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…

A Young Bug – The Write Channel (1978)

Mississippi was pretty late to the public television party,  taking until 1970 to actually establish its own station. Even then it wasn’t the best look for the state, as their refusal to air Sesame Street due to its racially integrated cast drew national criticism, but they eventually figured it out and actually ended up developing some…

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,…

All Those Ghosts Turn Blue – Pac Man Ads (1980s)

Readers of this blog are already aware of my distinct fondness for video game box art, particularly from the early 1980s. The disparity between the elaborate imagery on game boxes and in marketing materials and what players saw on the screen with the actual gameplay isn’t too surprising given the limited technology of the time,…

Christmas in 1980 – They’re Afraid Of Your Snake, Yoda

Christmas, 1980. Carter’s on his way out, Reagan’s on his way in, Rubik’s Cubes are the must-have holiday toy, The Empire Strikes Back rules the theaters and Dallas rules the living room.  Here’s a look at the holiday ad surge you’d have seen if you were a television viewer or magazine reader in Christmas of 1980.  It’s…

For Digestion’s Sake – Thanksgiving Ads (1940s-1990s)

Holiday traditions in the United States grow and change over the years, but there’s one constant: everyone wants a piece of your holiday spending money.  These Thanksgiving ads ranging from 1942 to 1991 showcase the different angles these companies took to try and get at your wallet. In doing so they speak to the design…

Mysteries of the Unknown – Time-Life Books (1980s)

The “Mysteries of the Unknown” series is the jewel in the Time-Life crown. You can’t talk for long about Time-Life books without this exploration into the paranormal coming up. It makes sense; UFO abductions, Stonehenge and Easter Island, telekinesis, ESP, and deja vu were at super-high popularity in the ’80s. Magazines and books like “Mysteries…

The Enchanted World – Time Life Books (1985)

Back in the ’80s you could have probably convinced me that Time-Life was a branch of the Department of Education; their authoritative ads for book series on everything from UFOs to the Civil War to The Old West to pasta recipes came across to a young me as more of a public service than a…