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This may be the most racist, sexist, violent video game EVER (and it’s almost 35 years old)
06.16.2016
11:51 am

Topics:
Feminism
Games
History
Race

Tags:


 
Despite exaggerations to the contrary, very few video games actually portray sexual assault. Sure, there’s a ton of murder, and definitely lots of gendered violence, but games that write in actual sexual violence are quite rare, which is actually sort of surprising when you learn about Custer’s Revenge.

The game, which came in in 1982 for the Atari 2600 and cost a whopping $49.95 (making it the priciest of Atari games then on the market), had a very simple premise: you are a naked, erection-wielding General Custer and you must avoid a volley of arrows in order to to rape a Native American who is—as indicated by the cover art—tied to a pole. Yeah, that’s it.

Custer’s Revenge was an early attempt to create and market “adult” video games, but promotion was difficult, especially since Mystique, the publishers and developers of the game, made it very clear that the game was “NOT FOR SALE TO MINORS.” In order to drum up publicity, Mystique actually showed the game to women’s and Native American groups, who were quick to give them free press with outraged protests. Feminist Andrea Dworkin even argued that Custer’s Revenge “generated many gang rapes of Native American women,” a claim that is difficult to prove, to say the least. Compared to say Pac-Man, the best-selling Atari 2600 game of all time, which sold 7 million, Custer’s Revenge was small potatoes, only selling 80,000 total. Regardless, the backlash most certainly helped move copies that might have otherwise simply collected dust on the shelf.
 

 
So how does Custer’s Revenge hold up nowadays? Despite the stomach-turning “plot,” the game actually manages to be so very comically low-rent that it falls very short of anything that is actually visually lurid. I mean you really have to use your imagination to connect those abrupt little pixels to the historic atrocities of the sexual violence and genocide exacted against Native Americans. They just didn’t quite have the technology to really depict any detail at the time, a fact which allowed game designer Joel Miller to maintain plausible deniability, claiming that the woman was a “willing participant” (this despite the game’s title and cover art). Nonetheless, Mystique later released a companion game, General Retreat, featuring the Native American woman attempting to rape Custer under cannonball fire, which, I guess, was an attempt at equality?
 

Ah, such innocent times! When the libidinal horrors of entertainment were technologically limited to blocky little boners and booties!
 
It’s possible that protests eventually staved off sales of the game, but what’s more likely is that no one really wanted to play it. PC World magazine named it the third worst game of all time, adding to the obvious objections that it was extremely difficult to play and it just looked terrible. The underground infamy of of Custer’s Revenge outlasted the game itself, inspiring a much more graphic remake in 2008, which was notably protested by a indigenous activists, including a female game designer and a video game journalist. Eventually pressure from activists got the game removed from the internet in 2014 (though I doubt too many people felt its loss).

More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Groove-tastic French playing cards from the 1960s
06.07.2016
01:51 pm

Topics:
Design
Games

Tags:


 
I love everything about this great deck of incredible playing cards that I found at Flickr, they were put up by a user named taffeta whose real name is apparently Patricia M.

They were made by a company called Stemm in France, or maybe S.L.C. Atlanta was the company and Stemm was the product line? I don’t know. The deck seems heavily influenced by Peter Max and the geniuses responsible for the movie Yellow Submarine but it’s impossible to know.
 

 
In France the terms club, heart, spade, and diamond translate to trèfle, coeur, pique, and carreau. Meanwhile King, Queen, and Jack are represented as Roi, Dame, et Valet.

The faces are on the cards are French pop stars including Françoise Hardy, France Gall, Johnny Hallyday, Eddy Mitchell, Sylvie Vartan, Sheila, and so on. I’m pretty hopeless at matching the Google pics of those folks with these pics, so I’ll take their word for it. (Feel free to solve the puzzle in comments.)

In my opinion it’s more fun not knowing who the people are—it turns the deck into a gallery of random 60s swingers…...

For a nearly full deck, check out taffeta’s page.
 

 

 
Much more after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Imaginary pinball machines of Hawkwind, The Stooges, Jim Jones, and more
05.23.2016
08:58 am

Topics:
Art
Games

Tags:


 
If you’re as much of a pinball nut as I am, you’ll flip over these fantasy back glass illustrations by Charlie Fogel.

Illustrator/cartoonist, Fogel has loads of amazing work on his Plop Culture Prints Facebook page, but these imaginary pinball games are something special. I’ve been hooked since seeing the first one in his series, Jonestown, featuring a grinning Jim Jones holding a silver ball and dishing out Flavor Aid to busty beauties.

Since that first piece, Fogel has created five more fantasy machines depicting, in order of their release, the band Hawkwind, Jodorowsky’s arthouse classic Holy Mountain, notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, the nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll, and a Stooges Funhouse piece.

Fogel told Dangerous Minds a bit about the pinball series:

I was lucky enough to grow up with a pinball machine in my house that my dad inherited from the firehouse where he tended bar—I’m just now realizing how the countless hours of staring at it informed the way I draw. I got the idea for these at the Pinball Museum here in Asbury Park, looking at how random and awkward a lot of the subject matter of the old machines are. They’re the basest of advertising art, using totally overt sex, violence, bright lights and loud noises to stand out in a crowded bar or arcade. It’s a perfect vehicle to keep addressing the stuff I’m obsessed with (Jim Jones, for instance) without repeating myself or others work on the subject. It’s also cool because all the machines of that era, from the design down to the electronics, are totally analog—but still manage to overpower your senses without any slick computerized fluff. That really appeals to me as someone who works almost completely in analog methods and materials.

All of these illustrations are 12 inches square, mixed media on Bristol board. Fogel is planning to create six to ten more similar pieces to present in a gallery setting. Until then, you can view his work on his Facebook page or his website plopcultureprints.com.
 

 

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More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
This ‘Twin Peaks’/‘Clue’ mashup board game needs to be mass produced like NOW
05.19.2016
12:28 pm

Topics:
Games
Television

Tags:


 
Very much like “Monopoly,” the enduringly popular board game “Clue” (known as “Cluedo” in the civilized world) has goosed its sales by offering niche-y special editions, mostly for franchises with heavy geek appeal—Firefly, Harry Potter, D&D, Game of Thrones, even that god damn Big Bang Theory crap. But somehow the gaming world has been mighty lean on Twin Peaks tie-ins. I searched in vain for board games, card games, video games, anything. I find this baffling—a murder mystery with a massive ensemble of odd characters would seem a natural for a board game, but evidently the only one that ever existed was regarded very poorly and is now a bit difficult to come by, even in internetland.

So I would Kickstart the absolute living hell out of this: way back in 2007, a Craftster forum user by the handle of “riverwatson” posted a detourned Twin Peaks version of “Clue,” renaming the conservatory, kitchen, study et al things like “The Red Room,” “One Eyed Jack’s,” “The Palmer Residence,” and subbing the show’s characters in for Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard. (I hope it goes without saying that Laura Palmer is Mr. Boddy?)
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘It’s Pie Face!’: Hasbro’s sadomasochistic kids’ game, 1968
04.21.2016
10:09 am

Topics:
Amusing
Games

Tags:


 
What’s more fun than humiliating yourself in front of friends and family with a self-inflicted pie in your face?

“Pie Face,” made by Hassenfeld Bros (now Hasbro) in 1968, was a cream pie game version of Russian roulette.

...you placed a whipped cream “pie” on the launcher, then took turns spinning to find out how many times to crank the launcher’s handles. It was randomly set to let the pie fly into the player’s face, positioned within the target.

According to the box “Pie Face” is “The most fun-filled action GAME you’ve ever played!”


 
The “loser” of this variation on the Russian roulette theme is kind of the winner, though, ‘cause at least they get to eat some pie and not die.
 

 
The whole “goo in the face” aspect of the song lyrics in the “Pie Face” commercial jingle would probably have to be revisited if they ever revive this game… And what’s a “mystery handle” aside from a great name for a punk band?
 

 
Via Tracy’s Toys and h/t Richard Swanson

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Dude, you will get SO LAID at the mall arcade wearing this Pac-Man suit
04.12.2016
09:05 am

Topics:
Fashion
Games
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
Opposuits, the company that brought you the “Cannaboss” pot-leaf suit, is back at it again with the ultimate in retro tacky-chic.

For the stylish young man stricken with Pac-Man Fever, Opposuits offers this sharp-cut jacket with matching pants and tie covered in Pac-Man graphics. The iconic maze, dots, power-pellets, Inky, Pinky, Blinky, Clyde, and Pakku-Man himself are all represented. The full suit runs $109.99. That seems rather inexpensive to me, but then again I’m not so sure how much use one would get out of a full Pac-Man suit… But maybe you’re that guy who likes to look GQ at the arcade on weekends—you just know that when the gamer-babes see you in this, you’re guaranteed to get SO LAID.
 

 
May we recommend that the gentleman set it off with a pair of custom high-top Pac-Man sneakers?
 

Shoes available at Amazon.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Like ‘Monopoly,’ but with drugs: Play ‘Feds ‘n’ Heads’ with the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
04.08.2016
08:40 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs
Games

Tags:


Phineas, Fat Freddy and Freewheelin’ Franklin unwind with a game of Feds ‘n’ Heads
 
Feds ‘n’ Heads, the pot-dealing board game invented by Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers creator Gilbert Shelton, was released as a special insert in the September 1971 issue of Playboy. (It’s rumored that a boxed version of the game was also manufactured, but if so, copies appear to be quite scarce.) High rollers, so to speak, can procure that issue of Playboy for a few bucks online, while dirtbags like me can print out the board, cards and tokens for free through the good offices of Freaknet.
 

 
Even if Feds ‘n’ Heads did not bear a striking resemblance to Monopoly—in place of the Chance and Community Chest cards, for example, there are “Weird Trips” and “Burns, Busts, Bummers & Ripoffs” piles—the game would still be inviting to the resin-smudged and short-term memory impaired, not to mention the resin-smudged. Its rules are simple and few. Note that you are not discouraged from “liberating” the necessary materials from your parents’ Monopoly set, or, for that matter, playing for real money and cannabis:

1. Before starting, you will need a pair of DICE, a TOKEN for each player (any number can play) and $100 per player, plus several hundred dollars for the bank, in fake or real MONEY—in denominations of ones, fives, tens and twenties. You can make your own money out of pieces of paper or you can get everything you need by ripping off a Monopoly set.

2. The WINNER is the player who, moving his token the number shown on the dice in any direction (except on one-way streets), manages to SCORE (collect) a KEY (one kilogram—35 ounces or “lids”) of GRASS and get back HOME with it. (With four players, this usually takes a couple of hours; for a shorter version, you can lower the required number of lids to 25 or 30.) Keep track of your scores with paper clips, matches or, if you’re into it, real lids.

3. Grass (weed, hemp, marijuana, etc.) is acquired by landing directly on a numbered space. You may BUY up to as many ounces as indicated by the number. To find how much you will PAY per ounce, roll the dice again, and pay that amount in dollars.

4. One player has to adopt the role of FAT BANKER. He holds all the money not in play. Players start out at home with $100. Whenever you land on or pass through home thereafter, you may collect $50 from the Fat Banker. At this time you may also STASH whatever grass you have, which then may no longer be taken from you by any means.

5. If you land on the same space as another player, he has to give you one of his ounces.

6. If you land in JAIL, you can get out free on your next turn if you roll a double. Otherwise, it will cost you $50 or five lids.

 

 
Keep reading, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Awesome vintage ouija boards
04.04.2016
04:20 pm

Topics:
Design
Games
History
Occult

Tags:


Mecca Answer Board, Lee Industries, Chicago, c. 1940
 
There are two facts that a visit to the incredibly terrific Museum of Talking Boards website will cement in any viewer—the high point for ouija consumption was the 1940s and Chicago was the place where most ouija boards were manufactured.

The Museum of Talking Boards has done an excellent job wrangling what must be a chaotic field with a lot of damaged or substandard exemplars. Every board is lovingly photographed, and informational details about the time and place each board was created are always easy to find. Truly, a tremendous job.

These images are enough to drive me to eBay, where you can get many of these design marvels for prices ranging between $20 and $500.

ADIOS, FAREWELL, AU REVOIR, LATER DUDE, RECEPTION BAD, uhhhh, STATIC?
 

Black Magic Talking board, Gift Craft, Chicago, c. 1944
 

Crystal Gazer, A Barrel of Fun, c. 1940
 

Father Time Mystery Talking Board, T. Eaton Company, Toronto, 1945
 

Guiding Star Board, Palmer and Associates, Chicago
 
Many more after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Exquisite bloodstained Italian giallo-themed playing cards
04.01.2016
09:11 am

Topics:
Games
Movies

Tags:


 
The Italian “giallo” genre of highly-stylized, gruesome, murder-mystery thrillers is the subject of a new product being produced by Cultzilla in the UK. Cinquanta due carte all ‘ombra di giallo!’ is a stunning deck of giallo-themed playing cards housed in a classy custom designed box. The gorgeous deck is currently available for pre-order and all profits from the sale will go to two autism charities (Autism Anglia and Swedish Autism and Asperger Association).

The point cards are all posters from giallo films, while the ace cards are all murder weapons.

The jacks are actors Fabio Testi, Jean Sorel, Ivan Rassimov, and George Hilton. The queen cards are actresses Edwige Fenech, Anita Strindberg, Florinda Bolkan, and Barbara Bouchet. The kings are directors Mario Bava, Dario Argento, Sergio Martino, and Lucio Fulci.
 

 
According to their site, the cards are available for pre-order until April 24th:

This is strictly a charity project, and no one is taking any profit from it. The pre order will remain open until 24th April, then I will order the decks, each one will be numbered and there will be no more print runs, so this is definitely a one off project, so if you want a deck, make sure you preorder it.  I would expect to send out the decks at the beginning of May.

The design work on these beauties is absolutely exquisite. The decks are priced at £12.50 each plus postage. Details are available at Cultzilla.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse’ trading cards were the absolute best, right? You betcha!
03.28.2016
09:48 am

Topics:
Art
Games
Television

Tags:


 
Last week it seemed like all of America (certainly everyone on my Facebook feed) had taken time out to enjoy the latest installment of insanity from Pee-wee Herman, as Netflix started streaming Pee-wee’s Big Holiday on March 18. I thought it would be a good moment to look back at one of the most exceptional aspects of Pee-wee’s original TV show Pee-wee’s Playhouse that doesn’t get talked about so much anymore, that being the utterly amazing set of trading cards that Topps unveiled to promote the show in 1988.

Seriously, I don’t think trading cards ever got any better than this.

Every package of the Pee-wee’s Playhouse trading cards was conceived as a “Fun Pak” that included a mishmash of items, including cards, stickers, temporary tattoos, and curious little lenticular images. It was truly a bounty—every single package came with enough brightly colored whimsy and silly puns to satisfy even the most immature middle schooler.

This is what a package (in rear) and its typical contents looked like:
 

 
A blog dedicated to the “Topps Archives” provides some crucial detail to the way this set worked, calling it “one of the most innovative sets [Topps] ever produced.” The good writer, going by “toppcat,” points out that “an artist, puppet master and set designer named Wayne White had something to do with the quirky look of the show and presumably the design of the cards. ... Pee-wee’s Playhouse must have been a risk as the show was mid-run in 1988 but that did not stop the creative team from going bonkers.”

The set featured bewildering variety for those accustomed to a simple 34-card series of Planet of the Apes images or whatever. No, the Pee-wee’s Playhouse cards defied the entire concept of sequence lists and categories, with confusingly repeating and mismatched fronts and backs and subsets, which leads to explanations like this: “The lovely Miss Yvonne, the Most Beautiful Woman in Puppetland is not actually #3, that is merely her sub-series number; a total of six represent various characters. Another sub-series is the multi-sticker, of which there are eight….”

The set included puzzle cards, temporary tattoos, activity cards, stickers, “nutty initials” (this one being a reworking of a 1967 Topps series), wigglers, “flying things” cards, playhouse foldies, puppet cards, door cards, disguise cards, and who knows what else!

As an adult looking back on these images, it’s impossible not to see it as the entire run of Art Spiegelman’s RAW repurposed and made accessible (and just as importantly, made more FUN!) for the brighter-than-average teen. The importance of Gary Panter in defining the Pee-wee aesthetic has been well documented, but these cards also featured the artistic input of such comix stalwarts as KAZ and Charles Burns.

Seldom has the trading card public been as dazzled by so much generous variety within a single line! Every single card is brimming with an infectious vitality.
 

 
Much, much more after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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