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Domino Rally

Every kid knew how to set up elaborate domino tracks—it was one of the things that made long visits at grandma’s house bearable—so what could make those wee ones plunk down ten to twenty bucks for a big cardboard box full of plastic dominoes? Domino Rally, man, Domino Rally. This was no ordinary domino set. Oh no, this was the king of dominoes, the one that not only took dominoes to new frontiers, but also made it easier to get there.  
 
Over the course of the its run, Domino Rally came in many forms, but a few domino-activated features showed up in most sets: The starburst, triggered by a single domino, sent out five new rows of dominoes from a covered circle. Bridges were exactly what they sounded like, domino-friendly bridges that raised up high enough to allow a perpendicular line of dominoes to pass underneath. Zig Zags also had a row of stairs leading up to the top, but once the top domino fell, it sent a steel ball back down a zig-zagging path to strike a new chain of dominoes. These were all impressive enough, but in many sets, the crème de la crème was the rocket launcher. Triggered by yet another falling steel ball, the launcher not only sent an unmanned craft flying off into space (albeit only a foot or two into space), but the rocket’s fins also set off three more rows of dominoes to keep the chain reaction alive.  
 
Set-up was always a nerve-wracking process, but Domino Rally took away some of the stress with an assortment of helpful doodads. Most sets had at least one section of “pivot track,” designed so that dominoes could be snapped into place, always staying in a perfect line and resetting with a simple tilt of the track (the bridges were designed with pivoting dominoes as well). For those with less sure hands (or too little time in the domino-setting-up schedule), Pressman Toys also sold “Domino Dealers” and “Pathmakers.” These wheeled, domino-carrying vehicles would do much of the set-up for you, laying out perfectly-aligned dominoes in their wake as you rolled them across the kitchen floor.  
 
As the 80’s moved into the 90’s, Pressman introduced even fancier sets, including everything from glow-in-the-dark dominoes to whiling helicopters to the “Extreme Action” set (hang glider, flying surfboard and more) to the icky “Mad Lab Set” (complete with Bubbling Brains and bouncing Eerie Eyeball). Alas, the innovation was all for naught, as Domino Rally eventually took its place on the shelf of gone, but not forgotten toys. Sorry, kids, but grandma’s set will have to do from now on.

 


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