In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, board game companies like Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley tried to get with the times by introducing a new line of “high-tech” VCR board games. Likely designed to compete with the video game industry, VCR games merged the latest visual media technology at the time—VHS tapes—with traditional card-and-dice board games.
While many of the games were just updated versions of classics—Milton Bradley, for example, released a “Candy Land” VHS game—others were totally original and truly bizarre. Their video portions involved actors dressed as demons, detectives, or pirates yelling board game directions at viewers, or instructing players to respond directly to the screen like a grown-up version of Dora the Explorer.
Still others sought to capitalize on the latest TV and movie hits by enlisting their stars for the video portion of the game. For instance, the Wayne’s World game creators managed to convince both Mike Myers and Dana Carvey to reprise their roles as Wayne and Garth.
These days, VCR board games are largely forgotten—which is probably for the best. The games were notoriously confusing (see Community’s Pile of Bullets for a good spoof). Nevertheless, it’s fascinating to revisit the strange, lost world of VCR board games. If you missed out on the fad, the Found Footage Fest has compiled an excellent supercut of some of the most bizarre moments in the VCR game’s brief history. Check it out below: