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Inventor Of 'Operation' Game Says He Can't Afford His Own Operation

The man who invented the legendary game "Operation" says he can't afford his own operation.

Back in the '60s, John Spinello missed out on a whole lot of money, when he sold the patent to his game for just $500.

The Huffington Post reports that Spinello came out of it OK, but in 2008 a warehouse company he owned went under and things have been tough ever since.

Today, he finds himself in need of a $25,000 oral surgery and he can't afford it.

Two friends of his heard about this and decided to launch a crowdfunding project to try to help him out.

"We launched this Crowdrise fundraiser to call on anyone who has ever played and loved Operation to send John a note and maybe, a monetary gift of appreciation," Tim Walsh and Peggy Brown wrote.

Spinello told the Huffpostthat he's not bitter. He sold the patent while he was still a college student.

"Look, everyone needs medical care," Spinello told the Huffpost. "I prefer not to dwell on that aspect and focus more on the joy that the game has brought to so many over the years."

So far, people have donated more than $19,000 to Spinello's cause.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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