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

Bantha Tracks-Sprocket Systems: Distinctive by Design

Back in the 80s, the official Star Wars fan club sent out a quarterly newsletter called Bantha Tracks. This one was unique in the sense that it was a playable record. (Yes, a paper-thin record located inside the magazine.) Sprocket Systems was the Lucasfilm sound department, headed by the famous Ben Burtt, and what we now know as Skywalker Sound. The name was officially changed when their office of operations moved from San Anselmo, Ca. to Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, Ca. in 1987.

This 34th issue is known as the special Soundsheet Edition, and is a very rare and unique look into the sound design dept. of Lucasfilm at the time. This was released in the Autumn of 1986, during a time when Star Wars had already (essentially) fallen off the map. The Kenner toys had since been discontinued, as with the Droids and Ewoks cartoon TV series, and even the Marvel comic run. There were no immediate plans for another film, and the interest of the general public had waned. Star Wars had entered what I like to call its “Dark Times”, where the only time you’d really hear mention of it (outside of geek circles) was in reference to the home video releases. So it’s probably safe to assume that the official fan club didn’t have as many members on their mailing list by the time this was released. However, this issue wasn’t JUST about Star Wars. This company had already worked on MANY other films, and has since achieved iconic status within the film industry. This was the only issue to feature such a clever gimmick, but maybe they had plans to releases more soundsheets had the interest been there. Who knows, but this is a really fun look back at what was going on at post-Star Wars Lucasfilm in 1986.

I uploaded this directly from the issue from my personal collection, and it is complete with all those wonderful “pops” and “clicks” that only those of us old enough to remember records can appreciate. (Oh, the irony of a record album about sound design that doesn’t have “perfect” sound quality!) I also took the liberty of uploading scans of the actual magazine pages so you can read about it while listening. (Albeit much more condensed than the usual Bantha Tracks issue.) Now, grab yourself a glass of blue milk, sit back and enjoy this 6 minutes of nostalgic bliss.

Worth noting is the fact that this was the second to last issue of Bantha Tracks. The Fan Club later reappeared in magazine form as the Lucasfilm Fan Club in the Autumn of 1987. If you already didn’t feel old yet, here’s a link to a scanned, downloadable version of that first issue.
Bantha Tracks

Oh…and since i’m sharing links to scanned, vintage magazine issues, here’s one that features EVERY issue of Bantha Tracks for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome!

Alien Terror

Take A Look At The 1979 “Alien Terror” Movie Viewer!

I think it is more than fair to say that Kenner went all in with Alien in 1979. For example last month I shared the stunning revelation they had produced a board game based on the film. While Ridley Scott’s sci-/horror movie is a masterpiece it was an R rated feature as well. So you might be able to picture my confusion when I learned Kenner had in addition released the “Alien Terror” movie viewer.

In this case “Alien Terror” is an abridged version of the 1979 movie. In fact it is so short that in all honesty if you hadn’t seen the movie it wouldn’t make any sense. Of course there is only so much that Kenner could share from Alien with kids, right?
Alien Terror

By all means, try to convince me this movie cartridge didn’t cause a few nightmares in 1979.

[Via] Mazinz2

With this in mind – try to remember that Kenner had certainly found success with their line of movie viewers. Beginning in 1975 when they released film catridges and viewers for Snoopy, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Bionic Woman.

Especially successful for Kenner was the Star Wars movie viewer and cartridges set in 1977. On the other hand there were only four film cartridges produced for that series, plus a fifth that was included with the set.

Many fans have wondered why Kenner didn’t continue with the line. Because of this mystery some people feel that perhaps 20th Century Fox stepped in and asked Kenner to cease production. For fear of cutting into the profits of repeat viewings in the theater.

Now that we’ve taken a look at 1979’s “Alien Terror” why not check out Snoopy Meets the Red Baron?


This film cartridge comes from the Fisher Price Movie Viewer line. It did better than Kenner, lasting until the middle of the 1980s. Thanks to the many licensing agreements with the likes of Walt Disney, Marvel, Hasbro and many more.

[Via] Snoopsbme

Alien - Board Game

Did You Play 1979’s Alien Board Game?

When it comes to merchandise for 1979’s masterpiece Alien. I feel the epitome of surprise comes from the fact that Kenner released an action figure. While Star Wars showed that kids loved science fiction toys – Alien was a horror film set in space. To say nothing that it was rated R, so it was kind of crazy that Kenner made an 18-inch figure in the first place.

[Via] Hitmon Tom

That is kind of a well known product. I certainly recall a bit of outrage from parent groups. As well as Siskel and Ebert showing off the figure – they too were dismayed and a little upset that Kenner made them. Of course now days those figures are highly sought after and demand a pretty penny from collectors.

As I’ve already said – I knew about the 18-inch action figure. What I didn’t know was just how far Kenner went with the marketing of the film. Releasing an Alien board game designed for children ages 7 and up?!
Alien - Board Game Objective

Players pick their favorite color, collecting three astronauts and one Xenomorph matching their color.

The Player of course is trying to lead their astronauts to the Nostromo’s escape shuttle – the Narcissus. Which is located in the center of the game board.

Fun fact. In the late great Dan O’Bannon’s original screenplay, the shuttle went by an entirely different name. It was simply called the Snark 2. The shuttle being christened Narcissus was thanks to the rewrite by David Giler and Walter Hill. Make sure to check out the really nicely painted images – scenes from Ridley Scott’s masterpiece.

Naturally a Player attempts to guide their Alien towards the opposing Player’s astronauts. Hunting them down one by one – obviously a Xenomorph can’t harm an astronaut of the same color. Thankfully there are some safe spots located on the board where one can hide from the intergalactic menace. Bear in mind the opposing Players are attempting the very same action.

Now that you’ve seen a bit of the Alien board game – why not check out this review by Think Bolt?


In addition you will get a close-up view of some of the fantastic artwork on the game board. Moreover I should add this looks in fact to be a pristine version of the game!

Spirotot, a Spirograph for Tots

Almost everyone has heard of the Spirograph, but few people remember the Spirotot, a simpler version designed for toddlers to use.

Unlike the original Spirograph that contained a dozen or so small plastic discs for children (and adults) to choose from, the Spirotot rolled everything into two or three discs. The base of the Spirotot snaps into place and keeps the paper from shifting around. I personally never thought that the original Spirograph was too difficult for children to use, but if you do, then the Spirotot is for you.

I recently found this Spirotot in a thrift store for almost nothing, and when I got it home I discovered why: the Spirotot discs are missing. Shortly after this picture was taken the whole thing went into the Spirotrash.