Corrupted Nostalgia: Fireball Island

Fireball Island Box
When it comes to toys, children have ridiculously low standards. A kid will play with anything. If you don't believe me, pick up any random object (a sheet of paper, a handful of broken glass, a bunch of loose change clumped together because someone spilled syrup or something in the cup holder) and hand it to a two-year-old. Chances are they'll begin playing with it, and good many of them will probably try to eat it too. That's how openminded kids are; when it comes to potential toys, everything gets a fair shake.

Alas, the same cannot be said of adults. As humans age, we develop "tastes" and the ability impose "value judgments" upon "objects" people "hand to us". For example: If you were to offer a full-grown woman a bucket filled with antifreeze and say "Drink this, it's antifreeze", she would almost certainly refuse. Not so with a child. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that a full 100% of children surveyed happily drank antifreeze out of a bucket. So yeah, in conclusion...uh...kids...and, umm...they love...not good...boardgames?

Dammit. I blew it. This segue is the worst. There's no way I can make it work now. I guess I'll just have to start the article manually. Hold on a sec, let me find the thing here. Alright, got it. Let's see if this works.

Here goes...


WHAT IS FIREBALL ISLAND, AND WHY?

Fireball Island Idol
Fireball Island is a boardgame which was, at one point, released. What this means is that copies of it were printed at a factory and subsequently shipped to 2nd and 3rd parties who allowed customers to take the game home in exchange for currency.

Got it? Great. Now that I've covered the boring logistics out of the way I can get the to the exciting part: A description of the game itself. I'll begin by transcribing the text off the back of the box:

Welcome to the island of FIREBALL ISLAND. In FIREBALL ISLAND your goal is to steal a plastic JEWEL from the top of MOUNT FIREBALL. But beware: On FIREBALL ISLAND, fireballs REIGN SUPREME! To be clear, this is not meant LITERALLY but FIGURATIVELY! Fireballs hold dominion over FIREBALL ISLAND in a METAPHORICAL sense, in that FIREBALL ISLAND'S inhabitants live in FEAR of the FIREBALLS and as such are FORCED to adjust their LIFESTYLES and BEHAVIOR so as to AVOID getting INCINERATED. In THIS WAY, the FIREBALLS HOLD DOMINION over their lives! CERTAINLY I did not mean to imply that the FIREBALLS themselves were SENTIENT RULERS, as that would be ABSURD! In any event, I APOLOGIZE if I gave any of you BRAVE TREASURE HUNTERS the wrong IMPRESSION!

In conclusion...FIREBALL ISLAND!

Exciting as this description is, it doesn't really do a good job of telling potential players what playing Fireball Island is actually like. It would've been far more honest if they had put something like this:

If your idea of a good time is paying several hundred dollars for what is essentially 45 minutes of dice-rolling punctuated by occasionally being allowed to roll a marble down a small plastic mountain, then by all means, pick up Fireball Island, you weirdo.
Can't imagine that would've helped sales much though.


ALRIGHT SO WHAT'S IN THE BOX? I'M SUPER INTERESTED IN OVERVIEWS OF THE VARIOUS PARTS INCLUDED IN OLD BOARD GAMES. WHAT A THRILL.

Fireball Island Action Cards
Well, there are game tokens, a couple marbles, some bridges, and of course: ACTION CARDS. As you might guess from the name, these are cards with various actions on them. Various dull actions. These probably the lamest aspect of Fireball Island. I'd estimate that (artwork aside) the game's designers spent about six minutes working on these cards. Not even remotely inventive or interesting.

Seriously, look at some of them:
  • Reroll The Die
  • Take Another Turn After Your Turn
  • Move Ahead 4 Spaces Instead of Rolling The Die
  • Move Ahead 5 Spaces Instead of Rolling The Die
  • Move Ahead 6 Spaces Instead of Rolling The Die
  • Double The Next Die Roll
  • Move Any Opponent Back 1 Space
Bo-ring! It's pretty obvious the cards were an afterthought. I really don't think it would've have taken them long to come up with something more interesting. I mean, the outcome of the game is almost completely random as it is, so there's obviously no need to be concerned about balance. Why not just make the cards totally nuts? Like, take a trip to a locked ward and let a bunch of the patients there come up with a couple. Couldn't hurt:  
  • Smile A Crooked Smile; Masturbate Furiously; Lose A Turn
  • Push Mangled Babydoll Around In Stroller
  • AAAAIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
  • Scream Ethnic Slurs Instead Of Rolling Die
  • Bite Into Tongue & Dribble Blood All Over Board
  • No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
  • Move Ahead 7 spaces, Then Back 3 Spaces, Then Ahead 2, Then Back 12. Now Let Out A Howl And Dramatically Sweep The Board Off The Table. Now Drop Your Pants. Now Take Out The Knife...


WHAT ARE THE PLAYER TOKENS LIKE? IS ONE OF THEM A SHOE? IN MONOPOLY I ALWAYS BE THE SHOE.

Fireball Island Explorers: Thrill As They Stand Around
What? No. There aren't any shoes. Why would there be a shoe? That's a really strange thing to ask about. In Fireball Island it's just a bunch of boring pastel guys in pith helmets. All of them are men too, presumably because it was thought that no woman would be stupid enough to risk her life on an expedition to retrieve a shitty plastic jewel from a remote and ostensibly cursed tropical island renowned for its active volcanoes, absurdly rickety bridges, and house-sized flaming boulders.

Well, either that, or Fireball Island is sorta sexist. But I think I'll give it the benefit-of-the-doubt since it comes from Hasbro, the always-inclusive, extremely progressive company behind products such as Girl Talk (AKA "Hey Girls Let's Gossip About Boys On The Pink Phone Because Thinking About Things Is Hard"), Mall Madness ("Hey Girls, Let's Go Shopping Because If There's One Thing All Females Love It's Simulating The Mindless Consumption Of Consumer Goods!"), and Mystery Date ("Hey Girls, Let's Drool Over Cute Guys And Fantasize About The Day One Of Them Will Ask Us To Marry Him And Give Our Silly Little Lives Purpose & Meaning. P.S. Also All You Non-Heterosexual Girls Can Go Play By Yourselves And Feel Even More Confused, Alienated, And Alone Because Mystery Date Is Straights Only!")


WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? I MEAN JESUS CHRIST, LOOK AT THE SENTENCE YOU JUST WROTE. IT'S ABOUT 8,000 WORDS LONG AND IMPOSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND. I DIDN'T COME HERE TO READ THE BORDERLINE-INCOMPREHENSIBLE RAVINGS OF A  LUNATIC. I CAME HERE TO READ ABOUT FIREBALL ISLAND!

Danger! Excitement! Strategy! Fireball Island Features None Of These Things!
Alright, alright, fine. I'll get back to Fireball Island, but I really only have one thing left. It's a small flowchart I made to help guide potential purchasers of Fireball Island. Sort of a public service. I just need you to ask me about it so I can post it in my response.


BUT I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR STUPID CHART. WHY WOULD I? IT'S PRETTY OBVIOUS YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE ANYTHING INTERESTING TO SAY ABOUT FIREBALL ISLAND. YOU'RE JUST SCREWING AROUND. AND WASTING EVERYONE'S TIME.

Thanks for asking! I'd be more than happy to show you a Fireball Island buyer's guide in flowchart form to wrap-up this article! Here you go (click for full version):

Fireball Island Buyer's Guide Flowchart (Small)