Merry Solstice/Christmas/Hanukah/Saturnalia – -Here’s 10 Great Classic Atari Commercials!

24 12 2013

Hope you all have a great Holiday season folks!!!!

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Bally Road Runner Electro Mechanical Racer

4 09 2013

Well, you don’t see one of these babies very day… In fact, the one and only time I saw one of these was in a train station in Ottawa, Ontario thirty-seven years ago. And then again on August 27, 2013 when we visited the awesome Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. This is a neat take on racing and Interestingly, the car that you control is projected on a piece of glass in a kind of ghostly manner, and when you crash, which I did continuously, that ghost car is seen tumbling. Unfortunately that did not show up in this video.





Bally Astrocade – I Finally Have One!!!

19 04 2013

CameraZOOM-20130418024243585There are few classic consoles that I lust after. One of those systems has always been the Bally Astrocade, and now I have one.

The Astrocade was released in 1978 and was very poorly marketed. At first only available through mail order and then later marketed poorly in small computer stores (though I saw it at a super drug mart called London Drugs in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada). It didn’t help that it was marketed more as a home computer than a gaming console, which it really is.

A contemporary of the original Atari 2600/VCS CameraZOOM-20130418024537977and Intellivision, it surpassed both in graphic and sound capabilities. The Astrocade got very few arcade ports, though it had a few great clones of classic games such as Galactic Invasion, a Galaxian clone, and The Incredible Wizard, a spot on clone of Wizard of Wor and Astro. The only true arcade port that I’ve seen is Space Fortress and is almost spot on. The Astrocade’s controllers were unique in that they resembled a revolver pistols handle with a small orange nub at the top that works as the joystick that can also be twisted to be used as a paddle controller. They are both unique and comfortable to use. The cartridges look surprisingly like audio cassettes, though they are solid state cartridges like other systems. There is a compartment at the top end of the system where you store the cartridges. And, being a console of the late 1970’s, it sports a great fake wood finish!

CameraZOOM-20130418024420711I acquired my Astrocade through a trade done on reddit.coms retrogameswap page. The guy I traded with, Chuck traded his Astrocade with a crap load of games for my NEC TurboDuo. I know the TurboDuo is worth more if I were to sell, but the Astrocade is worth more to me as a collectible. The system was clean and in perfect working condition. All the game, except one work perfectly, and the one that isn’t working is a math game so I am not upset. The one game I really want, The Incredible Wizard was not part of the haul, but I have purchased a copy via Ebay, and am eagerly awaiting it’s arrival and this evening I also added Pinball to my Ebay purchases. I’d also love to get a copy of Muncher, an amazing Pacman clone that was released for the system, but the only times I’ve seen it on Ebay, the seller wanted a lot more than I’ve been willing to pay. There are also a few home brew games out there, including absolutely amazing versions of the arcade classics, Crazy Climber and War, a Warlords clone.

I am so happy with this trade.

Here is a video of me demonstrating the games that came with it:





The Arcade’s Robot Ancestors: Electro Mechanical Games

3 09 2012

When I was really young (in the very early 1970s), there was a style of game arcade game that would seem alien to most gamers of today: electro mechanical games. Preceding the [commercial] video game, they were arcade games that utilized motorized mechanical bits and lighting effects to create a gaming experience.

Humongous, noisy cabinets with flashing lights and sirens recreated everything from naval battles to horse and motorcycle races with varying degrees of success and or failure. Companies like SEGA (among many other companies) with their 1968 game, Periscope, bridged the gap between pinball and videogames.

The specific games that I recall playing as a kid were a motor cycle game with model bikes, a lunar landing game with a model of the moon and a replica lunar lander on a cable, and a cool (for the time) car chase game called The Car where a movie clip played of a chase scene (you’re following a orange car) and you have to move the steering wheel back and forth to keep from…uh… hitting the sides of the road and traffic. If you went off track a loud grating noise was heard and an orange light flashed. It was simple but I was young and easily impressed by shiny things. I still am, actually.

There was a lot of ingenuity and hard work put into these machines and few survived the years due to the fact that moving parts break down and become scarce and eventually impossible to replace in time.

Actually, a number of electromechanical games made it to the home in the form od various racing, bowling and other games, including a mechanical representation of Pong called Blip.

If you ever get a chance to play one of these machines, I definitely suggest it. Check out some videos below of some different machines that were out in the wild, back in the past.

 

Missile (1969) Sega
Captain Kid Light Gun Game (1966)
Space Flight (1969) Bally
Hill Climb (1972) Bally
Moto Champ (1973) Sega
American Indy
Silver Gloves (1948) Mutoscope
Panzer Attack (1974) Midway
Sonar (1972) Sega