Ah, Blockbuster. I’m old enough to remember those endless shelves of VHS tapes, DVDs, and video games; the shiny fluorescent lighting; and the single-file check-out lines. It was a special experience — one that can only be fully understood by those who lived it. It was the ultimate library for movies and, sadly, we took the whole thing for granted.
These days most Blockbuster video stores cease to exist. According to the New York Times, only two Blockbuster locations remain. Otherwise, the chain has been rendered obsolete by the convenience of Netflix and video streaming.
There’s exciting news for those of us unable to regularly travel to the American Northwest or the land down under, though: There’s now a Blockbuster Party Game, from Big Potato Games! Video store nostalgics, rejoice!
The game comes in a VHS-style case that immediately rendered me dewy-eyed. The folded game mat is also designed like an old VHS tape with all of the classic decals, including the circular, yellow “Be Kind Rewind” sticker. Unfold the mat and find the game-board designed like an asphalt Blockbuster parking lot. (Wah! Why can’t it be the ‘90s again?!)
You do not have to be a so-called video store nostalgia buff to enjoy the game, though. It’s a party game “for anyone who has ever seen a movie.”
The game requires a minimum of four players. The rules are straightforward, and setting everything up should only take one minute max. Players begin by splitting into two teams. Each team then selects a representative for the initial Head-to-Head round. This part of the game is really fun: The team representatives are given a category and must, in rapid-fire style, name a movie related to that category before the 15-second timer elapses. With each answer, the player taps the timer to reset the clock.
The Head-to-Head round is harder than you’d think! One category that my competitor and I struggled with was “Movies That Take Place In Snow.” After naming some obvious titles like Frozen, the Snow Man, and Fargo, we were grasping at straws, trying our hardest to think of movies that had at least one snow scene. Goodfellas has a snow scene, right? There’s some ice in The Wizard of Oz, no? It was challenging, but a lot of fun.
After the winner of the Head-to-Head round is determined, the Movie Round begins. The Head-to-Head champion selects six movie cards from the enclosed deck. That person keeps their favorite three cards and hands off the other three cards to their vanquished opponent. Each movie card has a movie title and a genre-specific title. The players subsequently place their cards on the board, one in each of the three parking spots, and invite in the rest of their teams.
Each parking spot represents a different challenge. The first spot, called “One Word Only,” requires teammates to figure out a movie title using a custom single-word prompt. The second spot, called “Quote It,” asks teammates to guess a movie title by, duh, quoting a line from that movie (if a player has never seen the film, they are allowed to make up a line of dialogue). The third and final spot, called “Act It,” is a charades-style challenge in which teammates must figure out a movie title through silent suggestion. To win a round, teams must complete all three daunting challenges in 30 seconds. If successful, teams collect their cards and put them off to the side. If there’s time left, teams can also attempt to steal their opponents’ cards.
To win the game, players must collect cards from each genre; there are eight in total.
The Blockbuster Party Game is a particularly gratifying challenge for movie fans and anyone who misses ye olde days of video stores, but any movie buff is bound to love it, too.
Photos: Big Potato Games