As any teenager knows, the success of any sleepover is usually judged on the quality of games supplied. For a while, truth or dare sufficed, and Twister and Dream Phone for the girls, but then something a lot more sinister came onto the scene and changed the good old wholesome sleepover into something else...
Atmosfear was the name of the game, and the line of these games, which also consisted of Nightmare, was cutting-edge when it came out, because as well as a board game and rules, the key thing about the game was you had to watch a VHS in your VCR as part of the game. Complete with a spooky setting and sound effects, you were led along the gameplay by a grubby, ghoulish character called the Gatekeeper, who would get great enjoyment from randomly shouting at everyone and making the jump! Sometimes, he'd leave you to get on playing and the VHS would just act as a timer, but other times you'd hear 'STOP MAGGOT!' boom out from the TV. It's a good job surround sound wasn't part of most people's home entertainment set-ups, that's for sure.
The aim of Atmosfear is to collect a key from each of the six regions of the board before heading to the Well of Fears in the centre and attempting to draw your fear from among those of your opponents in order to win the game (everyone has written down a fear at the very beginning (which itself is pretty good fun, trying to guess everyone else's). Add in the aspect of time - you only have 49 minutes for someone to win otherwise everyone loses - and it can be pretty intense game play as players rush to take their turn and chuck the dice at someone else to avoid the Gatekeeper to pounce on them.
Atmosfear was the sequel to Nightmare, which went along the same lines - managing to force fear back into childrens' lives just when they'd exhausted all their good ghost stories.