1. The Tomorrow People – Another one of the early sci-fi shows that fascinated and terrified me as a child, The Tomorrow People was a British ITV production about kids that had triggered the next stage of human evolution with their psychic powers.
Sounds a little X-Men-ish, but The Tomorrow People really stood out to me as a kid because it was real, and today still stands out because of the production values. This show had to be riding the wave of Doctor Who enthusiasm, and the set design, character design, and storylines back that up.
With titles like “The Heart of Sogguth” and “Hitler’s Last Secret”, how could you deny it? Also, “Hitler’s Last Secret”? For kids?
A two-minute intro! You never see those anymore.
The series was remade in the 1990s, but I never paid much attention to it then. The ’73-79 run is where it’s at.
2. Gold Rush! – When I was ten or eleven, I became obsessed with Sierra games. If you played PC games in the 1980s, you were probably familiar with Sierra through their popular Kings Quest series, which helped sell a lot of PCs back in the day. Well, Sierra did a pretty hefty handful of “Quest” games that are, to me, some of the best games of all time. The Police Quest and Space Quest series will all get their due in future Five Things, not to mention Quest For Glory, Leisure Suit Larry, Conquests of Camelot, Laura Bow, Gabriel Knight, and Codename: Iceman – but today we’re talking about Gold Rush!
Gold Rush! was a one-off game that takes place in 1848, just before the California gold rush. The player takes the role of Jerrod Wilson as he leaves Brooklyn to meet his long lost brother in California. To get some of that gold! Right from the start Jerrod’s got three ways to get to California: he can take the stagecoach across the country, take a boat through the Panama Canal, or take the (excruciatingly long) voyage around Cape Horn. each of these options was practically a game unto itself, with different challenges you had to be ready for when you were preparing for your voyage in Brooklyn. Once you arrive in California the game’s storylines converge, giving you the classic puzzle/adventure play that Sierra was known for back then.
Sierra games also had a terrific form of copy protection, that required you to have the manual to get into the game. If you could give them a word from a designated page in the manual, you were good to go. A nice, non-intrusive form of DRM, especially given PC gamers’ current DRM woes.
3. Appearing at the Holiday Inn – Retrospace has got a great writeup on some of the lesser-savored lounge acts of the past. These pictures make me pine for the 70s and 80s while they make me embarrassed for the 70s at 80s at the same time.
4. Disney Ground Breaking – This week marks the 45-year anniversary of Walt Disney World’s groundbreaking ceremonies. Imagineering Disney’s got some terrific pictures of the “sell” phase of the WDW empire – it seems so bizarre that they’d need this, in retrospect – but this one image really gets me, for some reason:
5. Understanding Human Behavior – A twofer from Retrospace this week – what the….?
This was given to kids? As a textbook? Chew on that!