Remember The CLUE VCR Mystery Game? Check Out The Documentary Detailing its Entire Making-Of and History! [WATCH]
By Josh Schafer
Rewind-inclined regulars in Lunchmeat Land may remember when we explored the strange and innovative world of VCR board gaming all the way back in LUNCHMEAT #6 (time flies, eh, Tapeheads?). But for those who missed out on that video venture, here’s a quick rewind refresh.
The VCR gaming world is notorious for being clunky, convoluted, and mostly unplayable, but even so, there were a slew of VCR gaming platforms that were released from the mid-80s to the early to mid 90s. Though it was a relatively brief VHSpan of time, eager VCR-loving consumers were offered everything from VCR gaming based on popular films and TV shows (Robocop, The Honeymooners), to genre trope favorites (Nightmare aka Atmosfear, Doorways to Horror) and even an (un)healthy amount of sports games, including VCR Football, VCR Baseball, VCR Horse Racing (?!), and even an off-the-top-rope VCR Wrestlemania game.
And let’s not forget our personal party time, excellent favorite: the Wayne’s World VCR Board Game!
Of course, Disney got in on the latest tape trend, too, with Disney Presents Movie Classics VCR Board Game and a more compact Gargoyles game (which came with the pilot), the latter pictured below with a smaller size murder mystery game from Spinnaker, which has some amazing cover art.
And there are plenty more, Tapeheads. Last time we checked, we’ve found over 100 different VCR games made available to the public. Here are some bonus mention titles, just because we can’t resist: America’s Funniest Home Videos VCR Game, Party Mania, Star Trek TNG Interactive VCR Board Game, Star Wars: The Interactive Video Board Game and one more we just couldn’t publish this article without mentioning: Rap Rat The Video Board Game. That’s a real thing, and it’s just as ridiculous as you think it is.
But this whole short-lived yet impressively prolific craze started with the innovation of Parker Brothers in 1985, with the release Rich Little’s Charades VCR game and the CLUE VCR Mystery game. The latter proved to be wildly successful, spawning a sequel game CLUE II: Murder in Disguise, and an avalanche of other VCR board game attempts from various companies.
And now, the history of that trailblazing foray into VCR gaming from Parker Brothers has been uncovered.
Originally released in 2013, but recently brought to our attention by fellow video era historian Dan Kinem (VHShitFest, Adjust Your Tracking), Who Did It? The Story Behind The Clue VCR Game from directors Frank Durant and Tim Labonte illuminates the development, production, and talents behind the creation of this initial videocassette gaming system. In addition to detailing the process behind creating the first-ever VCR board game, it also has a heartwarming aspect to it, as Parker Brothers decided to use local New England talent for the production, showing some impressive integrity, and creating memories for all involved that would last a lifetime. It’s fantastic stuff.
There’s also the element that NO ONE involved could figure out how to play the game. As we mentioned, VCR board games were notoriously clunky and at times nearly impossible to play, and with the CLUE VCR Mystery Game being the first of its kind, it’s no VHSurprise that this one exemplifies that notion.
Ultimately, this doc is an incredibly cool and informative view into a piece of home video history that would have otherwise fell squarely into oblivion.
To the terrific team that created Who Did It? The Story Behing The Clue VCR Game, we here at Lunchmeat VHSalute you!
Groove and Groove and THE FUTURE IS NOW.