That’s Why Tony Gets The Big Money – Pick Axe Pete (1982)

There are clear winners and clear losers when you look across the history of video game franchises.  Some winners undoubtedly deserve their accolades, the perfect combination of charm and gameplay (looking at you, Mario!) Sometimes the winners becomes losers in the long run as their reputation becomes tainted by lackluster followup titles (looking at you,…

Put A Label On It! – Casio Devices (1980-90s)

When it came to ways to get technology  into your day-to-day life, Casio had some pretty big ideas.  Looking in hindsight from the vantage point of a world that has all-in-one smartphones in it, the number of big ideas they had really stands out. And that’s sort of the problem for Casio: they were all…

This Fantastic Collection – Chipmunk Punk (1980)

Here’s another quick dose of Chipmunks – something that came out in the ‘80s but is more in line with the pre-TV-show Chipmunks.  It’s “Chipmunk Punk”, a “fantastic collection” of top 40 hits that really couldn’t be less punk at all.  The only thing remotely punk about this collection is the artwork, and that doesn’t…

Oh, Your Concert Was Fantastic – Alvin and the Chipmunks Toys (1980s)

Alvin and the Chipmunks is one of the few franchises that seems to effortlessly skate from generation to generation without much fuss from society about the differences between iterations. It’s a pretty charmed life – how many other franchises enjoy the same sort of hall pass? With Alvin it seems that as long as the main…

All At Once – Red Devil Infomercial (1990s)

It has long been my position that the half-hour “Magic Bullet” commercial is the gold standard of infomercials. It hits all of the right notes of an infomercial: the hosts are enthusiastic to the point that you suspect they’re on an adjacent level of reality to the rest of us, there’s a strained attempt at…

A House That Has Not Been Built – 1991 Virtual Reality Report

I’ve been on a tight schedule lately but I wanted to take a minute to share this Primetime Live report from 1991 featuring virtual reality. There’s nothing really laughable or off-base about the report, which in itself is impressive; most of these ‘official’ reports of emerging technologies are the clunky equivalents of the chaperones dancing…

Terrified of Buttons – Kim Komando Infomercial (1990s)

Can you believe that there was a time when computers weren’t just not in our pockets, they weren’t even in our houses? Around the late 1980s these CRT behemoths, previously relegated to those eggheads on their college campuses, started making their way into homes across America – a transition which delighted children and befuddled adults…

You Didn’t Predict This – Psychic Friends Network (1990s)

Grammy-winning singer Dionne Warwick is probably as famous for her involvement with the Psychic Friends Network as she is for her singing and her philanthropy.  The Psychic Friends Network was a 1-900 number service that, for $3.99 a minute, connected a person with their personal psychic consultant in an ongoing ‘future-therapy’ session that helped that…

Squash Game Tonight – AT&T True Experience (1995)

The ’90s are full of ahead-of-its-time ideas, particularly when the internet is involved.  We could not wait to make the internet our slave, and were simultaneously just as eager to create a critical umbilical between our lives and the internet that could barely tolerate any disruption.  Windows 95 was full of ways to plug into…

Playing For Real – Xband Gaming Modem (1994)

I was a PC gamer during the majority of the 16-bit-era, and missed out on some of the more monumental Super Nintendo and SEGA Genesis titles until later in life when they were considered retro classics.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, while I was BBS’g and Prodigy’g and The Sierra Networking the 16-bit console…