1. Playcable – Filed under “Way Ahead Of Its Time”, the Playcable was a subscription service introduced in 1981 that allowed cable providers to stream Intellivision games over standard cable. The consumer would then use a Playcable adapter to download the game and play it on their Intellivision.
This is 1981, people. The future was then!
The service wasn’t as popular as Mattel had hoped, though – by 1983 only three percent of subscribers had access to the service. Add to that the fact that games were getting more complicated and bigger in size and the inability of the adapter to hold games of increasing size, and you end up with a fantastic idea that died too soon.
And then the videogame industry crashed.
Here’s a commercial for the Playcable service. RIP, you magical cable wizards.
2. Chuck E Cheese Training – Chuck E. Cheese might have been Showbiz Pizza’s red-headed stepchild, but it was my go-to as a kid. For me, it was the other way around and Chuck was the king. As a grown-up, it’s pretty ridiculous to think that I could have considered Chuck’s ragtag crew anywhere near the polished acumen of the Rockafire Explosion, but childhood carries its own set of judgements with it. Regardless, here are some videos aimed at those who were interested in making money off of Chuck E. Cheese by getting in on the franchise. They are fascinating and paint a really great picture of the early ’80s.
Eventually the Cyberamics were downgraded to accomodate a live Chuck performing. Here’s a video on just how to be that Chuck:
Here’s my favorite, a video on how to be a walkaround character. With some awesome background music. So eighties.
3. Take Tea and See – Here’s a series of 1950s ads from the Tea Council (p.s.: there’s a Tea Council) about…tea.
What a hunk!
And here’s a commercial. For tea! Tea in general!
Canada had a Tea Council, too, with great design sensibility:
4. Compuserve – In the early ’90s, Compuserve was the RC to AOL and Prodigy’s Coke and Pepsi. They had free chat, though, which was a pretty big sell! Here’s an ad that features, among other things, a character wielding a laser pistol AND a lightsaber at the same time!
5. Old Milwaukee Ad – There’s no bear in this one, but there’s manliness all over it.