I did not know that there was a Journey arcade and home game released by Bally Midway in 1983. There was! Created after the success of the band’s Escape and Frontiers albums, apparently the home game was a monumental flop, but the arcade game had a mild success throughout the US.
The object of the game was to reunite the band with their instruments—and honey-voiced Steve Perry with his microphone—whilst listening to a shitty 8-bit version of “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
The only known arcade in America that is still pimpin’ an operational Journey game is Extra Play, located in Ruston, Louisiana.
And if you’re like “OMG I MUST own one!” you can contact Chris Smith whose friend has a “Journey arcade for sale. It is in excellent condition, and fully functional. He is asking $1,000 or o.b.o. You can reach Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
I haven’t been this excited about a corporate video game since “Kool-Aid Man.” I’m putting “West Virginia Mountain Topper”, “Exxon Tanker Pilot”, and “McDonalds Minimum Wage Simulator” and this on my wish list.
The Blackwater video game came out in 2011 and was a total flop. At the time, Blackwater founder Erik Prince, told Boston.com that the Blackwater first-person shooter game aimed for fun, not controversy:
“It’s a game. This is not a training device. This is not a simulator. We’re not doing this to teach folks how to conduct military operations in an urban terrain. That’s not it at all. This is more along the lines of kids running around their neighborhood playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians.”
If their neighborhood happened to be in North Africa and their neighbors all warlords and drug kingpins…
the difference between this and GTA is that GTA is massive parody of American pop culture. The cities, people, vehicles, are all parodies of their real life counterparts.
This travesty is encouraging REAL scumbags who like to kill REAL people for the fuck of it. I wish we had a GTA game that let you kill Blackwater assholes..
And HisEmptyHouse wrote:
It’s good to know if I commit terrible war crimes I can look forward to an official Kinect game based on my horrifying and inhuman actions.
A Craigslist ad from the infamously post-industrial city of Youngstown, Ohio advertises a sad DIY gamer’s “Personal Gaming Module” for $2,500, with the following specs:
Personal Gaming Module. aka “The Box”
Weatherproof Camo Exterior
Custom seating for one or two adults.
900 watts 5.1 Dolby Digital surround with fiber optic connections.
100 watt powered subwoofer.
HD LCD TV on adjustable Omnimount
XBox 360 with protective enclosure.
Rubber lined spill proof floor.
Black fleece inner wall lining.
A/C and Heat.
Steel casters for easy moving, around garage, driveway, etc.
Original Model available. One of a kind Military Theme.
Serious inquiries only.
$2500 delivered within 100 miles of Youngstown.
I want to rag on this thing as the nadir of a gormless gamer culture, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe it’s the fact that I admire ambitious utopian projects, and this feels akin to one. It could be the opus of a dreamer, someone with tenacity and a resourceful mind.
Maybe it’s the solidarity I felt with gamers ever since that year of unemployment after college, spent doing virtually nothing but applying for jobs, accruing mass, and playing “Twilight Princess.”
Maybe the idea of sequestering technological entertainment in a creepy fallout shelter leaves me concerned for the socialization of its would-be inhabitants. The ”Custom seating for one or two adults“ feels like some sort of tragic Waiting for Godot optimism. And don’t even want to speculate on why they might need a “Rubber lined spill proof floor.”
Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s in Youngstown, Ohio—a city so depressing its latest survival technique (in addition to hydrofracking) is bulldozing its abandoned houses like the amputation of gangrenous limbs.
I don’t really know, but the thing leaves me with an uneasy melancholy, so I’m just going to hope that whoever ends up with this creation, this audiovisual womb, is soothed and entertained to the fullest extent.
It’s been said that Mexican juggler Rudy Cárdenas rehearsed 9-5 everyday, then went on and performed his act in the evening. Now that’s dedication.
During his long career, Cárdenas was a major star of stage and TV variety shows, from the 1950s-1980s, and he was regularly considered the world’s greatest juggler. But don’t take my word for it, judge for yourself.
The narrator, Yama, named for the Hindu god of death, berates your attempts to help the suicidal
Sunil Rao is studying Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago; he’s also as self-described “Gonzo game developer.” In the space of four weeks, Rao created “Inner Vision,” a game/art project/social statement that manages to defy all three categories. From his website:
The main goal of the game is to convince three people not to commit suicide. Each person has a personality, set of problems, and issues that are specific to their character. You, as the player, get to interact with each person, and need to extract information about the character through conversation. Here’s the catch: These people are on the verge of suicide. If you say the wrong things to them while talking, they will kill themselves right there on the spot.
It’s a simple game with crude graphics and a completely psychological game-play, but it’s undeniably engaging, and somehow… reassuring? We have a tendency to blame technology for our feelings of isolation, so while it’s initially unsettling to play a “game” about suicide, especially a video game, the empathy and humanity that the Inner Vision forces you to engage with are disarmingly heartfelt.
Sunil is quick to point out that his game isn’t really supposed to be a teaching tool, but a mode of self-expression and communication with players/audience.
Inner Vision wasn’t supposed to become popular. I created it for myself to express some dying thoughts I’ve had for the past several months. I had a message I was trying to portray with the game, but didn’t think anybody would understand it due to the poor script I had written. Well, I guess I was wrong. Although I personally think the script is weak, a lot of people thought it was quite good, and they connected with the characters.
As self-critical as Rao is, I think the simplicity of the dialogue and graphics actually keeps the gaming experience starkly penetrant. The only refined adornment the game has is a dreamy string score.
What toys would the 3 Wise Men bring the infant Jesus today? Certainly not the body lotion, jewelry or cologne they gave upon that first Christmas night.
According to this short film report, from 1975, toy manufacturers would have a pretty good idea what to give, as they already know the kinds of gifts they will be foisting onto kiddies as Xmas presents years in advance.
But before we get too cynical, a newly published survey of British children has revealed that not all children are so predictable in their wishes. Top of UK children’s Christmas list was a baby brother or sister, next a reindeer, followed by a horse, and a car (ambitious little things aren’t they?). While a ‘Dad’ was number 10, and a ‘Mum’ was 23rd. It would seem for some children that good relationships with humans or animals are far more important than owning a ‘Gangnam’ Furby or a Doc McStuffin’s Time for Your Check-Up Doll, which let’s be honest can only be good for us all.
I’ve been looking for a full set of the 1978 board game, Class Struggle, for years. While I hear it’s actually really boring to play, the camp value is undeniable. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find one with nothing missing, and we cannot stand for a piecemeal revolution! From the box:
To prepare for life in capitalist America - An educational game for kids from 8 to 80.
This game is a vehicle for instructing students (there is a classroom section in the rules) on why Marxism is superior. The Workers move around a board while trying to survive against the Capitalist who control everything. As the Workers unite they take power from the Capitalist players but if they do not succeed in uniting the Capitalist will win.
Class Struggle reflects the real struggle between the classes in our society.
THE OBJECT OF THE GAME IS TO WIN THE REVOLUTION . . .
Until then, classes—represented by different players—advance around the board, making and breaking alliances, and picking up strengths and weaknesses that determine the outcome of the elections and general strikes which occur along the way.
A workers’ political party, you say?!?
An ad for the German version
Italian version of the game, with deceptively kind-looking capitalist / imperialist pig-dog, Jimmy Carter
Despite the perception of the USSR as a colorless model of utilitarianism, when we get a peek at some of the stuff it produced, we find all sorts of innovative artifacts. The Museum of Soviet Arcade Games resides in the basement of an engineering school in Moscow. Run by Maxim Pinigin and Alexander Stakhanov, it contains about 20 working machines, with 20 more under repair. The pair run the museum as a functioning arcade, open to the public, seven days a week.
The game above is called Morskoi Boy, literally “Sea Battle.” Of course, being Soviet, it was was government-produced, making use of national manufacturing. So, it was actually made in a submarine factory, and the periscope is an actual submarine periscope. While presumptuous American minds frequently ask if this was some sort of Cold War training machine, Pinigin and Stakhanov insist that the game was just for fun and entertainment.
In fact, like a lot of Soviet arcade games, Morskoi Boy is a direct knock-off of a (decadent) American console, (though with a heaping helping of Soviet charm). This is all the more surreal when you consider the omnipresence of The Cold War; the kids who played Sea Battle in the U.S. could have very well been imagining Russians manning the ships they torpedoed, all the while Russian kids were playing the exact same game, perhaps fantasizing Americans as their targets.
If you can’t make it out to Moscow, the video below shows the game in action, and the website has a fun (and addictive) flash facsimile. So go shoot some battleships! Just try not to think too hard about who you’re shooting at.
40 years ago today, with only a $500 out-of-pocket investment, engineers Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney introduced Pong to the market on the Atari game system. From those two humble lines and a single, noble dot came a great pioneer in computer, arcade, and console gaming. Atari is even where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple got their start.
If you have a moment, I highly recommend the documentary below. Even if you aren’t into games, the ads and moral panic (the kids’ brains will turn to mush!) are incredibly entertaining. (It does not, however, make a much-needed apology for that Sisyphean E.T. the Extraterrestrial game, but we can only hope to live through certain catastrophes.)
The Timothy Leary papers amount to 412 linear feet of letters, manuscripts, research documents, notes, legal and financial records, printed materials, photographs, video and audio tapes, CDs and DVDs, posters and flyers, and artifacts, dating from Leary’s youth in the 1920s until his death in 1997.
What’s even cooler, however, is that they just came across a little-known Nintendo component called a Power Glove. You may remember it from the movie, The Wizard, which I watched at least 5,000 times as a kid.
Power Glove was a fairly esoteric, expensive, and rare precursor to the Wii, so not a lot of people had one. This is probably a good thing, because I understand the technology wasn’t quite developed yet to make it any more than a cumbersome bother to use. Regardless, it’s fun (though not surprising) to know that Leary jumped on the video game gadgetry bandwagon early.