Friday, September 10, 2010

Cootie Through the Ages

Everyone is familiar with Cooties. You know, these little guys?
Those cute and colorful game creatures, of course! Who doesn't remember playing Cootie as a child? In one of my board-game nostalgia moments, I got on Ebay to look around for a cheap copy of the game, since our copy had long since been lost. (No doubt, our mom was still finding Cootie legs and eyes under the sofa years after the game had been thrown out.) However, I discovered that Cootie didn't always look like that cute, colorful little guy. No, Cootie's origins dated back to 1949, when the game looked like this:

 Oh my goodness! That thing looks terrifying! The box says, "An exciting, educational game for all ages," but to me, with the red, black, and yellow color scheme, it looks more akin to a box of bug spray. And with the way that Cootie looks, I'd say it would be good to have some of the stuff around.

 In this version dated 1966, at least they're putting a somewhat colorful Cootie on the cover of the box, and showing two children "playing" with him. (Honestly, it looks a little more like they're eyeing him distrustfully. The little girl is holding him with two fingers, and the boy is simply staring.) But who could blame them? Cootie still looks like a scary, beady-eyed alien insect.

1972, and now Cootie is starting to look like his modern self. He's colorful, has a cheerful smile, and his apendages no longer have that "horrifying 50s alien" look. Even the kids look a little more happy here. On an aside, the Cooties on the cover appear to have different colored apendages, but I believe the pieces inside the game all have the yellow apendages. that's more like it. 1976 version of the game, and we're looking classic. Let's give those Cooties a hug!

I guess Cooties do like hugs! Once the creators found the working Cootie formula, the Cootie presumably stayed the same for 30 years. This Cootie game from the 90s is the version that I regard as "my Cootie game." I think we went through at least two different sets of this Cootie game in my youth.
And now, Cootie is still around for the new generation of youngsters...

Oh my gosh! What the heck happened?! Cootie went from being the loveable little guys that they had been for over 30 years to being bug-eyed, buck-toothed, kissy-faced, roller-blading crazy bugs! What could have possibly made the company think that these "hip" new Cooties could replace their tried and true, beloved by many generations, Cooties? :(

So there you have it. Cootie through the ages. But if I ever buy a copy out of nostalgia (or for my future children) I'll be purchasing the 90s version. I feel bad for the kids today who have to put up with "crazy Cooties." But least they're not the scary, sci-fi movie alien Cooties, right?

Though, I hate to say, I'm not sure what's more scary.


Or this:

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