Category_Horror -

Shrieks & Creaks: 1980's Board Game Speaks to Horror Fans

Board games have been played in most cultures & societies throughout history; some even pre-date literacy skill development in the earliest civilizations. Ancient Greek & Egyptian cultures utilized game pieces & marbles for entertainment as early as 3000 B.C. Fast forward to the 1980's: some of my earliest childhood memories revolve around board games, and they are enjoyed as much today among families, friends, and co-workers as they were hundreds of years ago. Such games stood the test of time & remained a staple of home entertainment – a simple medium surviving in a complex society driven by constant change & frequent developments in media, science, and technology. The 1980’s was a decade of experimentation – music & entertainment were heavily influenced by the radical 60’s and 70’s, introducing young children like myself to new (and often strange) forms of amusement. Green slime dripped all over everything in the 80’s, thanks to the box office success of Ghostbusters in 1984. After the film’s release, in just about any supermarket you could purchase a plastic bubble case filled with neon-colored slime from a vending machine for only 25 cents, which accounted for hours of enjoyment (and grossing-out my little sister). A year later in 1985 the release of NES (Nintendo Entertainment System, the official console of the 16-bit fourth generation), literally changed the lives of young kids forever. Slasher films dominated theatres in the 80’s and horror was no longer reserved for the big screen – toys & video games with a horror twist went into production & started flying off the shelves. Fads & trends went in & out all too quickly, but one form of entertainment remained strong during a decade of major change – and that is the board game. In 1988, Golden and Western Publishing Company released a unique “roll & move” talking board game called Shrieks & Creaks. The concept was simple: 2-4 players would roll the dice & travel from room to room through a haunted mansion, guided by the chilling voice of one Sir Simon Shriek, who closely resembled Dracula & navigated players via a Talking Tombstone (a small speakerbox that would play a bright-green audio cassette tape). Each player was given a plastic card called a “player key” and when you landed on a black cat, you would insert your player key & room key into the Talking Tombstone. You would then hear either "dead silence" (which meant you could continue on through the house), or Sir Simon would speak to you. He'd usually say something witty like "You've been decapitated – pick up your head and go back to start.”

The 4-fold board was designed extremely well, with creepy art in each room, and the box art was incredible . . .

Set-up was easy – all you had to do was place the room keys in each room, pass out the player keys, plug in the tombstone, put the cassette in a tape deck, and press play. The first person to the exit the house through the Tower wins. The game description on the box read as follows: Meet Sir Simon Shriek, the ghostly host whose voice will haunt you as you play a spine-tingling game set in a haunted house that actually speaks. The fun begins as you move from room to room amid goons, ghouls and goblins. Whenever you land on a black cat, put the special Room & Player Keys into the Amazing Talking Tombstone. Now listen to the sounds of the night blood-chilling screams, howling wolves and the cry of the banshee. Then do as Simon says! Will he send you back to relive past horrors or on to face new dangers? Plot your course with care, reach the Tower first and you will win the game! For a 9-year old boy obsessed with horror & Halloween, this game was the shit. I played it until the tape broke. A little over 20 years later, on my 30th birthday, my parents gave me Shrieks & Creaks as a gift, and it remains one of the most cherished pieces of my 80’s toy collection. Sir Simon Shriek’s voice forever scarred my childhood memories, and for those of you who are not familiar with the game, I uploaded an MP3 of the audio cassette for your listening pleasure. You can also download the audio from the link below. Shrieks & Creaks: Audio Cassette Tape And here’s a video of the TV commercial for the game: Shreiks and Creaks - 1988 TV Commercial - John DeSantis (7.9.11)

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