Chutes Away

Chutes Away

Synopsis of Toy

“Only you can save the survivors!”

Talk about pressure… Most games, the object wasn’t a matter of life and death—earn the most money, spell the most words, solve the mystery, etc. But every once in a while, you got a game like Chutes Away. There were survivors to be rescued, and you were the only pilot who could do it. Would you have the deadeye aim to land your rescue paratroopers, or would those poor survivors be left all alone on a canyon wasteland? It was a lot of weight to put on a kid’s shoulders, but thankfully, Chutes Away made up for it with a truly one-of-a-kind game experience.

There wasn’t another game around that even looked like Chutes Away, much less one that shared its unique gameplay. The base of the game was a round playing board, attached to a pilot’s control panel. Up in the air above the playfield was a Para-Rescue plane, fully loaded with 10 rescue paratroopers. Your job was to drop the paratroopers onto the game board, landing them in the “survivor” cups, but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

To start with, the terrain was constantly spinning, courtesy of a wind-up motor that needed no batteries. To make your rescue mission even tougher, you had to aim your paratroopers by looking through a targeting eyepiece mounted above your control panel. The eyepiece gave an overhead view from inside the plane, and a separate lever moved the plane back and forth to line up with the survivor cups. Success was all a matter of timing, pulling the paratrooper release lever at just the right moment to hit the cup and save a life.

For the real experts, Gabriel produced Night Rescue Chutes Away, which added a light on the bottom of the plane to illuminate a small area of the target field. Nobody said a Para-Rescue pilot’s life was easy, but that challenge was part of what made Chutes Away so memorable. The game only had a short life span, but anybody who owned one or even played one will likely still give out a nostalgic “oh, yeaaaaaaaaah” when this game of paratrooper-dropping rescue is brought up in conversation.

Release History of Toy

1977 - Chutes Away
Night Rescue Chutes Away

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