John Spinello is an American game designer who is best known for inventing the popular board game, "Operation." He was born on May 7, 1946, in the Chicago suburb of Fox Lake, Illinois.
Spinello created "Operation" in 1964 while he was still a student at the University of Illinois. The game was originally called "Death Valley" and was inspired by an electric shock he received while working on a college project.
The game was eventually sold to Milton Bradley (now part of Hasbro) for $500, and it became an instant hit. "Operation" has since become a beloved classic, with millions of copies sold around the world.
Despite the game's immense popularity, Spinello never received any royalties for his invention. In 2014, a crowdfunding campaign was launched to help raise funds for Spinello, who was struggling to pay for his medical expenses. The campaign raised over $32,000, and Hasbro also made a one-time payment of $25,000 to Spinello.
Today, Spinello is retired and lives in the Chicago area. He remains an iconic figure in the game design industry and is widely respected and admired for his contributions to popular culture.