Interview with Tim Walsh Game Designer

Tim Walsh

Tim Walsh is a game designer, author, and toy expert. He recently spoke with LoveToKnow about the importance of playing games, and he introduced his redesigned board game Blurt! as well.

Please tell us about yourself.

I wear a lot of hats!

  • Game designer-I designed and/or developed such games as Blurt!, TriBond, and Mad Gab, which have sold over 4,000,000 copies collectively.
  • Author-In 2005, I authored Timeless Toys from Andrews McMeel. The book was praised by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The Today Show. My second tome to toys was WHAM-O Super-Book by Chronicle Books. It was picked by NPR as one of the best gift books of 2008.
  • Toy expert-I am frequent speaker on toys, and have appeared on many national TV and radio programs, including The Early Show on CBS, NPR's All Things Considered, Fox's After Breakfast, The History Channel's Our Generation, and CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch among others. My games and books have been featured on Good Morning America and written about in The New York Times.
  • Subject of the new documentary film Toyland-The new film from Director Ken Sons followed me as I took a new invention to market. From paper to prototype, this awesome film follows me along my winding road to Toy Fair, one of the largest trade shows for toys in the world. Will my toy light up the imagination of kids everywhere or never see the light of day? You have to see the film to find out! I am Creative Consultant on the film, and I introduced the producers to the people behind the biggest playthings in history, including Betty James, developer of Slinky, Eddy Goldfarb (False Chattering Teeth), Burt Meyer (Lite Brite and Mouse Trap), Reyn Guyer (Twister and Nerf), and more. Welcome to TOYLAND.

What prompted you to invent board games?

When I was a freshman at Colgate University, two buddies of mine and I heard a rumor that two of the inventors of Trivial Pursuit had attended Colgate. Through a friend in the athletic department, we found out that that was indeed true. John Haney and Ed Werner played ice hockey at Colgate and went on to invent Trivial Pursuit. In 1984, Trivial Pursuit sold 20 million copies. Everyone on campus was playing it or talking about it, and it got my buddies and I thinking that it would be really cool to invent a game. It took five more years before we had a decent idea for one in TriBond, which we released at the American International Toy Fair in NYC in 1990. Blurt! came in 1994, and I was bitten by the design bug. It's a great industry!

Why is it important that people continue to play games in their lives?

Where to begin?! Play bonds us and connects us to our playmates! In terms of families, play is a wonderful way to spend quality time interacting with the ones we love and actually (GASP!) getting to know them better. "PLAY" is not a four-letter word! In the Internet age, we are "connected" to everyone and truly close to no one. The renaissance in the popularity of traditional games is a response to the unsatisfying, super superficial world of the Internet. Games give us a compelling reason to gather around a table with the people who matter to us most. Play reduces stress and makes us happier, healthier people.

Please tell us about your newest game Blurt!

Blurt was originally released in 1994, but for its 15th anniversary last year, it was redesigned by the good folks at Educational Insights. In Blurt! you Think FAST! For instance, what's the word for "The hair on a man's upper lip?..." MUSTACHE, right, but you've got to think faster. How about this one: "A case for holding arrows." Yes, QUIVER, but still a smidgen too slow. Don't think long and hard, think FAST AND FUN! Players take turns reading a simple description aloud, while other players BLURT out guesses in a hilarious race for the right word. So blurt fast, but will you get tongue-tied trying to blurt first!?

What other games have you invented or co-invented?

TriBond (TriBond Enterprises), Brass Balls & Nerves of Steel (RSV Productions), Crazy Chins (Wolfe Face Art & FX), Nab Nana's Num Nums, Bea & Buster's Bubble Burst, Dr. Fizzy's Fabulous Floats (Daddy-O Productions). I also co-developed Mad Gab (Mattel).

Do you have any tips or advice you'd like to offer our readers?

If you're an inventor, I welcome you to the club! What an awesomely important job of providing fun for friends and family. If you're a player, I welcome your feedback on my games!

Where can we read more about you?

You can read more about me at ThePlaymakers.com.

Interview with Tim Walsh Game Designer