Inventor of boardgame ‘Operation’ needs operation

John Spinello sold the game in 1964 for $500

John Spinello invented the game Operation in 1964. (
John Spinello invented the game Operation in 1964. (

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Fifty years ago, John Spinello sold his invention, a game where contestants attempted to insert a metal wand into holes without touching the metal edges — doing so would set off a buzzer — for just $500.

Although Operation would go on to generate millions of dollars for  Milton Bradley, Spinello is unable to pay for an operation of his own, which comes with an estimated cost of $25,000.

According to a campaign launched on the crowdfunding site, Spinello does not have sufficient insurance coverage.

The campaign, which has already raised $5,800, seeks to fund Spinello’s surgery. Or, rather, his operation.

Tuesday, Spinello said he was overwhelmed by the generosity of donors and thanked them after he learned the fundraising effort had hit $5,000.

The game Operation (courtesy of
The game Operation (courtesy of

Spinello told Crowdrise organizer Tim Walsh he’s had a good life watching the game he invented “bring joy to millions,” but is struggling to pay his bills.

Spinello is also selling autographed copies of the game for $50. You can donate to Spinello here. 

Donors and players of the game are invited to leave Spinello a note on the site

Tuesday October 28: John Spinello ‘overwhelmed’ by donors 


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