1. McDonaldland Video Game - Also known as M.C. Kids in the US, this game was released by Virgin in 1992 for the NES as well as for Amiga, Commodore 64, and PC.
If that cover doesn’t promise an exciting rad time, I don’t know what does. Some cool teens or preteens hanging out with Ronald, what could be cooler? It’s better than the M.C. Kids cover:
Couple of toddlers in the same outfits, no Ronald in sight. Lame. I’m trying to imagine how these kids will land from this hi-five and the physics aren’t adding up. It’s going to be messy.
Basically, the Hamburglar has stolen Ronald’s magic bag (why? I thought he only stole burgers), and for once Ronald is powerless to take matters into his own hands. Instead he employs two children and sends them on a journey across seven different areas of McDonaldland, where they interact with many of the classic McDonaldland characters and find secret cards that unlock the next area.
Once you find the Hamburglar the kids learn that the magic bag got away from him and they’ll have to fight the bag itself, which raises the question of why Ronald would have such an evil bag in the first place.
The game’s a cult classic but didn’t get much praise when it came out. There’s an interesting take on its performance and a (perhaps unfair) comparison to the Mario games here by one of the developers.
The graphics are pretty good for the time, but the ever-watchful eye of the Ron Don in the corner is more than a little creepy. The mechanics of the game seem pretty solid, but the concept and licensing tie-in are typical 90s tacky.
Here’s a playthrough:
2. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Alternate Ending – So we had a little snow here in Atlanta this week, which meant a lot of inside time. Some may have spent it bettering themselves or taking care of massive Timid Futures to-do lists, but I decided to spend it watching Planet of the Apes movies.
I think my favorite had to be Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, although it’s a close call between that and Beneath: (WARNING: movie spoilers after the trailers:)
3. Back to the Future Ride – This ride apparently began as a conversation between Steven Spielberg and an executive at Universal Studios, in which Spielberg wanted to prove George Lucas wrong that only Disney could create ride experiences of any real immersive merit. Lucas had just taken Spielberg on Star Tours and Spielberg proposed an idea of using Back to the Future as a vehicle for a similar ride at Universal. At the time, Universal Studios’ presence in Florida was still TBD; the idea for this ride helped turn it into a reality. Several Spielberg properties ended up at Universal, including E.T., Jaws, and Jurassic Park, but the BTTF ride was the be-all-end-all for me.
The line for the ride included video from Christopher Lloyd reprising his role as Doc Brown, establishing a research facility where time travel continued to be pursued. Then Biff sneaks in and steals a DeLorean. You then got INTO A DELOREAN YOURSELF and chased him through a few different eras, eventually bumping him while activating the flux capacitor to bring him back. The ride took place in a huge theater with an enormous screen, and if you looked around during the ride you’d see about 15 different DeLoreans all doing the same thing. Which was kind of unintentionally awesome.
Here’s the footage of the ride. It’s unfortunately gone now, replaced by the equally awesome Simpsons ride, but it will always hold a place in my heart. And it totally dusts Star Tours.
4. Short Circuit 2 VHS Commercial – The great thing about a robot movie star? You can make him sell his own VHS tapes!
5. Passenger: Holocene – I first discovered Passenger shortly after my son was born. I’ll always associate his music with those first few weeks with him, feeding my son in the late morning with bright light streaming in through the windows. It probably wasn’t that perfect or that picturesque, but that’s the image I have and that’s enough for me.
Here he is playing Bon Iver’s “Holocene”. An interesting take.