Five Things – 3.3.14

1. Wonderbug – Part of the Krofft Supershow in the back half of the ’70s, Wonderbug was about some kids who find a magical car in a junkyard.

Wonderbug Title

In its non-wonder state the car was called Schlepcar and was pretty hideous.

Schlepcar

Then, when a magical horn was sounded, Schlepcar would turn into Wonderbug, a mildly less hideous supercar that had some sort of computer dashboard, articulated eyes and mouth, and also could fly.  The original Smartcar! Sorry!

Wonderbug

The intelligent flying Wonderbug would help the kids solve crimes and stuff like that, but like most Krofft offerings the articulation was pretty crude.  Kind of like Speed Buggy on ketamine.  Still, the show’s got Seventies Good-Time all over it, especially in the also-signature-Krofft explanatory intro:

As Krofft Supershow segments go, Wonderbug performed decently.  It had a few products licensed from it, like this gorgeous lunchbox:

Wonderbug lunchbox

I’m not sure what constitutes a Krofft sucess versus a Krofft failure, but I think a gorgeous metallic lunchbox is a point in the “win” column.  Check out C.C. in the back seat! What a blast that dude is having!

 

2. Girl in Gold Boots Trailer – One of my favorite MST3k episodes, Girl in Gold Boots tells the tale of a bunch of thirty-something teenagers “making it” in the seedy Los Angeles go-go scene of the 1970s.  A timeless tale, indeed. I came across the trailer this week and was delighted to find that it makes the movie appear even MORE doddering and scatterbrained than it actually is. And that’s a feat!

 

3.  Chronomaster – Released in 1995, Chronomaster was a PC game almost too ambitious for the technology of its time.

Chronomaster

A plot written by Roger Zelazney (his last work before dying), a main character voiced (voiced!) by Ron Perlman and his sidekick voiced by Brent Spiner,  and a universe that actually took the trouble to have many exotic locations that looked different and had unique inhabitants all contributed to the makings of an epic game.  And don’t get me wrong, it stood out at the time.  This was the early era of CD-ROM gaming and full-motion graphics and voice acting were still far from the norm.  In 1995, Chronomaster felt like a Science Fiction interactive movie.


And that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. I think the graphic style of the game ended up working against its longevity –  just a few years later the game looked and felt like a relic from “early CGI” days.  Not all games suffer this fate, and some graphic technology conjures up certain nostalgias for me, but this style just screams “primitive” and “dated”.  If you can get past that, though, it’s a fun adventure game and an important step forward that’s frequently overlooked for the medium.

Here’s a really goofy-sounding preview of the game from back then that describes the scope of the game pretty well…albeit, goofily:

 

4.  The Stephen King Universe – Here’s a beautiful piece of design that fits right in with my Stephen King fanboy-ism.  A chart connecting characters from various books across the Stephen King universe.  I always get a tingle in my brain when a character from one of King’s worlds enters another; it’s good to know that others feel the same way.  From Tessie Girl:

Stephen King Flowchart

Connecting Patrick Danville and Edgar Freemantle is a move I would normally balk at, but it works! Buy this chart.  Buy it for yourself and if you don’t do that, then buy it for me but either way, buy it.

5. Everybody Wants to be a Cat – Right?

-ds