The cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg was best known for creating "Rube Goldberg machines", which were complicated machines designed to perform simple tasks. Goldberg's machines led to the development of the popular game "Mouse Trap", developed in the 1960's, and to a series of competitions at Purdue University, in Japan, and elsewhere, to build the best Rube Goldberg device for a certain task, such as putting a hamburger together.
Here is Goldberg's alarm clock:
Purdue University's Rube Goldberg Contest:
The 2007 competition at Purdue:
The original version of the Mouse Trap game was released in 1963. The object is to build a Rube Goldberg style mouse trap, and then capture all of your opponents mice.
There are many videos of Rube Goldberg devices online. Here is one of my favorites.