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Fun and Games

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Palmer says he can't even remember how to play ONO 99 anymore. He's tried approaching International Games with other ideas but has received only a curt form letter in reply.

Palmer has switched from games to gismos, anyway. He's decided to become an inventor. In his seventies, he's started his own High Hopes Development Company. His first invention, a Rolodex-like gismo for snapshots, cost him "two and a half times what ONO cost," he admits, rolling his eyes and smiling.

Even though Palmer is out of the gaming business, he has some advice for those who want to invent games. "What it takes to invent a game," he says, "is a person who gets excited and enthused about things. You have to believe in yourself, but don't take it [game inventing] too seriously. . . . Don't give up your job, if you have one.

"And when they turn you down," he warns, "don't let your heartache last more than 24 hours."

He invented the game for his buddies to play, and they told him it was "the best thing since girls."

The object is to be the sole survivor of a nuclear holocaust. It's a real blast to play.

"I don't see this thing ever dying. I envision this thing going international."

"My friends thought it made me a millionaire, but that's not true. I did get a new Buick, though."

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Terry Greene