Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Ripped from VH-1's programming

Big hair, synth music, the Reggie candy bar, and Atari.

Oh, heavens, the Atari. As a Cub Scout I once sold 630 candy bars at one buck a pop (these were five-ounce mooma-joomas, too, with a McDonald's coupon in the wrapper) in order to win an Atari 2600 game console. (And with the leftover credit, I got Mom a swell gift for all the driving around the neighborhood and to shopping malls - a credit-card sized calculator. That's being nine for you.)

So when Mr. Snitch popped up with a link to video game ads remembered, I had to click over.

It's not all Atari, though. They also give a nod to the lamented Astrocade (what on earth kind of controller is that?) and show George Plimpton shilling for the Intellivision. A kid I knew down the block (Gerard was his name - how do I remember that 23 years later?) had one of these, and it was definitely in the lead, until the Atari programmers decided to let other folks at their machine. As a result we got those fantastic Activision games (there's currently a retro pack for the PC which I own and love) and a group they don't mention called M-Network.

They made a baseball game that looked a lot like the Intellivision version the ol' Paper Lion is smiling above. (Turns out that there's a good reason for that.) There were a couple of small quirks, though - 1, everything was a ground ball unless you hit it hard enough, and it then became a home run (maybe it went through the fence); 2, the third baseman could not throw out a runner at first. Ever. If you were good at pulling the ball (all righty batters, natch) you would get the leadoff man on base every time - and occasionally blast it past him and "over" the short fence for a dinger. And the football game? Again, good looking, but with the oddest sort of quirk - if you got beaten on defense, you could run off the left side of the screen and magically loop back onto the right, back in front of the ball carrier. (Neither could you aim passes to the sideline - everything just went straight ahead. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2005 Arizona Cardinals!)

OK, they don't mention M-Network. Or the ColecoVision, oddly enough - an underrated system. But they do remember this game. Apparently, we win all our wars against aliens in the future because our soldiers evolve beyond the need for any protective gear. (Some empire the Kryons have, eh? Can't whip a guy wearing Oscar Wilde's beachwear. Ol' Raquel must have been distracting them in the background, there.)

update, 6:45 pm - oh, sweet Jiminy Cricket. They're releasing a retro console. Can Christmas come tomorrow, Mommy?

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