For the second time in the history of the brand, former video rental/retail giant Blockbuster Video has become a tabletop game. That's because British board game company Big Potato Games has reached a deal with Dish, the current owner of the Blockbuster brand, to use the logo for a movie trivia game using the Blockbuster brand and iconography. The game, packaged in a box designed to look like an old rental cassette case from Blockbuster Video's heyday, contains sets of trivia cards, a head to head challenge, and a board that is designed to look like a Blockbuster parking lot. Offiically named The Blockbuster Party Game, it is available at Target stores for just under $20.
Per Big Potato Games, "Blockbuster is a movie game for anyone who has seen a movie, and like all the best films it comes in two parts: In the Movie Buzzer Battle, both teams are given a topic, such as 'Movies with dogs.' You start the 15-second timer, yell out a relevant movie, then whack the buzzer to reset the time. The other team is now in the hot seat and has to do the same. Whoever runs out of time hands the advantage to the other team, which takes control of the next round: Triple Charades Jeopardy. In this round, teams have to guess the movie, while you act it, use one word, or quote from it. There is all sorts of strategy and stealing, too."
Back in 2000, Grand Isle Games released The Blockbuster Movie Game. That game involved putting a movie in your DVD player or VCR, pressing play, and watching a minute, then playing a round of recall trivia. There were dice, a pad, and tokens that had to be collected each time you rounded the board. While versatile -- you could do it with any movie, and people are watching in real time so there is no built-in advantage to having seen a bunch of films -- it was also cumbersome, and came at a time when customers were not overly fond of the Blockbuster brand. These days, though, nostalgia is bringing people back to it.
Even before Target was carrying the Blockbuster Party Game, they have been carrying t-shirts bearing the image of a Blockbuster store from the outside and featuring the chain's onetime slogan, "Make it a Blockbuster night." ThinkGeek also has Blockbuster t-shirts. Marvel's Captain Marvel sparked a lot of nostalgic conversation about the video rental industry in general, and Blockbuster in specific, when a Blockbuster store was heavily featured in the first trailer for the movie, which takes place in the '90s. And before all of that, there was a pop-up Blockbuster store in London that stocked only copies of Deadpool 2 -- but it was a digital download code in a Blockbuster rental case, not a real VHS.
A pair of documentary filmmakers, meanwhile, are preparing to release The Last Blockbuster, a documentary film about Bend, Orgeon's sole surviving Blockbuster. While the chain went out of business years ago and Dish no longer offers franchises, existing franchise stores have been allowed to continue under the Blockbuster banner. The Bend store made headlines when it was the final Blockbuster in America, but in the year or so since that happened, the company's foreign stores have shuttered as well, leaving Bend as the sole survivor.
As the value of '90s nostalgia becomes more evident, seeming to take over the role '80s nostalgia has been playing over the last five or so years in pop culture, don't be surprised if Dish starts making more products available that exploit the Blockbuster brand. What...well, that's another question. They already tried streaming video on demand, and that didn't take.
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