Berserk Board Game (Milton Bradley, 1983)

Berserk Game

Berserk Game-2

Berserk Game-3

Berserk Game-5

Berserk Game-6

Berserk Game-7

Berserk Game-8

I know pop culture treasure when I see it. Look at that cover art! From the inside of the box: “Go BERSERK and play the exciting shoot-em-up game that’s just as much fun as the arcade game of the same name…”

You “shoot” your opponent by pressing down on the back of the game piece, activating laser-toting arms that swing up to knock over the enemy. (See a close-up detail of the maneuver in the last photo.)

Even though I’d love to play the game now, or at least sit down and analyze it as if I were a paleontologist and it were a well-preserved Velociraptor skeleton, in 1983 it would have been a far distant second to Berserk on a console or in an arcade. Hell, Berserk was already three years old in ’83, so I would much rather have been playing Atari’s Star Wars or, if I could find it, Discs of Tron.

And that’s what’s so curious. Themed tabletop games were meant to extend the experience of the product they referred to (i.e. The Black Hole: Space Alert Game or Star Wars: Escape from Death Star Game), but Stern’s Berserk, like nearly all Golden Age video games, had no real story or environment or universe to extend—the joy was only in playing for as long as possible. Berserk had no franchise, either, unlike Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, or Frogger, all of which had board games (and cartoons, etc.) named after them.

Tabletop games are making a comeback today, thanks in part to a diversifying gaming culture (inspired and celebrated by Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop), and thanks in part to the exhaustion starting to creep into our eyes and brains from staring at screens for so many hours every day.

It’s nice to see and touch a real game board and sit next to people in physical space. It’s nice to talk to the people you’re sitting next to, not just about the game you happen to be playing, but about whatever comes to mind as you all sit there together feeling grateful that you have the friends you have and that you’re able to be together once in a while, even if it’s only for a few hours.

Incidentally, Milton Bradley’s Berserk isn’t even listed on Board Game Geek.

(Images via Etsy and eBay)

7 Responses to “<em>Berserk</em> Board Game (Milton Bradley, 1983)”

  1. 1 gwadzilla July 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I was a big fan of FRENZY… the updated version of BERSERK
    who could deny the call
    “I detect quarter in your pocket”

  2. 2 Kevin April 23, 2015 at 2:22 am

    I have this board game, but it’s missing the instructions! I can’t figure out how to play it!

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