Nightmare (Atmosfear series)

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Nightmare
Designer(s) Brett Clements
Phillip Tanner
Actor(s) Wenanty Nosul as The Gatekeeper (Nightmare)
Publisher(s) J. W. Spear & Sons
Publication date 1991
Genre(s) Horror and terror
Players 2–6
Age range 12+
Setup time 1–2 minutes
Playing time up to 60 minutes
Skill(s) required Dice rolling

Nightmare is a horror video board game released in 1991 by A Couple 'A Cowboys and J. W. Spear & Sons as part of the Atmosfear series.

The game is set in a place known as "The Other Side". This place has six Harbingers, each of whom has authority over a Province. To play the game, each player adopts the persona of one of the Harbingers: Gevaudan the werewolf; Hellin the poltergeist; Khufu the mummy; Baron Samedi the zombie; Anne de Chantraine the witch, and Elizabeth Bathory the vampire. The final character in the game is the Gatekeeper, whose job is to ensure that the other characters do not escape from The Other Side.[1]

Gameplay[edit]

The game requires 3–6 players to attempt to collect keys while trying to beat the clock included on the video cassette. At random intervals, the game stops and The Gatekeeper appears to either taunt, reward, or penalize the players in a variety of ways. Prior to beginning the game, the players are required to write their "greatest fear" on individual slips of paper. The game is won by collecting six special keys before making it to the center of the game board where the player draws a 'fear'. If that player draws someone else's fear, the tape is stopped and that player is declared the winner. If no one is able to accomplish this within 60 minutes, The Gatekeeper is declared the winner.

Characters[edit]

The six Harbingers in the game are: Gevaudan the werewolf; Hellin the poltergeist; Khufu the mummy; Baron Samedi the zombie; Anne de Chantraine the witch; and Elizabeth Bathory, the vampire. Each of the Harbingers is based on either a real person or a myth, except for Hellin.[2] Hellin, "in hell" reversed, is the only Harbinger entirely created by Brett Clements. Hellin is also the only character with limited background information, as Brett wanted players to use their own imagination for this character.[3] Baron Samedi got his name from the voodoo loa of the dead, though the game's creators misattribute him as the ancient Arawak Indian God of the Dead.[4] Anne de Chantraine is based on the first "official" witch who was burned at the stake.[5] Elizabeth Bathory is based on a serial killer who is believed to have murdered and drunk the blood of about six hundred and fifty virgin girls.[6] Khufu is based on an Fourth Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh.[7] Gevaudan is based around a man who was hunted by armies of people for supposedly carrying the sickness of lycanthropy.[8]

The final character in the game is the Gatekeeper (played by Wenanty Nosul), whose job is to make sure the other characters cannot escape from The Other Side to the real world.[1] The Gatekeeper's character is based on the old cemetery gatekeepers, whose job was to guard cemeteries from grave robbers.[9]

Video[edit]

Main article: Video board game

Packaged with the game is a sixty-minute video cassette that explains how to set up and play the game. The video contains footage of The Gatekeeper, a man who often interrupts the game to occasionally punish or reward the players at random. For example, if a player fails to answer him with "Yes, my Gatekeeper", he may banish them to the Black Hole. At the end of the game, if no player has won, the Gatekeeper appears and ends the game, declaring himself the winner.

Development[edit]

Phillip Tanner and Brett Clements met in 1982 - they were reporters for Simon Townsend's Wonder World - and a year later, they both set up their own television production company, A Couple 'A Cowboys.[10] They developed a pilot and took it to Village Roadshow, who within 24 hours signed a marketing and distribution agreement.[11][12] Nightmare was released in September 1991.[13] In Europe, the game was renamed to Atmosfear to avoid legal issues with the name Nightmare, which was already taken.[14] On the game's release, a marketing campaign was launched with advertising appearing on television and in cinemas.[15]

Reception[edit]

The game was popular in Australia, leading to sold out "dance parties" and a number of advertising deals, including one with Pepsi. A song and a music video were also created for the game.[16] Clements and Tanner sold the two millionth board game during the 1993 Christmas period.[17]

Expansions[edit]

Following the success of Nightmare, four game expansions were announced but only three were released. Each expansion comes with a new tape and new time and fate cards, with a different character hosting each new tape. Nightmare II is hosted by Baron Samedi released in 1992. Nightmare III is hosted by Anne de Chantraine released in 1993. Nightmare IV is hosted by Elizabeth Bathory released in 1994.[14] The game's fourth expansion, based around Khufu, was going to be released in 1995, but faced with declining sales of the series, it was cancelled and replaced by The Harbingers.[14][18]

During an interview with Hard Copy in 1992, they discussed the possibility of there being a movie based on the characters. This, too, fell through courtesy of the declining sales.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Gatekeeper Sentinel of The Other Side". Official website for Khufu The Mummy. Australia: A Couple 'A Cowboys. Archived from the original on 13 February 2007. "The Gatekeeper’s duty was to play prison guard to a pack of unearthly creatures ... keeping them securely locked away from the real world." 
  2. ^ Clements, Brett. (Transcript). Email Interview with Well of Fears http://www.marrowproductions.com/wof/index.php?input_selection=005. Retrieved 10 July 2010. "I dreamed up the characters; researched them (most are based on historical characters, with the exception of Hellin)."  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Clements, Brett. (Transcript). Email Interview with Well of Fears http://www.marrowproductions.com/wof/index.php?input_selection=005. Retrieved 10 July 2010. "Question: What is the "full" story on Hellin? Is there anymore to her back-story, or if there is not, would you be willing to add to it? Brett Clements: Hellin is the most evil character I created for Nightmare. Her name, a play on "in hell". I can't imagine what that would be like (hell that is) nor would I like to. And so she remains unfinished; leaving her to your imagination. I think the unknown is scarier than reality."  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (Australia: Bambada Press) (7): 16. "Baron Samedi, the zombie, is named after the ancient Arawak Indian God of the Dead." 
  5. ^ Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (Australia: Bambada Press) (7): 16. "Anne de Chantraine, the witch, is based on a 17 year old French girl who was one of the first 'official' witches ... burned at the stake." 
  6. ^ Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (Australia: Bambada Press) (7): 16. "The Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the vampire, was a Hungarian noblewoman ... who is believed to have murdered and drunk the blood of ... [about] six hundred and fifty virgin girls." 
  7. ^ Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (Australia: Bambada Press) (7): 16. "Khufu, the mummy, is based on an actual Fourth Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh." 
  8. ^ Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (Australia: Bambada Press) (7): 17. "Gevaudan, the werewolf, is based around as actyal Frenchman who was literally hunted by armies of people for supposedly carrying the sickness of lycanthropy." 
  9. ^ Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (Australia: Bambada Press) (7): 16. "The Gatekeeper is entirely the creation of Brett Clements and is based around the cemetery gate-keepers of the 17th or 18th Century, people who literally used to guard the cemeteries from grave robbers and such." 
  10. ^ Nicklin, Lenore (12 April 1994). "Game boys". The Bulletin (Sydney, Australia: Australian Consolidated Press) 116 (5915): 36. ISSN 0007-4039. "In 1983 they set up their own TV production company, calling it 'A Couple 'A Cowboys'" 
  11. ^ Nicklin, Lenore (12 April 1994). "Game boys". The Bulletin (Sydney, Australia: Australian Consolidated Press) 116 (5915): 36. ISSN 0007-4039. "They spent two years playing and testing Nightmare before making a pilot and taking it to Roadshow Entertainment, Australia's biggest distributor of video product ... Roadshow became co-producers and marketed it worldwide" 
  12. ^ McAsey, Jennifer (21 September 1991). "Nightmare makes a dream come true". Sunday Age. "Within 24 hours a marketing and distribution agreement had been signed." 
  13. ^ Beale, Bob (21 February 1994). "Cowboys riding high on back of a game idea". Sydney Morning Herald. "Nightmare was released in September 1991." 
  14. ^ a b c "Horrible History". Official website for Atmosfear DVD. Flying Bark Productions. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  15. ^ McAsey, Jennifer (21 September 1991). "Nightmare makes a dream come true". Sunday Age. "The advertising for Nightmare, which began on television and in cinemas last week" 
  16. ^ Promotional video for Nightmare (VHS videotape). Australia: A Couple 'A Cowboys. 1993. 
  17. ^ Beale, Bob (21 February 1994). "'Cowboys' riding high on back of a game idea". Sydney Morning Herald. "Sometime over the past Christmas period the Cowboys got their 2 millionth paying customer." 
  18. ^ Tanner, Philip (20 March 2001). Email Interview. Interview with Well of Fears. 

External links[edit]