July 6th, 2010
03:29 PM ET

'70s board game contains eerie BP oil spill scenarios

The BP Offshore Oil Strike game from the 1970s has popped up on eBay recently.

A nearly 40-year-old board game is getting a lot of new attention because of eerie similarities between the scenarios of its play and the 78-day-old BP Gulf oil disaster.

The game BP Offshore Oil Strike, which came out in the 1970s and is adorned with an old BP logo, revolves around four players exploring for oil, building platforms and constructing pipelines all in the name of being the first to make $120 million.

But like the real-life oil game there are some big hazards, too. Players have to deal with the possibility of large-scale oil spills and cover cleanup costs. You struggle with "hazard cards" that include phrases now part of our daily vernacular, including: "Blow-out! Rig damaged. Oil slick cleanup costs. Pay $1 million."

Sound a little familiar? The similarity has led to discussions all over the Web. It's prompted people to dig in their attics and put their old games up on eBay many of which have promptly been snatched up.

One copy of the game was donated to the largest toy museum in England, the House on the Hill Toy Museum in Stansted, Essex.

The museum's owner, Alan Goldsmith, told CNN he was shocked when he saw the donated game.

"It was sort of uncanny how it was similar to what's happening really," Goldsmith said. "I thought it was odd that it was a game in the '70s, which has basically now come true. The interesting thing is that it was in dollars, even though it was a European game. The cleanup bill was $1 million, which we now know isn't nearly enough, but it is a weird colorful circle."

The game came out during the oil crisis of the '70s and perhaps it was an attempt to drum up support for U.S.-based drilling.

Goldsmith said as a part of the game, players work to amass a drilling empire. But the game comes with all of the scenarios of the present Gulf disaster. Even the game board and cover resemble images from the Gulf these days with rigs attempting to reach far into the ocean depths.

The game has many people online remarking about whether it eerily foreshadowed the current BP disaster.

"It's strange, you've got this fictitious board game with fictitious drama but it couldn't be any closer to the reality of what's happening now," Goldsmith said.

The world of video games, meanwhile, appears to have a more direct link to the Gulf oil disaster.

In "Crisis in the Gulf," which an independent producer released last month for the Xbox, gamers use weapons to zap blobs of oil.

The game is available for purchase through Xbox's online marketplace.

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