How the game is played:
Two teams of 10 players roller-skate in laps, trying to get hold of a magnetic ball you can throw through a metal hoop set in the wall. The ball is put in play when it is fired from a cannon at the skaters. Three members of the team are allowed to ride motorcycles through the track, potentially turning every match into an impromptu, live-action version of build-a-track from Excitebike.
Ended up loosely inspiring modern roller derby; Specifically, the attitude, spectacle and brutality, subtracting Chris Klein (laaaaame!) and adding loads of snarling hot chicks in short pants throwing more 'bows than a Ludacris concert. (Tittays!)
7.6 out of 10 - James Caan on roller skates? Awesome. Unleashing bloodthirsty bikers onto a velodrome full of roller-skaters? Awesome. Shooting roller-skaters with a cannon while trying to dodge crazy motor-biking assholes trying to do sweet jumps off their testicles? Awesome. The remake? Sucktastic. The making of the remake leading to John McTiernan watching his cornhole in prison? Uber-Suck.
How the Game is Played:
Similarly to the Gumball Rally, a transcontinental road race run on public roads. Crossing checkpoints as fast as possible scores you points. Committing vehicular manslaughter by running over innocent pedestrians also scores you points. Depending on your definition of "winning," you must score the most points, murder the most pedestrians and then also plow your car into the President of the Fascist United Provinces, and usurp his power. The best games of Death Race include lots of usurping.
And toothy cars.
A large number of people owning Grand Theft Auto have no idea you can do other things in the game besides playing Death Race. The movie came out in the early 70s and still, motorists of all ages spot someone or something on the sidewalk and assign a point total to it, immediately followed by the brief mental image of turning said target into loose beef under the front wheels. Sick smile or high-pitched giggle is optional.
8.3 out of 10 - Considering human-kind has only had automobiles for a little over 100 years, there's something almost elemental to the wild-eyed glee we glean upon witnessing two-tons of metal smashing into soft meaty things. But as with anything very simplistic, after awhile it gets old. Aside from pretty paint jobs and leather-daddy copilots, the lack of variety in the gameplay deducts too many awesomeosity points to put this at #1.
How the Game is Played (short story):
After finding yourself emaciated and in a state of severe destitution, you agree to be defamed by the American Government in return for the opportunity to compete on live television for a shot at financial security. You are turned loose on the streets with 4800 dollars. You must evade government assassins for 30 days. While running, you must make two daily video messages and mail them to the TV Studio, making it that much easier for them to track you. If you miss a video drop, you forfeit the money, but the assassins keep hunting you until you are dead.
How the Game is Played (movie):
You're Arnold Schwarzenegger. You wear a silly costume and run around a Hollywood backlot while, behind the camera, Starsky tells Richard Dawson to smoke and sneer a lot as he orders the Village People to murder Arnie in front of a live studio audience.
But he won't be sent to the cooler.
Seventy-five percent of everything currently on television can be traced back to this story, for all the good and bad that entails.
8.7 out of 10 - King wrote the short story in one frenzied week, and it shows: By that I mean it's lean, it's focused, it moves forward in a straight line at about 200-miles an hour, and it isn't bloated out to 3000 pages and loaded with multiple references to "Beams" and "Ka-Tets." It also actually ends. Most of his other stories just sort of stop, which is different from an ending in the same way "landing" is different from "faceplanting." The ending to "Running Man" was awesome - pre 2001. Unfortunately, now it's just kind of uncomfortable. Couple that with the campy, trashy film adaptation, and a couple awesomeosity points have to be deducted.
How the Game is Played:
First, develop magical powers. Secondly, attend school full of godless heathens who openly mock Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with their wicked ways. Then, once you've assembled enough soulless bastards, you can form teams of broomstick riding devil-children, and play this airborne combination of soccer, basketball and hockey.
Goals are scored by chucking a smaller ball (the Quaffle) through one of the opponents three goals without being knocked off your broom by a defense whose job it is to hit a large iron ball (the Bludger) into your body at bone-breaking speeds. The game only ends when a tiny, winged ball with a mind of its own (the Snitch) is captured by a member of either team. Catching the snitch is worth 150 points, regular goals are worth 10. Whoever has more points when the snitch is caught, wins.
This is the wrong way to catch the snitch.
Teams from more than 200 colleges are affiliated with the International Quidditch Association, and play in tournaments with rewritten rules that account for the fact that real people can't fly on household cleaning implements.
9.6 out of 10 - It almost doesn't need explaining. Soccer + hockey + basketball + flying + drunk Phantasm ball + witchcraft = Fucking Awesome. I scored a 27 on the math section of my SATs and even I can understand that equation.
How the Game is Played:
Remember what its like to be young. Then make up whatever rules you have to in order to continue having fun. When you are exhausted from sheer exhilaration and laughter, the game is over, and everyone has won. Celebrate victory by going sledding with a stuffed tiger and eating PBJ sandwiches under your favorite tree.
Every child currently alive on planet Earth intrinsically knows how to play this game.
15 out of 10 - Interesting note: Calvinball is actually the second most awesome invention of messrs. Calvin and Hobbes. Number one is the Transmogrifier.
37.6 out of 10 - True story: If Henry Kissinger can get a Nobel Prize, there is zero reason why Calvin can't have one. It's appropriate penance for the decades we've spent slapping bootleg images of him, alternately pissing or praying, on the back of our shitbox minivans and hoopties.