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Legendary Item: DragonStrike

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.

Image: taylorclarke93

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 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. It came packaged with several pre-printed maps, tokens representing heroes and foes, and a 35-minute long tutorial videotape.

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.

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

Image: The Lost and the Damned

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.

Between 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,” it’s not wonder the video has been poked fun of by the likes of Everything is Terrible!

But, because of its earnest attempt to bring D&D to a wider audience, we deem DragonStrike a Legendary Item. Copies have been known to be sold on ebay for between $50-$100 depending on condition.

Chris van der Linden

Founder, Creative Director

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