Friends, as I touched upon in the Dragon’s Lair episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast – when that iconic laserdisc arcade game was released it was kind of a huge deal. Thanks to the animation from Don Bluth and associates it not only drew the eye but inhaled tokens by the handful – this is the first arcade title that I can remember that was asking 50 cents to play. I can also tell you that when it showed up at my local Showbiz Pizza, there were lines of Players patiently wait their chance to step up and attempt to help Dirk the Daring brave the dragon’s lair and rescue the fair Princess Daphne. So much so that the manager had to install something I had never seen before – a monitor that rested atop the arcade cabinet itself so that everyone could watch the game being played. Obviously video game magazines of the day ran articles and even strategies to get through the game – but the popularity of Dragon’s Lair also attracted numerous news stations to brave their local arcades and run reports on how the game was doing. Like in this vintage 1983 WLOX segment with Deborah Harris who visits an Aladdin’s Castle arcade to find out what Dragon’s Lair was all about. Just by looking at the image at the top of this article – you can see that the arcade was advertising the game with a giant banner over the entrance!
For what it might be worth, at the arcade – hence the name of the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast – we do indeed have Dragon’s Lair as well as the 1984 follow-up Space Ace. Although I regret to say that due to a power surge the latter isn’t operational at the moment. However Dragon’s Lair is actually still drawing Players to it – not just those of us of a certain age either – I think the continued popularity has something to do with not just the beautiful Don Bluth animation but thanks to it being showcased in the second season of Stranger Things.
What about you though, did you originally play Dragon’s Lair in the arcades or did you experience it on home consoles and computer?