Giant Jenga, or as we call them - the Mega Hi Tower, Giant Tower and Hi Tower - were the very first products that Garden Games made and sold. Fifteen years ago, one of the founders of Garden Games, created the Giant Tower game in order to entertain people at a party. The game was an instant hit at the birthday party, and he saw something that had real value. He wanted to bring this game to the masses - to watch people and their families enjoying it for years to come.
So How Many Have You Sold?
Big Game Hunters have sold over 100,000 of these games and are extremely proud of the impact and fun it has brought to so many people over the years. But enough of the mushy stuff - where does the game actually come from?
Where Did the game Jenga come from?
Now despite the wonders of the giant version of the garden game - the small table version has been around for many years.
It is a modern game in relation to very traditional games such as Croquet, Boules and Giant Chess, however it is very quickly becoming a widely known game and will very soon be sat on the 'classic' shelf amongst such games as Connect 4.
A British Student called Leslie Scott invented the game in 1983. She had grown up in East Africa, and had spent many an afternoon playing with little building blocks. It is thought to be a family game that she and her brothers had created in order to while away many a hot afternoon whilst living in Ghana. Ghana is actually very well known for its saw mills and these building blocks were created using little off cuts of wood from one particular local mill called Takarati.
As you can imagine, the game spread out from Leslie and her family to a huge amount of friends in the area. Even when Ms Scott moved over to Britain to study at Oxford University, she continued to play the game and naturally got all her friends and peers involved.
Understandably, the game gave the students all a welcome break from studying and it grew in popularity. Despite a short stint working for an IT company after completing University - Leslie Scott wanted to start out on her own and felt she had all the skills needed to become a successful business woman. She began with something very close to her heart - the ever popular game of Jenga - named as such after the Swahili word meaning 'build'.
After some hard work and perseverance, Leslie released the game for the first time on the commercial market in 1983, at the British Toy Fair in London. It was so popular, that she sold exclusive rights to the game to a man called Robert Grebler from California. He quickly bought her stock of the game and started the Poknobe Associates to further push the spread of the game across the globe. After a number of licensee's such as Irwin Toy, Schaper (which was later bought by Hasbro) Hasbro eventually became the Licensee in the majority of countries around the world.
So Who Still Plays Jenga?
So from the commercial side, over 50 million Jenga games have been sold which in terms of each individual blocks that is over 2.7 billion pieces!
However, the African roots remain strong. The game is widely known amongst African people - especially in Ghana where they call is 'Sidan' meaning to build a house. I think it is very important that the game is still played in the place it began, and as well as this it is now being made into a Fair Trade game manufactured by people in Ghana.