Alien Game

Happy Alien Day! Let’s Play The 1979 Alien Game!

You might remember earlier this year when I shared my discovery of the 1979 Alien Game by Kenner. I was quite surprised to learn of course that a board game had been published for Ridley Scott’s cinematic masterpiece. I would remind you that Alien is certainly a horror movie after all. In addition to the hard R rating the film received and for good reason!

Having said that I will point out that the late seventies and early eighties were a different era. Naturally. So I’m guessing that Kenner was attempting to reach out to those very kids that couldn’t see the movie. They did produce more than a few pieces of merchandising after all, right?

Check out the 1979 “Alien Attack” movie viewer!

Besides a terrifying 18-inch Xenomorph figure and the film viewer, it was the 1979 Alien game that most interested me. As I have written about on more than a few occasions I consider myself a pretty big fan of board games. It so happened that my co-worker at the Arkadia Retrocade saw my post and found a very affordable copy online. She surprised me with it at the arcade one evening and some of us stayed after work to play the Alien Game.

Furthermore I was delighted to learn that the game hadn’t been used before. Chiefly the player pieces for the Xenomorph and Nostromo crew hadn’t even been punched out.
Alien Game

I will admit to a small feeling of regret at having to alter what was pristine for 38 years. On the other hand the Alien Game was naturally meant to be played and enjoyed. At the very least it is now in the hands of those who will appreciate it the most.

As for the rules of the Alien Game, players attempt to get a single member of their crew from the Nostromo to the escape shuttle. All the while attempting to thwart their fellow players with their personal Xenomorph.
Alien Game

After choosing a colored starting area that matches the color of your playing pieces, you must travel clockwise around the board. I chose LV-426 or Acheron as my starting location, which is of course how April 26th was chosen as the date for Alien Day!

The Xenomorph also travels through the corridors of the doomed Nostromo. In addition to being able to pop up across the board by way of using the air shafts dotted across the board. Which I will point out that I used to great effect on one of my co-worker’s astronauts!

Consequently in the next turn she turned around and used it to greater effect on two of my three crew members. I know that Alien famously said that “In space no one can hear you scream“. I can you assure however that everyone could hear my screams of despair at the arcade.

There are a few safe spots for players to park their astronauts where the Xenomorph cannot reach you. Bear in mind that you can do nothing against the Alien itself besides running and hiding. From our few rounds of the Alien Game we found that it is one of the most tense board games we can remember playing.

In any event there can be only one winner in the game. While all of us playing managed to get within reach of the escape shuttle, it was the owner of the game that won. She even added the mental image of waving to us as she blasted off to safety.

I supposed I can take some small amount of comfort with this thought. Perhaps those of us left behind were spared the deadly kiss of the Xenomorph…when the Nostromo exploded. So if you get the opportunity I highly recommend you track down a copy of the Alien Game for yourself. I truly found this to be one of the best designed board games I’ve played in quite some time.

So if you cannot get your hands on the Alien Game why not celebrate Alien Day a simpler way?


Obviously I would suggest you spend it watching Alien or perhaps Aliens? In fact, why not take a moment and listen to Ridley Scott talking about directing the 1979 movie?

[Via] Film4

Monster Squad

Behind The Scenes Photos Of 1987’s The Monster Squad!

I believe we have more than demonstrated our love of The Monster Squad here on The Retroist. From numerous posts featuring artwork by the likes of Traivs Falligant to epic apparel by Fright-Rags. Naturally there was also the 70th Retroist Podcast episode – all about The Monster Squad of course!
Retroist Monster Squad Podcast

However we haven’t had a lot of opportunities to share vintage behinds the scenes photos from the movie. Furthermore photos supplied by none other than the Stan Winston School of Character Arts.

Monster Squad

All Images courtesy of the Stan Winston School of Character Arts

It turns out that right after the Stan Winston Studio finished the effects work on 1986’s Aliens. The team finished up on Amazing Stories and then took on the job for The Monster Squad. A project that as you can understand caused quite a bit of excitement for the artists. A chance to play with the designs of the classic Universal Monsters. Having said that though, it seems that also initially caused some gritted teeth. As Shane Mahan explains on the Stan Winston school blog:

“The challenge was to suggest those classic creatures, without really copying them,” explained Shane Mahan, “because we didn’t have permission or the license to use those specific images. So we could do a ‘Gillman’, for example, but it couldn’t look too much like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was frustrating for us at first, because, of course, we wanted to do the original designs! But we couldn’t. We could only suggest those designs. So the Frankenstein monster looks a bit like the Karloff creature; but instead of bolts in the neck, he has bolts in the forehead. There was a certain percentage of changes we had to make to get away from any legal copyright infringement.”

Of all of the wonderful monster designs and I truly believe each and every one of them is great. The Gillman is still my favorite, hands down.

In August of this year it will mark the 30th anniversary of Monster Squad. I have no doubt that something must be in the works to celebrate this film. Having said that it would be hard to top the 20th Anniversary Blu-Ray.

Who knows though? Perhaps we might be lucky enough to get a comprehensive coffee table book? One in which even more of these great on the set photos might be shared. If I learn anything about such a special tome – I’ll be sure to share it with you all. Follow the link to the Stan Winston School up top – for additional photos and information from behind the scenes.

Did you enjoy the behind the scenes look at The Monster Squad? Don’t forget that well put together trailer!

[Via] Mr. Psycho 313

1980’s Japanese “X-Bomber” Has Links To Star Wars And Aliens?

X-Bomber or as it was known in the UK Star Fleet was a 1980 marionette based science fiction television show, created by the legendary manga artist Devilman‘s Go Nagai (Kiyoshi Nagai). The series of course was heavily influenced by the works of Gerry Anderson’s British television series using his patented “Supermarionation” process wherein the marionettes would also include electronic moving parts to aid in giving them a more life-like appearance – seen in such as Fireball XL-5 and of course the most famous of those types of programs 1965’s Thunderbirds.

The story for X-Bomber is set in the year 2999 and revolves around the Earth Defense Force. Tasked with the protection of the Earth – which is pretty clear by the organization’s name the fragile peace is shattered with the appearance of an alien battle cruiser that proceeds to obliterate the Pluto station for the EDF.
X-Bomber
After this attack and with the threat of the Earth itself being destroyed a team is put together to launch an experimental bomber, known only as the X-Project from a secret base upon the moon to fight back this alien threat – mainly the evil commander Makara.
Star Fleet - Commander Makara
It was in 1982 that the U.K. began airing X-Bomber on Saturday mornings after renaming it Star Fleet – with the scripts for the episodes being adapted by Michael Sloan, who would later go on to be a writer on the hit CBS television series The Equalizer.

[Via] Normonnaut
Star Fleet also featured the voice work of Garrick Hagon who portrayed the character of Biggs Darklighter in 1977’s Star Wars and Jay Benedict who played Deak in the film although his part was edited out of the final print. Benedict however would also play Russ Jorden, Newt’s Father, in James Cameron’s Aliens in 1986…to only be cut out again but thankfully seen by way of the Special Edition. Another Aliens alumni whose voice work was featured in Star Fleet was Al Matthews who played the ill-fated Sergeant Apone in Cameron’s sequel to Alien.

Also of note is that Queen‘s Brian May became a fan of Star Fleet thanks to his young Son, recording a cover of the television shows’ theme song alongside Eddie Van Halen, REO Speed Wagon‘s drummer Alan Gratzer, Phil Chen, and Fred Mandel as Star Fleet Project.

[Via] Emmanuel LR
There is no way you can not listen to that cover of the Star Fleet theme and not feel your blood start to pump a little faster, I believe I have found the new song I want to wake up to every morning from now on!

Aliens, minus Sigourney Weaver

Konami's Aliens

Browsing around The Arcade Flyer Archive recently, I found this curious image featuring an actress who looks nothing like Sigourney Weaver. In this 1990 arcade game, Konami presumably forgot which actress starred as Ellen Ripley and gave its American audience a blonde with little resemblance to the original character.

Despite such changes, the game was a lot of fun, as you’ll see from this video:

Learn more about the game at the Xenopedia.

Retro Polish Movie Posters

Retro Polish Movie Posters

Aliens Retro Polish Movie Posters

I recently wrote about an unusual Italian ‘Battle For the Planet of the Apes’ movie poster. This got me thinking that there might be other films that have received similar treatment and so a search was started to find more oddities. Believe me when I say that what I found was a treasure trove of weirdness…

For example, the poster above is for the 1987 ‘Aliens’ – but you had guessed that, right? Those eyes weren’t fooling you?!

Raiders of the Lost Ark Retro Polish Movie Posters

‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ received an impressive montage of images, replete with multiple swastika’s! And ‘Return of the Jedi’ has a new hero in C-3PO, where the golden protocol droid takes centre stage in some very nice artwork!

My favourite from those I browsed through has to be this ‘Harry and the Hendersons’ poster. Peace Man!

Harry and the Hendersons Retro Polish Movie Posters

These posters and many many more can be found over at PolishPosters.com.