Five Things – 09.01.14

1. LJN Roll and Rocker – This was the NES accessory that I wanted above all others.  This, to me, was the future of gaming.  About a year’s worth of requests fell upon deaf ears with my parents, and as an adult I can now look back and agree that they made the right decision to ignore me. Before there was a Wii balance board, there was the Roll & Rocker.

Roll & Rocker
LJN, they of the Karate Kid and T&C games, made a play on the popularity of the Pogo-Bal and released a controller that worked in a similar fashion.  The player would stand on the controller, which had a rounded bottom, and their shifting weight would tilt the platform and emulate a finger pushing that direction on a D-pad.  Simple, right?

Roll & Rocker

The catch was that if you wanted to push buttons, like you might have to in any game on the market, you still had to hold a controller in your hand. This rendered the entire effort useless. The Roll & Rocker worked about as well as a controller as the Pogo-Bal did as a pogo stick and once revealed as the gimmick it was, the product didn’t last long.

Stick to licenses, LJN – you’ve got a better batting average with those.


2.  Nightmare on Elm Street Video Rental Ad –  Back in the 1980s Robert Englund was pretty enthusiastic about doing what he needed to do to get Freddy Krueger’s name and face anywhere he could. A win for Freddy was a win for Robert! Freddy showed up in a Fat Boys music video(where he rapped!) , a Dokken music video, several episodes of DC Follies, and here in this promotional video for the Nightmare on Elm Street 3 VHS release:

You gotta wonder how much of this is Englund doing it because he has to and how much is Englund doing it because he wants to.  He’s pretty engaged in this video and the whole thing comes off as very ’80s and very fun – and in something the public was never intended to see.  He could have written it off and played it down a bit, but he didn’t.  Points for Freddy!


3.  Kukla, Fran & Ollie Whirlpool Commercial – Here’s a 1956 Whirlpool Clothes Dryer ad that’s basically a Kukla, Fran & Ollie bit.  With a hard sell on it! Still, I wish more commercials were this content-y:


4.  Nintendo 1988 Inside Edition – In 1988 a younger, less angry Bill O’Reilly took us into the world of Nintendo and tried to explain just what the heck those kids were talking about with their Marios and their Koopas.

The game counselor interview is neat – that was my dream job in elementary school.  I still never nailed the infinite lives trick in SMB.  Also neat to see Howard Phillips give a BS explanation of how Mario is “all of us”.


5.  Crazy – Here’s a great ad for Crazy Magazine. They’re so crazy they send copies to Victor Von Doom! Would MAD do that?






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