The History of Fun

By Polygon

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Each week, a new exploration of the hidden backstories behind the things you love to do. Whatever happened to the thimble in Monopoly? Where do all the terrifying Chuck E Cheese robots come from? What’s the story behind the helpful cloud turtle in Super Mario Kart? Join Polygon's Russ Frushtick, Allegra Frank and Chris Plante on a hilarious weekly journey through a variety of time-wasting activities.

Episode Date
SNICK: A Brief History

Alright, it's a Saturday night, it's 1995. What are you gonna do? Well, you're probably going to leave the lights on because you're watching ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? and other SNICK classics. This week, Chris Plante joins us to talk about Nickelodeon's classic programming rock block of All That, SpongeBob and more.

Aug 13, 2018
Water Parks: A Brief History

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the water parks. Today Allegra Frank brings you the twisted history of waterparks and where they came from. She also decides to focus on some pretty grim stuff, so if you're a little squeamish about injury or death, you may want to, uh, come back next week? Anyway, FUN!

Aug 06, 2018
Manga: A Brief History

This week on The History of Fun, Allegra Frank fills us all in on the origins of MANGA and its biggest franchise: Shonen Jump. Yes, if you've always been perplexed about the world of manga, this is the episode for you. And if you're already a fan of manga, there's a fair chance that we mispronounce at least one thing in this episode. Not Allegra, though. She's a pro.

Jul 30, 2018
Mission Impossible: A Brief History

This week we welcome special guest Matt Patches to discuss the history of Mission Impossible, from its origins as a Cold War-era TV show to the every-4-years film franchise we've come to know and love. We thought we'd look back given that the sixth (and final? who knows!) movie, Mission Impossible: Fallout, comes out on Friday.

Jul 20, 2018
TI-83 Gaming: A Brief History

Whether it's Drug Wars or that weird penguin platforming game, the TI-83 calculator had something for everyone! On this episode we welcome special guest, Jon Bois of SBNation, to talk about the magic and wonder of gaming on a calculator, while also occasionally using it for schoolwork. Fair to say that Texas Instruments has a pretty good scheme going.

Jul 16, 2018
The FIFA World Cup: A Brief History

With Chris Plante on vacation we welcome none other than Colin Campbell, resident soccer expert (so much so that he calls it football!), to talk about the origins and some of the wacky moments from the history of the FIFA World Cup. Let's all take a moment to celebrate a dog named Pickles.

Jul 09, 2018
The 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest: A Brief History

On this, the week of America's independence, we celebrate the ability for humans to consume low-grade meat at extremely fast rates. Chris Plante digs into the surprisingly-fraught history of the world famous Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest, as well as its most famous (and controversial) competitor.

Jul 02, 2018
Early Roller Coasters: A Brief History

This week on The History of Fun, we're diving into the origins of the roller coaster. We're not talking about your grand pappy's roller coaster! Well, actually we kinda are. And maybe your great great grandpappy's. Suffice it to say, hella old roller coasters. Join Russ Frushtick as he LEAPS THOSE DIPS!

Special thanks to Foo Obsessed for the great Reader Only Memories theme song! Soundcloud link here:

Jun 25, 2018
Hello Kitty: A Brief History

Quite possibly the world's most famous cat (take that Garfield), Sanrio's Hello Kitty is a juggernaut. But where did this strange cat without a mouth come from? And could it be possible that she's NOT A CAT BUT RATHER A HUMAN GIRL? Yeah, things get weird, thanks to Allegra Frank and the rest of your friends at The History of Fun!

Jun 18, 2018
E3: A Brief History

It's the most well-known gaming conference, but its humble origins may surprise you! This week we're diving into the history of E3, home to Sonic, Mario and all your friends. Chris Plante is on the case, covering the story of the show from start to finish.

Jun 07, 2018
John Madden Football: A Brief History

Even if you don't care about football and don't give a hoohah about Jonathan Madden and his bus-loving stylings, the story of the biggest sports game franchise ever is quite a yarn! Join Chris Plante as his spins this pigskin into a, I don't know, football or something!

Jun 04, 2018
Sports Mascots: A Brief History

This week on The History of Fun we're diving into three major icons in the history of Sports Mascotting. Yes, it's important and stuff! Discover the early days of mascots, the most famous dog mascot and the most famous mascot with a baseball head!


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May 28, 2018
Pokemon Cards: A Brief History

This week we're exploring a very specific part of the Pokemon phenomenon: Pokemon Cards! Where did they come from? Are they still around? What do they have to do with Magic: The Gathering? Allegra Frank tells all!

May 21, 2018
The Undertaker Threw Mankind Off Hell in a Cell: A Brief History

This week on The History of Fun we're inviting friend of the show and resident wrestling expert, Patrick Gill, to talk about an infamous moment in wrestling history, but don't don’t let this man distract you from the fact that in 1998, The Undertaker threw Mankind off Hell In A Cell, and plummeted 16 ft through an announcer’s table.

May 14, 2018
The World's Fair: A Brief History

There was once a time where countries would throw these raucous, baller parties just to show off how dope they are. They were called World's Fairs. And although they technically still exist, they really don't. Russ looks back and celebrates some of the greatest World's Fairs ever held. Long live the Tennessee Wigsphere!

May 07, 2018
Virtual Boy: A Brief History

The wackiest (and most disasterous) Nintendo console of all time goes under the microscope! Who's bright idea was it to create this silly helmet contraption in the first place? Will it make you go blind? And what's with all the red? Chris Plante uncovers the truth.

Apr 30, 2018
Neopets: A Brief History

Neopets seem to be popping in the news lately, so we thought we'd shift this episode up a little bit in our schedule so y'all could learn the truth behind the craze that swept the internet. Allegra takes the wheel and fills us in on her penchant for pet theft, as well as the connections between Neopets and Scientology. Enjoy!

Apr 23, 2018
Trampolines: A Brief History

It's fair to say that no toy in the history of the world has caused more carnage than the trampoline. Seems like a perfect fit for Allegra Frank, who clearly hates them but decided, yet again, to pick something she hates. Join her and us as we soar to the highest of highs and then break our bones upon landing.

Apr 16, 2018
Tamagotchi: A Brief History

Ah, those gloriously-needy little egg babies! Today Russ is delving into the history of Tamagotchi, from their humble origins as aliens found in a lake by a lonely man to a worldwide juggernaut to something that some people remember sorta.

Apr 09, 2018
Toys R Us: A Brief History

Sorry I wasn't able to figure out how to type a backwards R here. Anyway, Chris Plante is back in action, sharing the epic origins of Toys R Us. Unfortunately this episode was RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES as Toys R Us just completely folded earlier this month, but hey, let's all remember them fondly!

Apr 02, 2018
Roller Derby: A Brief History

Because sticking wheels on your feet wasn't dangerous enough, today we welcome special guest Abby Russell from Giant Bomb, to talk about the history of roller derby.

Mar 26, 2018
Oreos: A Brief History

What could be more fun than the Oreo cookie? Today we welcome special guest Daniela Galarza from Eater as she discusses the origins of the Oreo as well as what the future holds!

Mar 19, 2018
LEGO: A Brief History

This week we explore the humble origins of the Lego Building Block, thanks to special guest Clayton Ashley! Denmark was forever changed, and you will be too!

Mar 12, 2018
Happy Meals: A Brief History

What kid didn't love making a weekly trip to McDonald's for a chance at a transforming shake toy? Today we're looking at the history of the McDonald's Happy Meal. This episode was very obviously not sponsored by McDonald's.

Mar 05, 2018
Mr. Potato Head: A Brief History

What a tangled web this starchy toy has weaved throughout the years. Sit back and let Chris Plante fill you in on the sorted adventures of Mr. Potato Head and his brood.

Feb 26, 2018
Poker: A Brief History

Get ready to lose your shirt! This week Russ takes us into the scaly underbelly of the origins of poker. Matt Damon rejoice!

Feb 19, 2018
Jump Rope: A Brief History

All you need is a rope, two hands, and a dream. Let Allegra Frank lead you through the history of the mighty jumping rope!

Feb 12, 2018
Duke Nukem Forever: A Brief History

What happens when a game gets delayed? And delayed? And delayed again? Let Chris Plante tell the sorted tale of Duke Nukem Forever, the game that never was and then suddenly actually was.

Feb 05, 2018
Sledding: A Brief History

Wintertime is upon us. How long have people been hitting the slopes? Let's find out!

Jan 29, 2018
N-Gage: A Mercifully Brief History

The world has never seen a device quite like the N-Gage. Actually, that's not true. There was a second one. Why, oh, why, you ask? Allegra Frank is on the case!

Jan 22, 2018
Tokyo DisneySea: A Brief History

If you've never heard of it before, prepare to be introduced to one of the most incredible and over-the-top theme parks in the history of the world: Tokyo DisneySea. Take it away, Chris Plante!

Jan 15, 2018
GoldenEye 007: A Brief History

This week we explore one of the most well-known shooters of all time: GoldenEye 007 on the N64. Join us as we dig deep into the insanely disaster-prone, understaffed team that managed to pull off the impossible.

Jan 08, 2018
Beanie Babies: A Brief History

In this episode, Allegra Frank explores the skyrocketing highs and the horrifying lows of the Beanie Baby phenomenon of the mid-90s. Where did they come from? Where did they go? Will they ever return in greater numbers? Yes, before there was BitCoin, there were Beanie Babies.

Jan 01, 2018
Street Fighter (The Movie): A Brief History

In this episode, Chris Plante delves into the seedy underbelly that was the production of Street Fighter: The Movie, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. He promises drugs, booze and celebrity scandal. In short, Ryu would be ashamed.

I feel like no one reads this, but in case you're super bored and reading this instead of the bathroom graffiti, maybe you wanna take a minute to review our lovely podcast on Apple Podcasts / iTunes? It would mean so much to us!

Dec 25, 2017
Super Mario Kart: A Brief History

In today's episode we explore our very first video game: Super Mario Kart. Yes, the very first entry in the long-running Mario Kart series isn't exactly the most beloved, but it's good to know where it all came from, right? Right?

Dec 18, 2017
Dodgeball (aka Deathball): A Brief History

On today's episode, Allegra takes the reigns and walks Russ and Chris through the dangerous origins of the game most known as Dodgeball. Where did it come from? Who is fighting against it? Why was Chris Plante such a target in elementary school? All will be revealed.

Dec 11, 2017
Chuck E. Cheese: A Brief History

Whether you spent time there as a child or it just haunts your dreams when you close your eyes at night, Chuck E. Cheese is a mainstay of American culture. Today we explore the hidden wonders / horrors of Chuck E. Cheese and its famous singing robots.

Dec 11, 2017
Monopoly: A Brief History

Ah, Monopoly, the game that lasts forever and makes you hate your friends. In their first episode, Russ Frushtick, Allegra Frank and Chris Plante explore the origins of the Parker Bros. game from hell.

Dec 11, 2017
Welcome to The History of Fun

Ever wonder who came up with the idea for Monopoly? Or where the Chuck E. Cheese robots come from? Or what caused the downfall of the Beanie Babies? Join Polygon's Russ Frushtick, Allegra Frank and Chris Plante on a weekly journey of discovery called The History of Fun.

Dec 08, 2017