The commercials have become inescapable: BATTLESHIP is now a major motion picture. Arriving in theaters this Friday, May 18th – I have no desire to see it. As a director, PETER BERG is responsible for a bunch of movies that I don’t care for, and unless it’s revealed to be some surprisingly excellent movie that just can’t be missed, I’ll be passing on it forever. You see, the BATTLESHIP that I’m fond of was one of the many versions of a classic Milton Bradley Board Game that originated in the 1940s as a pencil-and-paper affair. ELECTRONIC BATTLESHIP was a fixture of my youth, and from what I can tell – my version was the 1982 release – essentially the 1977 game in revised packaging.
At the time, this thing was high-tech. Those little buttons with the bleep-bloop sounds were fantastic. And the static-filled “explosion”? A noise you didn’t want to hear. Check out the 15-second mark in the commercial below…
Fast-forward thirty years and BATTLESHIP is now manufactured by HASBRO GAMES, and while the game has evolved in many ways, the original version is still somewhat available as CLASSIC BATTLESHIP and DELUXE BATTLESHIP “Movie Edition.” While the shape of the ships may have changed, it’s the gameplay that’s important – tossing aside any of the movie nonsense. By “nonsense” I mean taking a very terrestrial WWII-inspired game pitting rival Navy’s against one another, and replacing one side with some Independence Day-alien race, then taking the “battle” onto land with some vehicles that have nothing to do with Battleship. I mean, if you’re going to do that, just call the movie something else. But, at the end of the day it’s all about selling more toys and games, and that brings us back to the beginning. It’s also something I respect (Make those buck$!).
Thus we end another “Stuff I Had When I Was a Kid” and I feel like an old man.
I don’t picture my daughters playing BATTLESHIP much, though I could be completely wrong.