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Awesome vintage ouija boards
04.04.2016
04:20 pm

Topics:
Design
Games
History
Occult

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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
Growing up in arcades: 1979-1989
03.22.2016
11:42 am

Topics:
Games
Pop Culture

Tags:

image
 
Goddamn, do these photos bring back memories! I mean, this is exactly what it looked like in the ‘70s and ‘80s hanging out at arcades. I never really played the games back then as I wasn’t very good at them, but I did hang out with friends who did. I guess you could say I was an “arcade lurker.” This is all there was to do back then. This or going to “the mall.” Then again many arcades were in malls, weren’t they?

Anyway, Growing Up In Arcades is a delightful Flickr pool dedicated to all the arcades “that consumed much of our time and quarters back in the 80s.” The Flickr page is always “looking for scans of vintage games in the wild. So if you have old arcade or Chuck E Cheese birthday pics, dig ‘em up! They belong here.”

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More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Board game based on Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’
03.15.2016
10:35 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Drugs
Games
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
We’ve blogged about this wicked-cool board game—loosely based off of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream—by artist Alyx Baldwin back in 2009, but I see it’s making the rounds again. Plus I think it’s time to give this game another go-round because it deserves the attention. Just look at how much thought and consideration was put into this board game! 

It’s really a work of art.


 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Californium’: Finally, the ultimate video game tribute to the worlds of Philip K. Dick
01.21.2016
01:42 pm

Topics:
Games
Literature
Science/Tech

Tags:


 
When you go to the website for Californium, the first words you see are “If you find this world bad, you should see some of the others,” which is the title of a talk Philip K. Dick gave in France in 1977.

Californium is a game produced by Darjeeling and Nova Production, and published by ARTE, the Strasbourg-based French-German TV channel dedicated to the arts. It seems exceedingly likely that this game will prove to be the most sustained tribute to the works of Philip K. Dick in the video game idiom.

Both movies and video games have proven fertile settings for Dick’s apocalyptic visions, even if the path from book to final product has often been treacherous. From Blade Runner and Total Recall to The Adjustment Bureau, there seems to be no Dick work that can’t have its title changed on the way to becoming a major motion picture (okay, okay, Minority Report and A Scanner Darkly kept their original names, anyway). As for video games, John Saavedra argues that Eidos, makers of Deus Ex, might just be “Phillip K Dick’s greatest students.”
 

 
The tagline for the game is “Explore the worlds of Californium, a first person exploration game where you are a writer trapped into shifting realities. Will you find what’s behind the simulacra?” which puts us squarely in that familiar PKD “Got-here-30-years-before-The-Matrix” world in which every innocuous American surface is but cloak for a more terrifying reality.

For the position of as art director, the developers have chosen Olivier Bonhomme to help create the distinctive feel of a Philip K. Dick book.

Here’s the “synopsis” for the game:
 

Berkeley, 1967. You are Elvin Green, a writer whose career is not better than his sentimental life. Besides, the day starts badly : your wife Thea left you a break up letter. As for Eddy, your editor, he summons you : “you are a writer who does not write”—you should find yourself another editor. Your world is falling apart. Too much acid and cheap booze ? Too many sleepless nights stuck to your typewriter, powerless to tackle your first novel ? Your brain perceives a signal, the Theta—which seems connected to your collapsing emotional state—shows that there could be a way out: this world is unstable, you can extract yourself from it and thus access another reality! You have nothing to lose!

 
Californium is expected to be available for the PC in a few months.

Here’s a teaser video for the game followed by several mouth-watering screenshots:

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Make Captain Kirk slap the shit out of himself when you play ‘Slap Kirk’!
12.10.2015
04:42 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Games
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:


 
Here’s a wonderful bit of holiday stress relief—make Captain James T. Kirk slap the shit out of himself.

Go directly to SlapKirk.com, hit “play”, and then move your mouse pointer from side to side.

I… just… can’t… stop… slapping.

How many slaps per second can you get?
 

 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
If you played the old Nintendo ‘Friday the 13th’ game, this is the best thing you’ll see all day
11.05.2015
08:49 am

Topics:
Games
Movies

Tags:


 
The purple and teal Jason Voorhees Nintendo game figure that was introduced at the 2013 Dan Diego Comic-Con resurrected a great deal of interest in the 1989 Friday the 13th NES video game—considered by many to be one of the worst video games of all time.
 

 
The notoriously stupid, extremely difficult game has achieved a kind of fandom for being so utterly terrible and is held in the same sort of esteem that Atari’s infamous E.T. game is among vintage game aficionados. The fact that the Friday the 13th film franchise has so many die-hard fans insures its popularity, even if 8 bit purple Jason and his mother’s floating severed head aren’t exactly terrifying. And let’s not forget about that classic bum-out end screen:
 

 
The fans at YouTube channel Maga64 have created a faux trailer for an imagined movie version of the video game (complete with old-school VHS tracking adjustment issues) and they totally nail every inexplicable aspect of the gameplay (right down to the cleaver that looks like a toothbrush). If you are a fan of the movie series or the video game, this may very well be the funniest thing you see all day.
 

 
Via: ihorror.com. H/T: Mike Bracken

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Super Cooper World’: a map of Twin Peaks, Super Mario style
10.21.2015
10:27 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Games
Television

Tags:


 
2015 marks twenty-five years since the debut of both Twin Peaks and the Super NES game console, and evidently, both of those things have some devoted fans at a creative agency called Beutler Ink. In celebration, they’ve produced a Twin Peaks town map in the 8-bit graphics style of Super Mario Bros., which turns thirty this year. Feel old?
 

 

 
Giclée prints in various sizes and the usual array of print-on-demand apparel are available from Society 6. Here’s the whole map. Clicking spawns a readable enlargement.
 

 
Via Welcome to Twin Peaks

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Michael Jackson battles Michael Jackson in this dance-off video game
09.30.2015
01:52 pm

Topics:
Dance
Games
Science/Tech

Tags:


 
For the video game design competition Duplicade, which I mentioned in yesterday’s post about Fire Dance with Me, an enjoyable video game about Twin Peaks, Aaron Meyers came up with an infectious game called Michael E Michael, in which Michael Jackson has a Tekken-style dance-off against Michael Jackson. As I noted yesterday, the game “must tread dangerously into the intellectual property of an existing game or game franchise, but be cleverly altered and culturally mangled enough to not be worth the effort to sue,” which Michael E Michael clearly does.

The rules of Duplicade require games to be head-to-head games in which the WASD and arrow keys control movement for Player A and Player B, and also that the game declare a winner within the first 30 seconds. In the game, the two players control identical versions of The Gloved One from the video “Smooth Criminal” while that selfsame infectious song pulsates away.
 

 
Using various moves you can kick your opponent, execute a spin (which spawns a bunch of tiny Michaels to scatter away from the main avatar), and so forth until the loser is identified and the winning Jackson (of course) transforms into an awesome jet and flies away.

The original “Smooth Criminal” video after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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