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70's Board Game Contains Eerie BP Oil Spill Scenarios


Last Edited: August 21, 2010, 1:14 am

"Tin hat", or ?

A nearly 40-year-old board game is getting a lot of new attentionbecause of eerie similarities between the scenarios of its play and the78-day-old BP Gulf oil disaster.

The game BP Offshore Oil Strike, which came out in the 1970s and isadorned with an old BP logo, revolves around four players exploring foroil, building platforms and constructing pipelines all in the name of being the first to make $120 million.

But like the real-life oil game there are some big hazards, too.Players have to deal with the possibility of large-scale oil spills andcover cleanup costs. You struggle with "hazard cards" that includephrases now part of our daily vernacular, including: "Blow-out! Rigdamaged. Oil slick cleanup costs. Pay $1 million."

Sound a little familiar? The similarity has led to discussions allover the Web. It's prompted people to dig in their attics and put theirold games up on eBay many of which have promptly been snatched up.

One copy of the game was donated to the largest toy museum in England, the House on the Hill Toy Museum in Stansted, Essex.

The museum's owner, Alan Goldsmith, told CNN he was shocked when he saw the donated game.

"It was sort of uncanny how it was similar to what's happeningreally," Goldsmith said. "I thought it was odd that it was a game inthe '70s, which has basically now come true. The interesting thing isthat it was in dollars, even though it was a European game. The cleanupbill was $1 million, which we now know isn't nearly enough, but it is aweird colorful circle."

The game came out during the oil crisis of the '70s and perhaps it was an attempt to drum up support for U.S.-based drilling.

Goldsmith said as a part of the game, players work to amass adrilling empire. But the game comes with all of the scenarios of thepresent Gulf disaster. Even the game board and cover resemble imagesfrom the Gulf these days with rigs attempting to reach far into the ocean depths.

The game has many people online remarking about whether it eerily foreshadowed the current BP disaster.

"It's strange, you've got this fictitious board game with fictitious drama but it couldn't be any closer to the reality of what's happening now," Goldsmith said.

The world of video games, meanwhile, appears to have a more direct link to the Gulf oil disaster.

In "Crisis in the Gulf," which an independent producer released last month for the Xbox, gamers use weapons to zap blobs of oil.

The game is available for purchase through Xbox's online marketplace.


Entry #148


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