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Cast 'Resurrection' on Your VCR for 'DragonStrike'

"Imagine you are an elf..."

Engineered as an entry-level game to ease budding RPG’ers into the tabletop role-playing universe, “DragonStrike” lives on primarily as an exhibit of bemusement.

In the late 1980s and 1990s, as video cassette recorders became more popular in the home, game publishers were keen to use the new medium to attract new audiences.

Parker Brothers debuted a “Clue” VCR Game, Milton Bradley adapted childhood staple “Candy Land” for VCRs, and there was even a “VCR Basketball Game.” Not to be left out, dollar stores and other non-bigbox shops sold off-brand VCR games mimicking constantly-spinning slot machines and roulette wheels. Players would simply pause the machine.

Not wanting to be left out, TSR, original publishers of “Dungeons and Dragons,” devised “DragonStrike” in 1993. The game was essentially a simplified version of core D&D rules, based in part on the AD&D computer game of the same name from 1990. Included with the 35-minute tape was a basic set of dice, pre-printed maps and solid-color minifigures on square bases.

The box touted the game's "hyperReality" with the cassette and noted it was part of an "AdventureVision" game series.

It is the tape which has become a favorite among VHS hoarders and found-footage buffs due to the video’s awkward combination of early-era CGI animation and green-screen matting of actors into scenes. Other areas of loving ridicule include stilted acting, character names like “Lord Fear” and “Queen Lust,” and hold-your-head-in-your-hands dialogue such as “Cast a pause video spell on your VCR.”

The tape begins and ends with a mysterious disembodied head addressing some never-seen players as they begin their first quest. The DM crafts a sample story and introduces each player character.

Of the actors listed in the game, arguably the most well-known is the man playing the Warrior in DragonStrike – Deron McBee – who a few years before the game, was known for his role as “Malibu” in the first season of American Gladiators.

Read more about the game, including a comparison to then-niche leader HeroQuest, here.

Copies of the game, complete with the videocassette, have been spotted on eBay, ranging from $50-100.

Check out a supercut version of the game, highlighting all the corny bits, on Everything is Terrible!

An earlier version of this article first appeared on LoreSmyth's blog.

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