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…

What Do Children Think Of When They Think Of The Bomb? (1983)

It’s pretty chilling to hear kids’ candid thoughts on the persistent threat of nuclear apocalypse, and even more chilling to hear their speculation on what a nuclear attack might be like.  This 1983 short film commissioned by WNET “goes there”, combining interviews with the kids with performance pieces featuring those kids and tossing in animations…

I’m Going In – Star Wars Atari Games (1983)

I’m four films into the process of indoctrinating our five-year-old to the Star Wars universe, and it’s safe to say at this point that we’ve got a fan on our hands.  There have been a few course corrections; I wanted to go the Machete route of IV-V-(optional)I-II-III-VI, thinking I’d be telling the most complete story at the…

Is That Legal? – Coleco Adam Ads (1983)

It’s not enough, apparently, to have a successful video game console; there’s a long history of the industry trying to sweeten the appeal of the purchase by promoting or promising additional non-gaming features.  Sony wanted you to run Linux on your PS3, Microsoft wanted your Xbox One to be a cable box and DVR, Nintendo…

Since The Invasion – Manhunter (1988)

Sierra On-Line had a pretty great thing going in the ’80s, but it was also a pretty specific thing.  Game series like King’s Quest, Police Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, and Quest for Glory and one-offs like Gold Rush! and Codename: Iceman had really distinct worlds, characters, and storylines but all followed the same…

Making It Great – Pizza Hut Training Video (1988)

This video’s been a bit of a sleeper hit around my house. On the surface it seems sort of unremarkable given the other fast-food training videos of the era like “Grill Skills” and “Clean It”, but something about it has infected us.  Maybe it’s Julie’s enthusiasm. Maybe it’s her brown-plaid-on-brown-on-brown uniform. Maybe it’s the painful…

Meltdown – Nightline Chernobyl Accident Report (1980s)

On April 26, 1986, a late night safety test at the Chernobyl nuclear plant went horribly wrong and led to the most disastrous nuclear power plant accident in history.  The world found out two days later, when Russian state news broadcasted a four-sentence report on the event.This episode of Nightline, ABC’s late night news program,…