Tags: howard wexler | connect four | games | inventor

Howard Wexler Is One of the Great Inventors of Our Age

Howard Wexler Is One of the Great Inventors of Our Age

Monday, 29 January 2018 01:01 PM Current | Bio | Archive

No one knows who invented Parcheesi. Or Chinese Checkers. Or Go. Or Poker. Or Gin Rummy. Or even a deck of cards, for that matter.

Chess kind of just evolved, but someone, somewhere, at some time outlined a board and thought of the pieces and how they moved and gave them names and shape. But its initial creator, despite the widespread love and affection and devotion to the game that now exist throughout the world, remains anonymous even to such people as Gary Kasparov, former World Chess Champion who could easily beat us all blindfolded.

Which brings us to Connect 4.

People buy about seven million Connect 4 games every year.

It was invented in 1973, introduced in 1974, and became a best seller in 1978. And has kept that status, in different sizes and containers and media, through 2017 into today.

Its genius is that a very young child can pick it up in a few seconds, yet it has a give-and-take gamesmanship about it that can engage your mind and competitive spirit into old age.

And best of all, we know who invented it. Who he is and the fact he is still out there inventing after all these years.

“I was, am, dyslexic,” says Howard Wexler. “I thought I was dumb right up until high school. I took shop instead of language courses.”

Those high school mechanical classes probably helped him more than the doctorate he achieved at Fordham University because Wexler still fashions his initial models and inventions by hand.

Not just games, either. Check out his site: howardwexlertoys.com.

Today his two sons have joined him and they brought out three games that have the same simplicity and complexity as Connect 4: Advance, Switch, and 3 Up.

Howard, however, says he is as weak at those new games as he always was at Connect 4. Even with the first game he sold to Pressman Toys in 1969, Play Hour Game for very young children who had not learned to read yet, Wexler knew that his skill was solely conjuring up games.

“I am intrigued by games and love the challenge of inventing them, I do not enjoy playing them.”

I could probably beat Howard blindfolded at his signature game as he describes himself as “the world’s worst Connect 4 player.”

But cheer up, Howard, maybe Edison never learned to screw in a light bulb.

Tom Messner worked forever in advertising. In politics, he avoided the predictable negative bent and did positive ads for Reagan in ’84 and for Bush in ’88 along with Bush’s convention film. The agency he co-founded created NASDAQ’s first branding, Volvo’s comeback, and Fox News’s “We report. You Decide.” Then learning from the pols he partnered with (Roger Ailes in particular), they brought attack ads to such formerly benign areas such as telecom (MCI). At 73, he’s doing two things he never did before: Blogging here on wildly unconnected subjects coming on the heels of last year’s adventure: the writing of his first play, a musical “Dogs” destined now for either Broadway or The Pound. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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No one knows who invented Parcheesi. Or Chinese Checkers. Or Go. Or Poker. Or Gin Rummy. Or even a deck of cards, for that matter.
howard wexler, connect four, games, inventor
Monday, 29 January 2018 01:01 PM
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