Revisiting the horrifically sexist Battleship game cover from 1967


Also, I can’t math.


While it’s a two-person game and hardly a particularly exciting spectator activity, maybe they could have had mom sitting nearby knitting and the girl playing with generic dolls, this being 1967 after all. But you’re probably correct. Pre-70s gay hysteria probably demanded a family reading of the image rather than a grown man playing a game with a boy (much like today’s “jokes” about pedophiles with large collections of video games). And of course mom certainly couldn’t be playing a manly war game with her son.





Helz yeah.



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Who’s Jr. planning on taking out? :neutral_face:


There’s a detail view in the post at HiLoBrow. It’s easier to see that Mom and Sis are just not as well drawn as the two larger figures. They’re less detailed, which may be because they’re small, but their poses and proportions are a little strange, too. The overall composition of the illustration wouldn’t change much if you painted over the kitchen, Mom, and Sis completely. (In fact this was done with a later release of the game.)

Could it be that Mom and Sis were hasty late additions to a completed illustration when someone pointed out that it wasn’t (yet) obviously a family situation? That doesn’t make the illustration or the assumptions that produced it any less sexist, but it might make it less mysterious.


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

— George Santayana.


Fair enough. But I don’t need a reminder from 1967. 1767 perhaps.

And as someone pointed out this same item was posted 6 hrs ago here.



  • Why is dad holding up the battleship that just got hit? Did he remove it from the playing board?
  • The battleship he’s holding appears to be much larger and more detailed than any actual game piece. The aircraft carrier (the largest piece) has only 5 holes. The one in the illustration looks like it has space for 8-10 hits.
  • Junior’s tracking grid shows 3 red pegs on the left side, but dad’s carrier has 4 pegs marking hits. (Maybe Junior hasn’t yet placed his peg.)
  • Dad’s board, partially visible, shows another ship in the location where Junior has marked hits. Since Junior’s hits must represent dad’s carrier (there are no other hits on Junior’s tracking grid, and we can see the hits on dad’s carrier), where can dad’s carrier possibly go when he replaces it on his board to continue the game?

The only conclusion possible is that dad is cheating, blatantly. A fine message to send the kids of America.


I find a collection like this reminds me that the creators of these old cultural artifacts were completely oblivious to patterns that are glaring, obvious, and troubling to modern eyes. And I wonder which patterns we all take for granted today will seem glaring, obvious, and troubling to future eyes.



And to the response I got above. Remembering the history is absolutely good. Not sure that is what the purpose of the posting was though. It definitely itelt feels more finger pointing to me.


The mother and daughter simply being erased from the reissue of the 1967 cover was the cherry on top. Ridiculous.


Washing dishes? I thought they were packing up their stuff and leaving.


Daisy? Nobody buys Daisy.

It’s all about the Dalton Dead-Eye!

(Originally published in National Lampoon, if memory serves. Sorry, no citation at hand.)


I always assumed that Dad and Junior had cooked dinner and were enjoying an after-meal game, whilst Mom and Sissy did the washing up. I mean, it’s only fair. :wink:


I don’t disagree that this is sexist from our enlightened perspective. But the story I see here is they are marketing (1) to a boy, and (2) to the mother. They are selling a dream to a boy whose father is probably a veteran (maybe navy), probably distant, work-obsessed, and suffering from PTSD. The boy hungers for an activity he can do with his father, and battleship is one in which they can connect. He has all day to play with his sister and mother, and the dishwashing sets the stage that this is something that happens at night–after dinner. Mom buys this because it forces the father to pay attention to the son for an hour after dinner, instead of dad retreating to the den and watching Green Acres. I see mostly sadness here, especially because battleship is a terrible game. I could never make it through a whole game with my son–even the electronic version with lights and explosions.


“What, me cheat!? Ships move, right?”


“I hid this uncomfortable piece of plastic up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the battleship to you.”