Dragon’s Lair, the 1983 Laserdisc arcade game holds a very special spot in my heart. I have certainly gone on enough about it on The Retroist these last six years as well as the 10th episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee Podcast.
Why? Well, the easiest answer is I was totally captivated by the animation from Don Bluth and his studio but I also was at that right age to become enamored with the idea of becoming a valiant knight attempting to brave the perils of the Dragon’s Lair.
While it certainly has plenty of Players who seem to rail against the game…well…being a game on rails, I still find myself captivated by it today as when I first walked into my local Showbiz Pizza and saw the line of Players waiting their turn.
I think that the only real complaint I ever had about Dragon’s Lair was the lack of merchandising. It wasn’t until Dragon’s Lair 3D: Return to the Lair was released back in 2002 that we fans finally got our hands on some proper action figures!
So what merchandise was available for Dragon’s Lair in the early 80s?
- There were some excellent buttons that fans could get from the Don Bluth Animation fan club.
- Aladdin Industries Inc. released an incredible metal lunch box.
- The Don Bluth Studios published the Tele-Story Presents Dragon’s Lair storybook – which came with an audio cassette tape to listen to while reading the story.
- A set of Dragon’s Lair flip books that you could yet again order through the Don Bluth Animation fan club back in the day.
- Milton Bradley produced a board game based on the popular arcade title – which I just so happened to be lucky enough to get my hands on, thanks to a good friend and co-worker at the arcade.
- There were some cheap toys manufactured by the Larami Corporation for Dragon’s Lair but these were just cheap plastic bugs and slingshots with the game’s logo stamped on the packaging.
- I think one of the greatest Dragon’s Lair produced pieces of merchandise was Fleer’s exceptional sticker and rub-off game cards.
- Last but not least Marvel Books – yes – as in Marvel Comics, released a series of coloring books and storybooks with images from the game as well as some minor puzzles and word searches.
I am happy to say that after 32 years I finally was able to get my hands on one of those Dragon’s Lair storybooks!
Are you finally going to talk about the Dragon’s Lair book?!
Yes. Calm down, friends. I was just giving you some of my personal thoughts and background info on the merchandising for the game. Yeesh. Dragon’s Lair: The Quest for the Stolen Fortune was designed by Paty Cockrum and Marie Severin – with the word games, mazes, and crossword puzzles created by Suzanne Weyn.
It finds Dirk the Daring being summoned to the Royal Palace where he is put on the trail of the dastardly and deadly Lizard King!
Naturally after the reader helps Dirk navigate the traps left behind by the Lizard King…
..they must attempt to vanquish the evil ruler.
Thankfully if a younger reader found themselves stuck they could always take a quick peek in the back of the book to get the answers they needed.
Now I know that I said I was lucky enough to get my hands on this book, the truth is I was only able to read through it when I dropped in at the arcade. You see, Shea ordered the book from eBay for one of our Players – a young boy who very much like I was at that age captivated by the Dragon’s Lair arcade game.
So I guess in truth my quest for these books still awaits!