Twenty-eight years ago, one of the hottest gifts beneath local Christmas trees was the 'Game of Tamaqua.'

Today, at least one of those games still exists, and in near-perfect condition.

Carol Umbriac of Lake Hauto discovered the 1983 game in a closet and took it to her job at Nancy's Fresh Cut Meats, Hometown, where employees and visitors enjoyed a trip down memory lane. The item is proving to be a conversation piece.

"I don't think it was played much," said Umbriac. "I can't remember."

Umbriac recalls receiving the game as a gift around the holidays. But since her birthday is in November, she can't quite recall whether the game was a birthday gift or a Christmas present. By storing it inside a closet, the game was preserved in excellent condition for almost three decades.

The colorful board game was produced by G & J Ideas, a fund raising company based in Myerstown, and its production was sponsored locally by the Tamaqua Area Jaycees.

The game works similar to the popular Monopoly board game, however the names of the usual Monopoly properties are changed in the Game of Tamaqua to reflect local businesses.

Each player starts with $69,000 in game money. The object of the game is to bankrupt the competition by buying, selling, expanding and investing in local business properties, with familiar names providing an interesting twist. Plus, participants can invest in a Millionaire Stock Exchange to help build an empire.

Interestingly, the passing of time has turned the Game of Tamaqua into a time capsule all its own.

Thirty businesses were showcased on the board, many that will bring back memories: Lee Mountz Interiors, Wenzel Bakery, Fred Curvery & Associates, Changes, P & B Sporting Goods, Miners National Bank, Draper & Yost, Two Corners Cafe, John E. Morgan Knitting Mill and Davis-Roche Funeral Home, are among them.

Jaycees responsible for the game's production were: Robert Roche, Dan Rickert, Pat Owens, Herman Zeller, Frank Umbriac, Mark Fegley, Mark Valentine, Joseph Kotch, Daniel Bingaman, Charles Burrell, Robert Dobosh, Don Fegley, Pat Gallagher, Jon Curvey, Kenneth Valentine and Tyrone Zancofsky.