Five Things – 2.20.17 – Say Hello To Michael Jordan For Me

Gamepro Video Game Secret Tips, Tactics & Passwords, Vol. 1

Our old friend J.D. Roth from Gamepro TV takes us on a journey to sap all of the fun out of video games by using cheat codes and exploits!

This video covers the Super Nintendo, Genesis, and TurboGrafx generation of games, and features some pretty B-list games for a “Volume 1”.  While most videos of this type gave viewers hints and strategies around tough parts of games, with the occasional game-breaking code or exploit, this video delivers hack after hack, with the objective seeming to be to get you to the end of the game as quickly as possible.  I guess that’s what you’d be paying for?

There’s a LOT of “attitude” here, fueled by Roth and his arsenal of slang.  I did not age well, but I will say that it sets this video apart from its drier, more straightforward competition.  Roth is also awkwardly superimposed on top of game footage for much of the video. Does that make it more fun?

At the end of the day, this video is a pretty interesting snapshot of early ’90s video gaming technology, early ’90s video technology, and…well, just early ’90s technology in general. Back then it would have taken several weeks for someone to mail in a payment for a non-trivial amount for the VHS, wait for it to arrive, watch it, and then apply a learning from the video to a game that they owned.  I achieved the same thing this morning in about 30 seconds, for free. FUTURE.

Here you go.  Enjoy skipping straight to the end-game ceremony in Bulls vs Lakers And The NBA Playoffs. Seriously, who wants that?

 

Saturday Superstore

This ultra-charming Saturday morning kids show ran on the BBC from 1982-1987.  It featured several different segments, some with kids, others with pop stars, scripted bits and the occasional call-in.  Margaret Thatcher was on the show in 1987, and was repeatedly asked by a little girl where Thatcher planned to go if nuclear war broke out.  Ultra Charming!

Here’s the 1982 Christmas episode.

 

Vanilly Crunch

The Cap’n continued to experiment in the early 1970s with variations on what was already the perfect cereal. This iteration, called “Vanilly Crunch”, featured Wilma the White Whale as the mascot.  Better her than La Foote, I guess.

 

Palitoy Star Wars Ad

I love everything about this hand-drawn ad for Palitoys’ Star Wars line.

 

1992 Lincoln Malfunction

In honor of President’s Day, here’s Abraham Lincoln from Disney’s Hall of Presidents shorting out and taking a little robot nap.

 

-ds

Five Things – 10.17.16 – Never Known To Fail

 

Robot Odyssey

I’ve never been as simultaneously captivated and out of my league as I was when I played Robot Odyssey as a child in the 1980s.

robot-odyssey-title

Robot Odyssey, created in 1984 by educational game company The Learning Company, had a unique sort of difficulty to it.  Other games by The Learning Company of the same era, like Gertrude’s Puzzles or Rocky’s Boots, were filled with logic puzzles that were difficult but generously so; Robot Odyssey basically asked you to learn engineering in order to succeed.

robot-odyssey-intro

The premise of the game is that you’re in a dream and you’ve been transported to Robotropolis.   In the sewers of the city you find three robots, and those robots must be programmed to solve puzzles so that you can escape Robotropolis.  You start out with pretty basic programming, but the levels get more and more difficult and require more and more advanced programs to solve. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was pretty quickly outclassed by this game, but that didn’t stop me from playing. I was a kid, I loved robots and video games, it was the ’80s, and they let me use the computer at school.

robot-odyssey-level

Everything about this game, from the Adventure-like design to the maddening complexity to the really beautiful artwork/character model/item design, tells me that this was a labor of love. The intense difficulty would usually be a fault of the game design, but in this case it’s our fault for not being as smart as we should be. This game expected better of us, and we failed to deliver.

Here’s a playthrough:

 

Priazzo

Pizza Hut got fancy in 1985 with their take on the Italian pie, the Priazzo.  Didn’t work out so well for them, but here’s their campaign in which they tried to position themselves as an Italian restaurant.

 

Hunt’s Remedy

This 19th century kidney/liver tonic ad is amazing.  I pity that skeleton!

hunts-remedy

 

Inchworm

This mellow 1970s commercial for the Romper Room Inchworm toy goes to show you just how sedated  people were back then.

 

Have It Your Way

Slightly more upbeat here, with the novel idea that you could get a hamburger exactly the way you want it at Burger King.  The “Have It Your Way” campaign came to define Burger King in the 1970s and 1980s, and was actually a pretty effective way for them to identify as a cut above the other burger franchises of the time.  Still, though, they’re a little too excited about giving you a burger your way.

 

 

-ds

 

Five Things – 2.27.12 – ROBOT EDITION

I had a fascination with robots when I was a kid.  I lumped robot companions in with flying cars and bubble cities as inevitabilities of my adult life. They were not ifs, they were whens.  Sadly I’m still waiting on my robot butler, but this week I thought I’d take a look at my top five robot obsessions from childhood.  That’s not to say that these are the five coolest robots, just the five that I was particularly obsessed with.

 

1.  R.O.B.  – The day I got my Nintendo Entertainment System is etched in stone as one of the happiest days of my life.  It was at my seventh birthday party, and it was so unexpected. I never thought I’d get a NES.  This wasn’t just any NES, though – it was the NES Deluxe Set, which included a Zapper gun for Duck Hunt and R.O.B., the Robotic Operating Buddy.

ROB

The pack-in game was Gyromite,  one of only a handful of games developed to take advantage of R.O.B.’s amazing futuristic capabilities.  In addition to controlling the on-screen character yourself, you had to control a real life slow robot as he placed gyros into spinners and then onto plates that then pressed a button on the second controller to activate gates so that your on-screen character could pass through them.  In other words, instead of pressing a button on the second controller yourself, you had to walk a robot through three slow-paced actions to press that button.  Needless to say, R.O.B. was quickly retired from gaming duty and found a fulfilling retirement as a space base/other-dimensional enemy in several G.I. Joe scenarios. Regardless of his value as a gaming companion he had a great look to him, one that screamed “FUTURE”.

 


Also, I never beat Gyromite.  How does it end?

Continue reading