Friday, April 20, 2018

8 Bit Junction: Looping

One of my earliest memories of video games is the Magnavox Odyssey. My parents had one in pristine condition in the original box with all the packed in facets...and I took the liberty of giving it away in the lat '90's. Oops.

Anyway, the point I'm making here isn't that we had an Odyssey, but rather I'm painting the picture that video games were a big part of our household since pretty much the dawn of home video game consoles. As such, we were fortunate to have a ColecoVision when they were released back in August of 1982.

Even though I wasn't as good at it as my brother was, one of my all time favorite games to play on the console was Looping. Like most of the games, it was a third person view side scroller. In the game, you would start from a runway and take off with your plane. From there your goal was to fly across the city either dodging or shooting hot air balloons which got in your way. With a 360 degree control option, you could fly all over the place unhindered.

However, this was just the first part of the level. The second part got much trickier. Once you blasted open the "gate", you were set to the task of navigating through a series of pipes in order to work your way to the end. And, let me tell you about that end. It was box in the middle of the middle of the air which had giant bouncy balls bouncing in your path. You had to make it through this very short section and touch the "end wall" docking station with the tip of your plane.

I was by no means a master of the game. In fact, there were times I would go through all of my lives before reaching the docking station once. Still, it was a blast to play. A classic game from an era of gaming where it was all about skill, hand / eye coordination and timing.

Once completed, it started all over again, ramping up the difficulty with each successful level completion. I was lucky if I got to the second level and can't honestly say I ever made it to the third or beyond.

I'd love to see an updated retro Coleco console much like we've gotten with Atari. I know they released one a few years ago, but it wasn't justifiable to pay $70.00 for sixty Coleco games. They're fun...But they're not THAT fun. The "console" would have to have 200 games to justify that price tag for me.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Painted Memories: You Will Believe A Man Can Fly!

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Retro Spins: Lionel Richie - Can't Slow Down

Lionel Richie
Can't Slow Down

Wow, what a monster of an album! Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down comes right out of the gate with the title track of the album and from there doesn't skip a beat as it jumps into All Night Long, Penny Lover, Stuck on You and rounds itself out with The Only One, Running With the Night and Hello. Hello indeed!

Because the album was released in October of 1983 you won't actually find any of the tracks from Can't Slow Down hitting the charts. Rather, songs from Richie's prior album were still topping.

However, come 1984 that changed - Big time. Penny Lover, Stuck On You, Hello, Running With the Night and All Night Long all hit the charts - Sometimes a mix of these songs in the same week. Lionel Richie was hot, hot, hot in '83!

Ironically, as a young child during this period I actually had no clue who the man was until I heard songs from this album. In fact, it wasn't until my young adult years that it actually dawned on me he was part of the Commodores and didn't in fact come out of nowhere.

Honestly, I don't know why I chose this album for the Retro Spin. I mean, we all know it's amazing, right? If it's any consolation, I did end up adding two other songs to my IPOD, but not because I didn't know them - Rather, I just forgot about them.

So, I'll take a mulligan on this one and chalk it up to a refresher course on an album I already knew had fantastic hits on it. All but one song made the cut for my IPOD shuffle. For those wondering, that would be Love Will Find A Way.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Classic Silver Age Superman (DC Direct)

Classic Silver Age Superman
DC Direct

If you're looking for a solid Silver Age Superman line, you need look no further than - Well, Classic Silver Age Superman from DC Direct. The five figure line was released in 2006, and included pretty much every Superman character which comes to mind when you think of the Man of Steel; Lois Lane, Perry white, Jimmy Olsen, Lex Luthor and of course the man himself, Superman were all included. Not only that, but it's one of the few if not only opportunities to get Beppo - AKA, Superman's super monkey.

Superman (and Beppo)*Lois Lane (as Superwoman)

For those of you scratching your head at the Lois Lane figure above, let us give you a little background.

Lois Lane as Superwoman first appeared in Action Comics number 60 (her first appearance by the way). In the issue, Lois dreams she has received super powers by mean of a blood transfusion from Superman. As the years would pass by, Lois would make numerous appearances as Superwoman - Sometimes with the powers real - But only temporarily.

Perry White*Jimmy Olsen

Lex Luthor

These figures capture everything which was Superman of the Silver Age!

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Friday, April 13, 2018

8 Bit Junction: Space Quest

Ah, Sierra's classic adventure games! How I love them all. Is it possible to choose your favorite? Gosh, I really don't know. Before I jump into this. Let me take a 2 Minute Toy Break. See, this all started in the era 20 Years Before 2000 when things were Branded in the 80's and really fun, but not necessarily Cool and Collected. The Stunt Zombie army had yet to pillage Alexis' Treasures as it was still under the protection of Mr. Smith's Plastic Bubble. Therefore it was still relatively easy to go on Adventures in Gaming after a session of fireworks and action figures which often times resulted in an Action Figure Barbecue. Good thing I always kept a Green Plastic Squirt Gun near my side to put out those Toyriffic fires. Man did those Fully Jointed Play Things take a beating. Such Weird Fantastic Toy Adventures I had back in the day. Thank goodness those toys weren't alive. That would've been horrific to me if ever there was a Revenge of the Toy Box and they all attacked me. I would have needed something massive like a Dinosaur Dracula to stop them. But enough Retro Ramblings. Let's get into today's post. Oh...and G.I. Jigsaw...Cause that doesn't fit into anything above.

I will say this - Space Quest was my first ever Sierra game I played and to this day it remains a rotating title in the exclusive list of games I replay. In fact, I try to play all the Sierra titles at least once a year and have even written my own walkthroughs for them should I ever get stuck - An impossible feat at this point with how many times I played them.

However, I too once struggled with making my way to the end of each adventure game while obtaining all the points. In fact, it wasn't until well into my adulthood that I can even claim to have done so.

For me, I was just excited to be playing the game back in 1986 on my dad's home computer. I didn't know much about computers back then, how they worked, what they did - You know, much like these days where if I can't fix it by poking it with a stick I'm screwed.

What I did know was those rare occasions where my dad would give up the seat at our round table located in the den of our home and let my brother and I play for a while. Admittedly, my brother was always slightly better at the game. Being older I guess gave him an added advantage of puzzle solving. I remember it used to upset me so much when he'd load up his save game and I would see he not only had more points, but was so much further along than I was.

This was probably helped by the fact that he was also far more patient than I was and actually read the story. Meanwhile I was an enter button addict. I didn't want any words slowing up my progress in the game because play times were limited by the timer in dad's head. This of course was my ultimate demise in actually getting good at the game because one has to read the story to get clues and overall trajectory - Something I would find out in my (young) teenage years when revisiting the game.

Mind you, I did make it all the way through to the end of Space Quest when I was a kid. I just needed a little help from my brother or dad who were also playing through at the same time. In fact, Space Quest is probably the first game I ever completed on PC.

Something about those play sessions as a child stayed with me for many years and when I was old enough to have my own computer I was excited to find the games were not only still readily available for the latest and greatest version of Windows 95, but also updated to include VGA versions.

Since then, I have owned many copies of Space Quest (all its sequels and other related Sierra titles). Like I said above, it comes through my rotation of replays frequently. In fact, just a few weekends ago I finished yet another play through of Space Quest V.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Painted Memories: Wild Stallyns!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Remember that time you waited twenty-six years to buy a Pepsi?

Remember when Pepsi charged $20.15 for a Pepsi?

Remember the time you tried to spend $20.15 on said Pepsi only to find out you couldn't buy it?

Remember how you couldn't spend said $20.15 on said Pepsi because Pepsi only produced 6,500?

Remember how said limited Pepsi was supposed to go on sale at a specific time on a specific date and Amazon botched it?

Wasn't that perfect? You know, Pepsi Perfect?

Yes, the day which used to stand for the time Marty McFly ventured into the future to the date October 21, 2015 has forever been soured for many Back to the Future fans. They waited those twenty-six years since the film was released in 1989 for Pepsi to produce and release a Pepsi Perfect only to get slapped in the face - Hard.

Pepsi did indeed follow through with what many fans would hope to happen and did in fact release Pepsi Perfect on this day. However, their marketing plan was such a messy debacle it left many fans up in arms just with its announcement.

Pepsi stated on October 21, 2015 it would produce and release 6,500 bottles of Pepsi Perfect for sale - 1,500 would be immediately carted off to Comic Con, while the remaining 5,000 would be made available on a first come / first serve basis on Amazon - Limit one per customer.

Oh boy, what a mess this announcement was. Did Pepsi truly believe only 6,500 Back to the Future fans existed? Did they honestly think producing such a minimal quantity would go over well? With millions of Back to the Future fans out there this gave a whole lot of people who had waited and waited for such a special occasion a big old middle finger.

Despite this ill feeling which lingered in the air, fans flocked to Amazon in droves to be one of the lucky few to purchase a bottle of Pepsi Perfect - A plan that soon turned futile for the majority of them. Many were met with continuous loading screens, timed out screens and worst of all  a sold out label within mere minutes of going on sale. Even those fortunate enough to get the item into their online cart and thought they had achieved victory soon found themselves with messages that their transaction could not be completed. Anger ensued across the internet.

With bad press surrounding the campaign growing rapidly by the hour, Pepsi made an announcement that it would release a second batch of limited Pepsi Perfect. Once again 6,500 bottles would be made available, this time directly from Pepsi's own website.

Once again tempers flared as angry fans took to any venue they could find who would hear their cries of how even in light of attempting to make it right Pepsi was still infuriating the masses and spitting on the fans. How could anyone possibly get a Pepsi Perfect with such limited production and how could Pepsi feel this was okay? 13,000 was still minimal product to feed a fan base of millions - Only USA resident fans at that.

With more ill feelings surrounding the campaign, many tried once again on November 3, 2015 to get one of the final runs of Pepsi Perfect only to once again be faced with the same issues. Lag outs, unfulfilled orders and in short, no Pepsi Perfect. The outrage continued once again online and to this day remains from bitter fans who will always remember the day(s) Pepsi screwed them on fulfilling their ultimate Back to the Future fandom moment - Enjoying a Pepsi Perfect while watching the Trilogy.

So what was all the hype about? Why was everyone so eager to purchase a Pepsi for $20.15? What's the big deal here?

Well....Let's take a look.

Okay, it comes in a neat box. That's great for collectors. It's got the fun Pepsi Perfect logo on it and if you look closely you can see a little more detail in the corner; 

That's cool. Every collector loves seeing the words limited edition on their item. Makes them feel like they got something special. 

The bottle fits nicely in the center of the box in a little cut out designed specifically to hold it and it's then placed in a plastic bag...To seal in freshness? I don't know.

Let's take it out of the bag and have a closer look. 

Okay, it's a fancy bottle and it looks like tooth rotting Pepsi inside the bottle. It's neat that it's made with real sugar and not corn syrup - Common these days, but not so much in 2015.

So how does it taste?

Well, I wouldn't know. That's actually a Coke I ordered at a restaurant for this post. I'm not about to drink a Pepsi that cost me $20.15 (plus shipping) or that's three years old at this point. Plus I don't like soda. It makes a great display piece in my collection, but that's about as up close and personal as I'm going to get with this thing.

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