazines by sending off the money for postage and the cost of a disk or tape.

One of the commercial titles was Speed Bingo Math for the Commodore 64 8 bit home computer.

You could choose from 2 different game types, but the premise for both was simple. One was called "Speed Math", the other "Bingo Math". The game itself was a collaboration between Bally and Midway Games.

The computer would greet you with the words "Hi! I am your friendly computer. Let's play a game of arithmetic". For Bingo, the screen would present you with two boards. One for player 1, another for the second player. Various maths problems were then posed, and your job was to work out the answer. If you guessed correctly, then the corresponding number would be marked off on your bingo card. Get it wrong, and you miss out. Like the normal bingo game, the winner is the first person to get a relevant bingo pattern on their card!

There are plenty more bingo games which have been created throughout the decades, now days we even have electronic bingo in the halls! Join us in the next part of this article when we'll explore some more decades and more obscurities, based on the classic game that is BINGO.