Let’s Play Arcade Mania the Board Game!


I can only imagine what must have been going on at companies like Milton Bradley during the video game craze. How can we compete with these blasted video games! Well for many companies, the strategy was often as simple as jump on the bandwagon. Milton Bradley did something clever in 1983 by making a board game where you needed to play video games to win. The name of the game was Arcade Mania.

The game featured an electronic unit that you passed around and on which simple games were played. The idea was that you would get the strategic elements of playing a board game and combine that with the novelty of electronic gaming. It was a pretty cool hybrid, but it ran into a snag when the two generations of my house tried to play it. We could all play the board game part, but the electronic game was not exactly popular with the older set and so the game was only pulled out when the kids wanted to game. So the games claim of reuniting a split house was slightly exaggerated, but at least MB was trying something novel.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Dex (@Dex1138)

    But what they really did was make quite a few attempts at translating video games into board games: Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Berzerk, Frogger, Zaxxon are the ones I remember off hand.

  2. Atari Adventure Square

    Arcade Mania (the board game) made its way into our house when it came out, but could not compete with the actual home arcade goodness of Atari 2600, nor with with beloved classic board games.
    The thing about playing board games is that, even with the best marathon, knuckle-cracking attitude about getting into it, only a few hours can be spared at most for tabletop playtime.
    That’s as true today than it was back then.

    Arcade Mania was so-so at best, but the idea of stopping everything to watch someone fiddle with a poor Merlin knockoff while you waited your turn was not conducive for repeated gameplay.

    And when you have to make time for bike riding, video gaming at home then at an arcade, shooting the breeze about favorite TV shows, playing live-action games with laser guns and backyards and such…

    …yeah, this one stayed in its box for a while.

    Stop Thief got much more action with family and friends as a combination handheld/board game option.

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