32 Years Later I Get To Read This Dragon’s Lair Storybook!

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.
Dragon's Lair ad
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!
dragons-lair-return-to-the-lair-toys

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.
  • Dragon's Lair - Lunchbox - PJ Gamers - OVGE

  • 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'm happy to say that I have the Dragon's Lair Sling Darts!

    I’m happy to say that I have the Dragon’s Lair Sling Darts!

  • I think one of the greatest Dragon’s Lair produced pieces of merchandise was Fleer’s exceptional sticker and rub-off game cards.
  • Dragon's Lair Stickers C

  • 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!
dragons-lair-dirk-the-daring
dragons-lair-dirk-versus-the-pit
Naturally after the reader helps Dirk navigate the traps left behind by the Lizard King…
dragons-lair-dirk-escapes-the-fire
dragons-lair-the-lizard-king-ha-ha-puzzle
..they must attempt to vanquish the evil ruler.
dragons-lair-dirk-versus-the-lizard-king
dragons-lair-the-lizard-king-puzzle
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.
dragons-lair-the-answer-pages
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!

Video/VCR Test #2 – “The Land Before Time”

Previously, in an Allison Venezio-penned article:

Video/VCR Test – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie

So I logged onto my You Tube Channel, and was greeted by notifications. Now, for me, on a normal day, notifications on my You Tube Channel are usually someone +1’d a comment I made, a comment someone else made on a video I commented on, a comment someone else made within a conversation I also made a comment for, and in more rare cases, someone subscribed to me. I’m well aware that critics are around, especially among nitpickers on You Tube, so I’m always prepared for that. And spam comments. I’m always on the lookout for that. I remember having to put something about spammers on my old You Tube Channel.

But today, it was a comment, and an interesting one. It was from someone who also owed a 1990 print of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, and how he had a different type of edit that ended the Pizza Hut commercial on his video. This type of error is always intriguing, and he said he thinks it was a mistake made on the production end when the VHS was made. I guess no two copies are alike, wouldn’t you say?

When I was in my basement a two weeks ago, doing the laundry (I promise, that’s really what I was doing), one of the other tapes I grabbed from the shelf was my 1989 print of The Land Before Time. Not one of those sequels, but the original film. This was another one of those “Mommy and Daddy Take the Kids to the Movies” things, except instead of turtles with mad ninja fighting skills, it was about little dinosaurs trying to reunite with their families in the face of tragedy. Ever want to upset my entire family into silence? Watch Littlefoot’s mom die. Boom. Quiet.

That actually happened – we were watching the movie for the second time (when we got it as a birthday present for our seventh birthday in 1989), and the death of Littlefoot’s mother put the hush-hush over our living room.

And if this was a spoiler to you…where have you been since 1988? We ’80s babies all know this was that other tragic animated death, the other being the death of Optimus Prime.

Wait…you didn’t know that either? Where have you been since 1986?!

I’m not sure what it is with Don Bluth movies, but apparently he likes children (even the anthropomorphic animal kind) to suffer some kind of harsh tragedy – remember how Fivel got separated from his family in An American Tale? How about all the tragedy that happened in The Secret of NIMH? The only thing that wasn’t tragic about that film was the fact that it was so well-done, and beautifully animated despite the story and dark nature of the film. Littlefoot’s mother dying wasn’t the first tragedy to befall a Don Bluth-animated anthropomorphic animal child.

This is slowly turning into a mucho depressing piece. And we’re also getting sidetracked – let’s get to the real reason you are here, which is not to read about all the times we were emotionally scarred by Don Bluth movies and Optimus Prime dying.

Let’s shift away from all of this, and look at something we all seem to love around here – old VHS tapes!

Yes, this is much better!

The video itself is one of the original prints, and much like my copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, Pizza Hut ran a promotional campaign around the movie. Now, unlike that video, the Pizza Hut commercial on this one actually has tie-ins from this movie in the commercial.

That commercial was featured over on my blog as Throwback Thursday’s commercial pick for last week, and involves a birthday party and the practicing of good etiquette. But since this is Pizza Hut, we only have to proclaim that we used good manners, ‘cuz we’re gonna party!

Screenshot (193)

And don’t forget, “Share, share, use your silverware!”

Trust me, you read my articles for the educational value they provide!

The video reminds us to stay tuned after the feature for more previews. Which is proof that MCA Home Video was the Marvel of its time!

Then we see this…

Screenshot (194)

For a Universal-based home video label, the logo is pretty low budget…but starry! Which makes it somewhat pretty.

And if you followed the instructions and watched after the film, you were reminded of what we paid for a VHS tape back in 1989:

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I never complain about the cost of boxed sets on Blu-Ray when I know what my parents paid for me to have movies in the late 1980s-early 1990s.

So, it’s a video you want to see, is it?

Then press play, and relive 1980s home video glory!

Don’t ever complain about how much anything costs again – you saw

Allison’s videocassette collection isn’t a thing of beauty, but it sure is nostalgic. If you like what you’ve seen here, you can also find more like this on her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and she’s on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

She did not have An American Tale on VHS.

Diary Of An Arcade Employee Podcast – Episode 010 (Dragon’s Lair)

Welcome friends to the tenth episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast! Each show I will not only discuss a particular classic arcade game but share some behind the scenes information of what it’s like to at a retro arcade. On this show I discuss Cinematronic’s 1983 smash hit “Dragon’s Lair”!

If you have any suggestions for future games to cover or comments on the show itself you may email them to me at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also contact me on Twitter and of course on Facebook. You can also keep up to date on what is going down at the Arkadia Retrocade by making sure to “Like” their Facebook Page.

Our new ending theme entitled “River Raid” was graciously provided by the talented Tony Longworth, you can visit his official site by clicking that link or hopping over to his Soundcloud page!

If you would like to take a look at part of the Dragon’s Lair scrapbook from my youth, just click here.

Subscribe to the Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3)

Directly download the Saturday Frights Podcast:
Episode Mirror #1(MP3)
Episode Mirror #2(OGG)

Space Ace Super Nintendo Commercial (1993)

Space Ace - SNES
Having survived the ordeal of playing the Dragon’s Lair port on the NES and even attempting to play the SNES version…you might understand why I was a bit gun shy when it came to the Space Ace SNES port. I’m in the minority here with this statement but I kind of liked it. I thought it was incredibly hard mind you…but I thought we were getting a step closer to the real deal.

[Via] dalbsterlcfc

Though look at the leering grin that Ace is giving Borf in that commercial…that’s some pretty scary stuff!