An Electric Football game that didn’t make our Top 20 is celebrating its 45th birthday this year— that would be Gotham’s ambitious Super Dome.
The Super Dome debuted in 1969, a time when Gotham was choking on the dust of Tudor’s miniature NFL. Gotham needed something to compete with Tudor, and the Super Dome was the game they designed and brought to the 1969 Toy Fair for just that purpose (negotiations for the Joe Namath endorsement weren’t finalized by Toy Fair).
For Gotham, the Super Dome was a continuation of their line of impressive stadium architecture, and in fact, the Super Dome was replacing the Big Bowl as Gotham’s flagship model.
As with the Big Bowl, Gotham was very forward thinking with the Super Dome. They were even well ahead of the city of New Orleans, who wouldn’t break ground on the real Super Dome until 1971. So New Orleans wasn’t Gotham’s inspiration for a domed stadium. Instead, it was the AFL Houston Oilers. In 1968 they started playing football in the Astrodome. Gotham was betting that the Oilers and the Astrodome were leading the way in a trend toward indoor football.
Gotham’s Super Dome didn’t offer up as many construction complications as the Big Bowl, but it was a challenge to get right, especially the plastic beams that formed the “dome.” And with the grandstand pieces slanted inward, the game was a challenge to play. But, to Gotham’s credit, the Super Dome was like anything else in Electric Football.
Most boys got their first look at the Super Dome in the 1969 Sears Wish Book, where it had the miserable luck of being positioned right underneath Tudor’s brand new Sears’ Super Bowl game. And in summing up Gotham’s trajectory at the time, the Super Dome would be the last Gotham Electric Football game to appear in any Sears Christmas catalog.
When the real Super Dome and the Pontiac Silver Dome opened in 1975, followed by the Seattle Kingdome in 1976, Gotham was ultimately proved right about betting on a domed Electric Football game. Unfortunately, the Gotham Super Dome model was only made until 1970. And Gotham the company was longer in existence, having been absorbed my Munro Games in 1972. With only two years of production, Gotham Super Dome games are tough find, even on eBay. But they are a great tribute to an Electric Football maker who always thought “big.”
Earl & Roddy