Unless you’re an ’80s kid like me, you probably don’t know these games.  (Even if you are my fellow ’80s-type, you may not remember them…)  But when I was looking through all the stuff in my basement a while back, these were the items I was most excited to see again.

Flipsiders 1
Treasures from the basement!

Seriously, I thought my mom had gotten rid of these decades ago, so finding out that she hadn’t, and they’d been safely stashed in my basement…yep, I was super happy about that.  (Let me clarify the timeline there.  I thought she had gotten rid of them before I got my own place.  Like, while I was away at college.  Not that I thought she had come into my basement, found them, and trashed them.)

So, Flipsiders are little travel board games that fold up.  No dice to lose, because the cases have built-in spinner wheels, and the playing pieces are hopefully less likely to be lost because they’re stored inside the case, and they’re magnetic.  And, in grand ’80s fashion, they’re in bright colors and shaped like audio cassettes!

For those of you too young to have experienced the 1980s, let me assure you that that was a totally awesome thing back then.

Flipsiders 2

As you might guess by its bright pink coloration, this one was “mine” and not considered to belong to both me and my brother. 😛  But I probably forced him to play it with me.  😉  Or maybe I just played it with my dolls.  Or with an imaginary friend.  I don’t really remember this one as much, apart from the fact that I remembered having it.

Anyway, see that little slider at the base of the cassette?  That’s how you spun the wheels.  And the open panel at the top is, of course, where the pieces are kept.  I seem to have managed to lose two of them, though. 😦  I suspect that what happened was that we lost two of the pieces to the other game, and replaced them with pieces from Mall Madness here. 😛

Flipsiders 3

In case you were wondering what they looked like from the back. 😛

Sad proof of my apparent senility:  I could have sworn the game’s name started with “Dungeon,” rather than “Dragon.”

Flipsiders 5

So this time the pieces are all out and in the process of playing a game.

Sadly, I don’t have the instructions anymore. 😦  I did a search, hoping that some kind soul would have just posted a .pdf scan of the instructions, but no such luck.  However, I was able to glean the instructions for these two games from reviews posted on the BoardGameGeek, and I found a piece about the Flipsiders line on a blog called the Retroist which included a vintage ’80s TV commercial.

The comments on that blog also mentioned that there are iOS apps of a few of these games.  Naturally, I had to whip out my iPad (can you really “whip out” something like that?) and check it out for myself.  They didn’t have either of the two I had as a kid, so I bought (yep, they’re paid apps, $0.99 each) “Rock Tour” instead.  I wish I could say “yay!” about this app.  But…well, I guess for $1, you get what you pay for.  I mean, yes, the essence of the original game is right there, but sloppily coded.  When the spinner is close to the line, it seems random which one it’ll choose.  And you can’t move past the other character’s pieces, which you could do on the real game (whether you’re technically supposed to or not).  And some of the spaces are hard to get to trigger, either because their “sweet spot” is way the heck away from the indicator on the map, or because they’re so close to other spaces that you accidentally move your piece in the wrong direction because the two spaces you can go to are so close together that it thought you were pressing your finger on a different spot.  (And keep in mind, this game was supposed to be played on an iPhone, which is waaaaay smaller than an iPad!  If I was having trouble getting spots to trigger correctly on the iPad, what must it be like on the iPhone?)  To make matters worse, the provided instructions are for a different Flipsiders game, and the on-screen instructions (of the “Red, pull the spinner” and “Green, you have 2 moves left” variety) are on the wrong side of the screen, so you can either read the instructions or you can read the map, but you can’t read both, because one of them will always be upside down.  Of course, all that complaining aside, I’ll probably keep playing it when I get really bored, ’cause it’s still kinda fun in a mindless way.  But it doesn’t have the flexibility of the originals, because you could always make up new rules for the real game.

Anyway, this game was a great favorite of ours, though I’m not sure if we ever actually played it in the car, the way it was intended to be played.  😛  This game may have been my first introduction (albeit from some distance away) to the RPG genre.  Or would that have been “Dark Tower”?  Hmm, no, that may have been after this, and it was more strategy anyway, wasn’t it?  Er, no, not really strategy, either.  I’m not sure what that was.  (Other than utterly and totally awesome.  If only that had been stored down in my basement!  *sob*  Why oh why would my mother ever have gotten rid of anything that incredibly cool?!)

Er, I seem to be moving away from the “F is for Flipsiders” theme and generally getting into “I miss the 1980s” so I think I’m going to end the post here and go lie down.  And possibly get my head examined…


5 thoughts on “Flipsiders

  1. Weekends in Maine April 7, 2016 / 11:25 pm

    I don’t remember these but they look interesting. How awesome to find them in your basement.


  2. Adam Hunter April 14, 2016 / 7:16 pm

    Hi there! Hope this isn’t weird, but I’m the guy that wrote the iOS app that you tried. I’m just a flipsiders fan like yourself that did this as a hobby a couple of years ago. Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you checking out the app! I didn’t know anyone had ever tried it. :0 I had a few hours today to try to clean up some of the things you mentioned. I fixed a few of the more obvious things like rotating the text and using the right instructions. I also found a bug that might make it easier to touch the right spaces. Anyway, from one fan to another, hello!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Iphis of Scyros April 14, 2016 / 7:26 pm

      Oh wow! Sorry if I sounded harsh in talking about the flaws; I’m sure coding things like that must be extremely difficult. (Goodness knows I don’t know the first thing about programming, so it’s rude of me to kibitz people who do.)

      I was surprised there weren’t any ratings on the app, but I guess it’s really impossible to find anything in the app store if you don’t know it’s there to search for it. But maybe now more people will find it!

      Thanks for taking the time to fix up those little problems, and to say hello! 😀


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