Five Things – 1.27.14

1.  Bart vs. The Space Mutants – By 1991 the Simpsons marketing machine was fully oiled, churning out just about anything that could possibly fit a character’s face on it.  Bart Simpson T-Shirts were being blamed for creating subversion among children, yet he could sell Butterfingers until the cows came home and that was somehow okay.

The most anticipated Simpsons product for me was the first video game, Bart vs. the Space Mutants. I had it for NES, but it came out for just about every system under the sun.  This was still pretty early in the Simpsons’ series run and the characters and town had yet to really develop.  Bart was still mostly a one-dimensional troublemaker, so the game focused on his skateboarding ability and his graffiti prowess.

Bart vs. the Space Mutants

The gist of the game is that aliens have invaded Springfield and Bart’s the only one who notices because he has a pair of x-ray glasses.  The aliens have plans to build some sort of doomsday machine and they only need one ingredient…purple things.  So Bart’s got to go through the town and paint all of the purple things red.  In addition to having the only pair of x-ray glasses in town, Bart’s a wiz with spray paint so this task fits right into his wheelhouse.  Once he’s painted everything red, the aliens change the ingredient they need to balloons.  Then, once the balloons are gone, the ingredient changes to…exit signs. THEN, once the exit signs are gone, the final ingredient is a nuclear rod.  FINALLY, one that makes sense.

This game was brutally hard. Almost Battletoads hard.  As a kid I remember being pretty disappointed that whoever made this game didn’t seem like a real Simpsons fan – it felt more like Bart was being featured in a video game that had already been created instead of a Simpsons video game.  Thankfully the arcade would come to the rescue with a stellar Simpsons game in a few years time.


2. 1981 Monopoly Commercial – A few things here.  It’s been proven that it is impossible to play Monopoly:

  • in a crowded public place
  • with strangers
  • with a smile on your face

What was this guy doing with just a Monopoly box in a train station and nothing else? This whole thing is suspicious.


3.  Adventure Thru Inner Space – This ride, which lived at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland from 1967 to 1985, really captures that World’s Fair-y “We Can Do This” feeling seen in other Disney attractions like Carousel of Progress and Flight To The Moon.

Adventure Thru Inner Space

ATIS Lobby

ATIS uilding

This ride was a hard sell on atomic research, initially sponsored by Monsanto who obviously had a pretty strong interest in the manipulation of molecules.  Guests were miniaturized through “The Mighty Monsanto Microscope” and sent into a snowflake, down to the molecular level, into an atom, and then back out to full size.  The whole thing is just oozing with style, from the building to the lobby to the ride to the narration to the soundtrack.  Here are some highlights:

The ride was canned in 1985 in favor of Star Wars’ Star Tours attraction, which is a different sort of sport but still pretty great.


4.  Donkey Kong Junior Commercial – This is just…bizarre.  I mean, DK Junior doesn’t look like his dad AT ALL.

Also pretty sure that’s not Donkey Kong in that cage.


5.  Invisible Helmet – Pretty sure this goes past “false advertising” and straight into “lie” territory.

Invisible Helmet