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Sunday Age

`Nightmare' makes a dream come true

Author: Jennifer McAsey
Date: 21/09/1991
Words: 593
          Publication: SUNDAY AGE
Page: 4
IT might be called ``Nightmare", but the new video board game is proving a highly successful reality for its Sydney-based creators, A Couple `A Cowboys, and distributor, Roadshow Home Video.

Roadshow says pre-sales of the game have ``broken all Australian records", and retailers are reporting steady sales even though the game has been on the shelves for less than two weeks.

The marketing buzzword for the game is ``inter-active"; Roadshow is pushing the idea that it is the first time the television will talk to you and you have to talk back.

In fact it is the gruesome ``Gatekeeper" who harangues rather than talks to you from the video. The Gatekeeper is the host who controls the game _ he directs the players round the board.

For about $70 you get a 60-minute VHS cassette, a ``Graveyard" board, ``time", ``fate", and ``chance" cards, cardboard keys and six ``tombstone" playing pieces.

Players gather around a board _ similar to Trivial Pursuit _ and choose one of the tombstones. They then switch on the video, and play the game taking instructions from the Gatekeeper, but also using a dice and the cards to move around the board. Players have 60 minutes to get to the centre of the board and beat each other and the Gatekeeper.

The business development manager at Roadshow's offshoot, Video Selection Australia, Mr Greg Carmock, says 100,000 copies of the game have been pre-sold to retailers in Australia. With most new board games the pre-sale figure is about 5000.

``It's the most successful board game ever in Australia in terms of first release," Mr Carmock said.

The creators of the game, Brett Clements and Phillip Tanner, run a production house, and have previously been involved in commercial television. They have developed other board games, including Oz Quiz and Dare.

They came to Roadshow in March with a pilot video tape of ``Nightmare". Within 24 hours a marketing and distrbution agreement had been signed.

The game has now been licensed to the United States and Canadian markets in a ``multi-million dollar deal", according to Roadshow.

Mr Carmock says the licensee, Chieftan Products Inc, was involved with the original launch of the board game, ``Trivial Pursuit", which has sold 56 million copies.

``They love `Nightmare'. The president of Chieftan said it was the best game he had seen. They thought it would pre-sell 10,000 in Canada and already 60,000 have been ordered." Roadshow expects about five million copies of the game will be sold on the North American market next year.

Mr Carmock says the appeal of the game, developed by the creators over a couple of years, is its difference. ``The horror genre is by far the most popular in books and movies, and they wanted to do something in that genre in a board game.

``But they couldn't make the board and cards frightening enough, so they came up with the idea of adding the video to give that effect." The advertising for ``Nightmare", which began on television and in cinemas last week, plays up the ``scary" side of the game, and the video has been rated ``parental guidance recommended" for children under 15.

But Mr Cormack insists ``there is no occult at all" in the game, and a quick viewing reveals that it is very funny, rather than frightening.

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