Exploring Candy Land: The VCR Board Game

Chutes and Ladders wasn’t the only classic Milton Bradley game to get a 1980s-modern makeover. In 1986, they took the classic game of finding King Kandy, gave it a videocassette, and made it into a new version. That game, you ask? Why, the Candy Land VCR Board Game!

Wait, doesn’t a VCR Board Game sound like something I’ve already covered?

Previously, on Retroist…

Climb the tallest ladders, descend the most twisted chutes, and identify sounds and numbers while listening to four fun stories.

Sounds familiar, right?

Last time on Retroist, I looked at 1986’s twist on the classic concept of Chutes and Ladders, complete with a videocassette. Not content to rest on the laurels of creating such a fun and innovative twist, Milton Bradley created a counterpart-type game for another childhood favorite, Candy Land!

They called it…Candy Land VCR Board Game!

Because, you know, creativity!

Candy Land VCR Board Game

Welcome to Candy Land! Meet the Candy Land Kids!

Aren’t they cute?

They don’t have names, so just refer to them as Candy Girl and Candy Boy. That always works!

Among somewhat familiar-sounding voices throughout, I’m convinced the girl is the same voice as the Cricket talking doll.

Like Chutes and Ladders before it (or at the same time, rather) Candy Land had separate games that relied on players knowing a certain aspect (numbers and sounds) of the game. A card was removed from the board each time a certain sound or number was revealed in one of four different stories.

In Candy Land, players remove cards based on colors and pictures.

Are you ready?

Let’s venture into Candy Land!

Game 1: Who’s Been Eating My House?

This game relies on players removing cards from the board based on colors mentioned during the game (yellow sun, blue sky, purple plum, and green gum drop, among others). Players help the Candy Kids (and Grandma Nutt) find out who has been consuming pieces of Nutt’s house.

Also in this game?  Overuse of “royal,” music that sounds vaguely like the Muppet Babies scene music, and voices you’ve probably heard in other cartoons.

Oh, and “illegal munching of property that doesn’t belong to you.” Thank goodness a crime like that only exists in Candy Land.

Game 2: Lonely Old King Kandy!

“Lonely Old King Kandy!” relies on picture cues. Players place all picture cards face-up on the board, and remove them when prompted by the tone and the picture card.

In this story, King Kandy is lonely, and upon looking at his calendar, realizes it is his birthday (how did he forget this?!). King Kandy composes a royal decree using a plucked feather from his messenger’s cap to summon the people of Candy Land with the promise of a reward should someone be able to cheer him up.

You know, whatever it takes to win over friends!

Game 3: Lord Licorice’s Surprise!

“Lord Licorice’s Surprise” relies on color cues, with the same gameplay seen in “Who’s Been Eating My House.”

In this game, Plumpy and Jolly venture off with licorice for Queen Frosteen. It’s an adventure fraught with sinking in mud, rain, and the Orange Soda Sea.

I kid you not. It all sounds like a hallucinogenic nightmare!

And if that’s not bad enough, Lord Licorice has a nefarious reason for sending off Plumpy and Jolly with his licorice.

Well, as nefarious as Candy Land knows how. (Refer back to Game 1 to see what Lord Licorice did there!)

Game 4: Don’t Say “Fluffypuffer!”

What, you’ve never heard such a ridiculous word?

The final game relies on picture cues. In this story, Mr. Mint spots a visitor floating in on balloons. The visitor’s name is “Fluffypuffer,” and he sounds like Mickey Mouse. I’m not making this up.

Why should one not say “Fluffypuffer,” you ask? If you’ve seen Gremlins, it makes perfect sense.

Transitions

Between games, players are given an opportunity to set up the board for the next game via transitions. In Candy Land, the transition after game one is Grandma Nutt playing with a Jack-in-the-Box (which made me jump!). After game two, Mr. Mint lighting a giant Roman Candle (which became tradition after the events of “Lonely Old King Kandy!”). At the conclusion of game three, the Candy Clock is set to count down to the final game.

Availability

The Candy Kids are also shameless promoters for their friends’ game.

Milton Bradley (via then-new owner, Hasbro) released the game in 1986, the first revamp since the 1984 and 1985 versions, and the last until 1998. A 2005 feature film, Candy Land: The Great Lollipop Adventure, gave way to a mid-2000s twist on the video format version, this time with a DVD!

I did not own this version, or any other version of Candy Land. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever played it either.

Until now.

Well, played in the sense. I don’t actually own a copy of the VCR game, so I’m “playing” by watching the video.

Would you like to play?

Let’s Watch/”Play” The Candy Land VCR Game!

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My Take

The animation style of Candy Land VCR Board Game is more colorful (and not as limited in its animation style) than Chutes and Ladders, but the quality is on par with its VCR Board Game counterpart. The voices are equally colorful, and I think the Candy Kid Girl sounds an awful lot like talking doll Cricket.

Then again, I did spot “Mickey Mouse” among the Candy Land regulars.

His name here is “He Who Shall Not Be Named,” which sounds like a threat by the Walt Disney Company for using their character’s name is any article.

As VCR Board Games go, especially in the spirit of the Chutes and Ladders game, this game is a different twist on the classic concept. Since I’ve never played either classic version (I owned Chutes and Ladders VCR Board Game, but not Candy Land VCR Board Game), I only have what I’ve seen here to go on. And call me crazy, but I think I would have enjoyed this better than the classic version. I know I liked the Chutes and Ladders game, and that still was appealing based on watching the video.

In a world of VCR Board Games, I’m glad there were games like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, which really worked well for younger kids being able to play independently. I know that no player wins or loses, but still, this is a creative way to play.

Be sure to check out YouTube user VCR Board Games to see their amazing collection!

So as we leave behind Candy Land and the Candy Kids, see you next time!

Exploring Chutes and Ladders: The VCR Board Game

Folks, I’ve gone and done it! I located a board game I knew existed, mentioned, but could not find proof of…until a few days ago. Prepare thyself, we’re tackling the longest chutes and highest ladders of Chutes and Ladders VCR Board Game!

Previously, on Retroist…

Like everything else nostalgic that I cram into the deepest recesses of my brain, I never forgot the video and its animation. So imagine my surprise when, after thirty years, I found a short clip on YouTube after mentioning this game briefly in a past Retroist article. Alas, I didn’t find the full video until recently.

Chutes and Ladders VCR Board Game!

Milton Bradley released the Chutes and Ladders VCR Board Game in 1986. It wasn’t their first VCR-adapted board game, and it wouldn’t be their last. The VCR-based games (at least, this one and its Candy Land counterpart) were unique in that no reading was necessary, children didn’t have to push buttons on the VCR, and the video gave all the instructions one needed. Plus, it had the added bonus of turning gameplay into a fun story.

Chutes and Ladders contained four games/stories (two that relied on sounds, and two more that relied on numbers), each increasing in skill level. I actually played the Chutes and Ladders VCR Board Game, as it was the version I owned. I believe it was a birthday present for my fourth birthday. I’m not sure how long we kept it, but like any good nostalgic toy that wasn’t deemed such, it disappeared sometime during my childhood. I’m convinced it either met the trash can or a yard sale.

Either scenario is depressing, friends.

Chutes and Ladders VCR Board Game: The Details

Meet Reggie and Bobby.

Everything is a competition in their world, and they turn this allegedly healthy competition into the basis of the first of four different “story games.”

What are those games, you ask (including theirs?)

Thrills and Chills

A game of numbers. Players put the number cards on the board, number side up. When players hear the audio prompt (a whimsical chime), they are to remove a number card from the game board.

In this story, Bobby and Reggie compete at everything (scariest ride, how much junk food they can eat), as their female friends Joanie and Sally Ann watch on.

The Golden Cuckoo

A game of sounds. Players put the picture cards on the board, picture side up. Upon hearing a sound effect prompt, they are to remove the corresponding card from the game board.

Bobby and his sister, Pam (who looks suspiciously like the one girl from the previous story), are baby-sitting their brother, Baby Todd. They discover stairs beyond their front door, and explore the amazing, psychedelic world beyond that door. It’s a world chock full of strangeness – a rooster, balloons, a horse, and a train.

Ricky and Nikki vs. The Space Dragons

Another game of numbers. This one involves Bobby and Reggie’s friends, siblings Ricky and Nikki.

On a snowy day, Ricky and Nikki draw pictures with their crayons. Amidst all this, a spaceship lands in their yard (where’s the snow??), and  takes them to the stars, to a planet where they will help the aliens.

The Case of the Lost Choo-Choo

Another sound game. Sherwood and Dottie (two more of Reggie and Bobby’s friends), as “Sherwood Holmes” and “Dottie Watson” (wink wink, nudge nudge) are on the case of a lost choo-choo, but encounter many other sounds along the way.

Sherwood sounds like he’s channeling his inner Inspector Gadget/Maxwell Smart voice (one in the same, since Don Adams played both characters). They explore a farm, a carnival, store, street, car, and railroad crossing in search of the train. Will they find it? How many sounds can possibly heard at one time?

Since the purpose of this game was not giving kids an opportunity to operate the VCR other than start (and obviously stop) the video, Chutes and Ladders VCR Board Game gave players ample time to setup the board via transition segments.

These segments involved eating ice cream cones the fastest, a cuckoo clock that will signal the start of the next game once the bird pops out, and a spinning robot.

This was the clip that helped me rediscover the game in the first place!

So now that you know the game exists, and understand its gameplay, how about we actually watch it in action?

Let’s Play the Chutes and Ladders VCR Board Game!

Well, not really play, but we can watch the video…can’t we?

Work with me, folks. I don’t own the game anymore!

Upload via VCR Board Games

And If You Liked Chutes and Ladders…

You’ll love Candy Land: The VCR Game!

No lie, the conclusion of this video is an advertisement. They literally pad out the thirty-minute run time with a quick ad for Milton Bradley’s other classic childhood game given the 1980s upgrade!

Oh, and did anyone else notice during the first game that Reggie’s skin color changed, like the artists couldn’t agree on his ethnicity?

Availability

Chutes and Ladders VCR Board Game came onto the market in 1986 (the original version had been around since 1943), but very little information exists on this version of the game. I’d say it was available at least through the mid-late 1980s. As I said, I received it in 1986 as a birthday present. I’m not sure how much play-ability we got out of it, but with four different segments, one could easily fill forty-five minutes between setting up, actual game play/resetting the board, and cleanup. Not a bad distraction for the kids, right?

The cool aspect of this game is not needing to read instructions, and only needing to hit play. However, after watching the video, I’m not entirely convinced that kids wouldn’t need to hit pause while resetting the game board. That’s the only part of this that bothers me. I’m thirty-five years old and of reasonable intelligence. And I don’t think the transition scenes give enough time to put all the cards back on the board. Another thing about the board – the chutes and ladders side.  Does that seem superfluous to you? This isn’t traditional Chutes and Ladders, you’re removing cards based on numbers and sounds. Why do you need a “Chutes and Ladders” side…unless this is two versions in one? Because based on what I’ve gathered from the video, this version of Chutes and Ladders is nothing like the original game.

Nevertheless, the video is thoroughly entertaining. If someone handed this version to me and told me to have fun (again, I’m thirty-five years old), I would enjoy it. I don’t recall having the original version, just this one. And I’m glad I only had this one, I’m betting I had a blast with it!

But Wait, There’s More!

Chutes and Ladders wasn’t the only Milton Bradley game to get the traditional board game to 1980s VCR Game treatment. Candy Land also got the distinction. And guess what? I found that video too!

Didn’t think you were getting off that easy, did you?

Until next time, farewell from the land of tallest ladders and twisting, turning slides…until our next adventure!

Read Along With Rainbow Brite!

Rainbow Brite opened up her world not only through cartoons, but also through reading along with Rainbow Brite Read Along books and records/cassettes!

Read Along With Licensed Characters!

Growing up, I loved reading. Even before I read, I would flip through books. My Teddy Ruxpin books were a valuable way to learn sight words.

So was the newspaper, since I knew what the Macy’s logo looked like at two years old, but I digress.

The instructions at the beginning of the tapes gave the prompts to turn the page, which was indicated by a cute chime or noise. So while I couldn’t always read the words, I always knew where Teddy Ruxpin was in his story. I also had a Cricket doll book-and-tape set Around the World with Cricket. This read along book-and-tape set even had an animated counterpart that I covered as part of my blog’s 1000th post.

Upload via Allison Venezio / Allison’s Written Words

Listening to me sing 1-2-3 in Chinese is hilarious, trust me!

That’s the face of someone who had the song subconsciously buried in their head since 1987 and recently rediscovered it.

Records and tapes featuring licensed characters were great merchandising tie-ins during our 80s childhood. Whether the licensed character spoke via an oversized animatronic doll with built-in tape deck, or your everyday cassette tape deck or record player, licensed characters gave us plenty to listen to. And once we could read, we really put those books to use!

Which brings me to actally reading…

The Joy of Reading…And Listening!

My brother, the reluctant reader, had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle book-and-tape sets once he was reading. I remember him listening to the tapes on his tape deck…without headphones. I never minded that, as I was into the Turtles too! Before we read, we had Teddy Ruxpin books and tapes, as well as a record player that played film strips that had accompanying records and books.

That product, by the way, was the Show-and-Tell, which was manufactured in the 1980s by Child Guidance (formerly by General Electric in the 1960s).

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The Show-and-Tell, I should add, is another article for another time!

As for myself, I never had any read along sets for myself, aside from the one Cricket book and tape set. But if I knew Rainbrow Brite read along sets existed, I would have wanted all the sets!

Read Along…With Rainbow Brite Read Along!

(Image source: My Comic Shop.com)

Western Publishing (Little Golden Books) published Rainbow Brite read along books and audio in 1984. From what I’ve gathered via research, Rainbow Brite had eight audio adventures:

  • Rainbow Brite and the Big Color Mix Up
  • Happy Birthday Buddy Blue
  • …and the Brook Meadow Deer
  • …Saves Spring
  • …and the Color Kids
  • Happy Birthday Twink
  • Rainbow Brite Saves the Day
  • Rainbow Brite and the Blue Lake

About Rainbow Brite saving the day…doesn’t she do that all the time? Was the creativity well dried out when the story needed a title?

Rainbow Brite also had something else equally interesting…See and Read VIDEOS!

Rainbow Brite Read Along…Meet SEE AND READ!

The See and Read videos were released in 1986 by KidStuff/KidVids in 1985.

These stories were actual video adventures, but in storybook format. Four stories were made.

  • The Risky Rescue
  • The Sprite Emergency
  • Gloom Over Rainbow Land
  • Twink’s Surprise

As an avid reader, and like I said, one who learned sight words from the Teddy Ruxpin books, I can imagine these videos provided valuable ability to teach sight words. As someone who benefits from visuals and seeing information, I would have loved these videos!

Perhaps a future article/let’s watch for this new discovery?

I do only have on Action Max video left…

Anyway, how about the real reason you came here?

YouTube Videos!

Rainbow Brite Read Along: The Complete Collection!

Compiled (and uploaded) by a trusted Rainbow Brite source, RainbowBriteCo, this is a great YouTube Channel for all things RainbowBrite…including these books AND See and Read!

Enjoy!

Upload via RainbowBriteCo

I think we’ll be revisiting Rainbow Land soon, don’t you think?

 

Allison’s “Saturday Night Live” (Starmaker VHS) Collection!

You’ve seen my VHS/VCR Tests, but you have yet to see a rare jewel of my VHS collection – my Starmaker Entertainment prints of The Best of Saturday Night Live!

But First, a little background on Starmaker Entertainment!

Starmaker Entertainment

Type “Starmaker Entertainment” into a Wikipedia search, and you’ll redirect to Anchor Bay Entertainment. If you think that sounds incorrect, it isn’t. Anchor Bay Entertainment is the successor to Starmaker Entertainment. In fact, Anchor Bay traces its origins back to both Starmaker (founded in 1988) and Video Treasures (founded in 1985). Both companies reissued previously-released home video releases at budget prices.

Because Vestron was a ripoff, folks.

Better be a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, because $29.95 for a video your kids will basically run into the ground after repeated viewings is not “a low price.”

Starmaker Entertainment’s major distributions included (recently defunct) New World Pictures releases, programs licensed to their video division, Viacom programmings, and the aforementioned Saturday Night Live home video collection.

In 1995, the competing Video Treasures and Starmaker Entertainment were sold to the Handleman Company, beginning new life as Anchor Bay Entertainment in May 1995.

How I Got Into Collecting These Videos

I was in Suncoast Video at the mall in the spring of 1997 (I remember this because I was in eighth grade), and spotted a bunch of Saturday Night Live videocassettes on the shelf, all in brightly colored boxes.

Some had titles, others were for specific years. I began getting into reruns of the show the previous summer, when they aired on Comedy Central. The video that jumped out at me specifically was one that said 15th Anniversary Special. I figured out that would have been 1989. Intrigued, and with more than the cost of $4.99 (yes, $4.99) in my wallet, I was sold.

I was sold as long as Suncoast Video carried the videos, which was until 1999.

By that point, I amassed a respectable collection of these videos. I’d be remiss if I didn’t open up my archives to show you my collection!

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Of course, I’d also be remiss if I didn’t include a VHS/VCR test!

Starmaker Entertainment Saturday Night Live Home Video Sampler

Uploaded to WordPress via Allison’s Written Words

I always think I miss videocassettes until I see the degraded quality. Or worse, the videocassette acts up while making a sampler. Either way, they were an important part of my VHS collection/teenage viewing.

Proof that I liked nostalgia long before I was old enough, or before it was cool to like nostalgia.