Norman Sas Inventor of Electric Football Goes to Vibrating Field in the Sky
Before Madden Football video games, there was an electrifying game invented by Norman Sas.
Norman Sas died recently.
I haven’t played the Madden Football video game, but I can guess that it is a helluva lot more fun than playing Tru Action Electric Football.
Gawd, what a frustrating toy. Right out of the box Christmas morning the intention was to play an actual game with a winner and a loser.
That lasted about five minutes.
In case you have led a sheltered life, here’s how it works:
The players were little plastic dudes with paper thin plastic thingies that protruded from the bottom of the molded plastic. Players were either lineman (in the down position) or runners (standing up with a straight arm extended.) On my set there was also an aluminum guy that had some contraption that was supposed to fling the “football.”
The “football” was a tiny piece of felt. Teeny-tiny. Itty-bitty. Eensie-weensie. You get the idea.
So you jam the “football” into your running back’s crooked arm and line up the play. Your opposition would line up the defense.
Then, and this was the “exciting and fun” part: you flip a switch which activated a vibrator (if we only knew) which shook the playing field. This made the little dudes dance and jiggle around. Because the plastic was slanted just a certain way, the players would generally move forward.
And the vibrator would run until an opposing team player touched the running back with the ball. In theory, if you wanted the game to move along quicker you could turn a knob and make the playing field vibrate more.
Passing? I think this is where the aluminum player with the flingy-thing was supposed to come into the picture. Something about flinging the felty thing and the first player that touched it had possession.
Norman Sas was a marketing genius because millions of these lame games were sold.
I’m sure most kids were like me…
- discovered that the “flying wedge” formation was the best.
- the more the plastic filmy things were slanted forward, the faster they moved.
- turning up the vibrating field full blast did a great earthquake imitation sending the guys flying.
- the football guys were better suited to be the body count for plastic soldiers with bayonets.
Goodbye Norman Sas. Too bad you didn’t invent a game that was fun and challenging.
Please know that there still is a cult playing your vibrating electric football game.