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Flappy Bird Versus E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Which Is Worse?

5 Feb

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On Superbowl Sunday, I was at a chili cookoff at a sports bar, because why the fuck not. Thing is tho, I… can’t even try to get into the sports. Not even a gender thing (maybe) it just never did anything for me. So despite stuffing my face with near-limitless delicious spicy free food and understanding the team I was supposed to be rooting for was *annihilating* their opponent, my attention span was drifting. So, like the glutton for punishment I am, I decided to take on this game that goddamn near everyone is wailing about.

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This unholy affront to God and nature is Flappy Bird, a game that’s exploded into popularity so fast even the developer is baffled and terrified by it’s success. It’s an excruciatingly repetitive afterthought of a game where you have to give a bug-eyed bird constant screen-tapping reassurance or it falls into lethal despair.

ETflap3Um, bro, you seem to have forgotten how to bird.

Combine that with the actual worst collision detection I’ve seen since Master Chu And The Drunkard Hu, and you get the picture. It combines all the fun of Balloon Fight with… oh wait, Balloon Fight sucked and was the opposite of fun. Twenty years ago, a game like this would have been stuffed on a cartridge with at least 40 other abortions and had a cheetah on the cover. In this first post-Luigi year, a game like this is considered an effective standalone. How times have changed.

ETflap4Come the fuck on. Are these pipes solid or not?

I’m pretty sure high scores on this game could be used as a measurement for masochism on a fetish dating site.

“Oh, does this riding crop scare you? But you reported a high score of 150 on Flappy Bird, so you obviously enjoy pain more than you’re willing to admit. Bend over.”

Aaaaaanyway…

It makes me think of the downright elusive fickleness of what counts as a “good”, or at least successful, game. Speaking of poor collision detection, repetition, and brutal, unforgiving gameplay, I found myself rethinking the Atari 2600 game E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, widely regarded as the worst game ever made. Like, millions of copies buried in a New Mexico landfill-level awful. It’s a reputation that’s never sat well with me because I always loved it since I was little. It was one of the first “quest” style cartridge games, and one of a handful of Atari games one could actually “beat”. Remember, this game was created by the badass that designed Yar’s Revenge, for fucks sake.

ETflap5It was basically Zelda 4 years before the first Legend Of Zelda.

It had it’s flaws (some of which people more devoted to it than I have worked on fixing), but it really wasn’t all that confusing, especially once you’re familiar with Legend Of Zelda type games. Pre-Zelda, I was addicted to the Apple ][ version of Rogue, which is pretty much the same thing.

In any case, to be a bit more forgiving to Flappy Bird than the Action 52 comparison, it definitely resembles titles from the Atari 2600 in terms of gameplay/difficulty/replay value. I stuck with it long enough to get a personal high score I can live with, and have already deleted it. I guess my masochism has limits.

ETflap6Oh my fuck I hate this game so much. Bye.

 

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WWWTXT (1988-94): A Twitter Archive Of Posts From The Early Internet

9 Dec

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WWWTXT (1988-94) is pretty much what it says on the tin: a regularly updated archive of internet/Usenet/BBS posts from between 1988 and 1994, during the early hatchling days of the consumer internet. It’s a pretty fascinating mix of pomposity, hubris, and more than a little bit of eerie prophecy.

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River City Ransom: Underground. A FOR REAL Licensed Sequel.

9 Dec

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A million years ago (well technically just over five) on my old gaming/vintage/geek culture blog (Maybe) The Dorkiest Thing You’ll See All Day, I posted the story of a scrappy but failed attempt at a River City Ransom sequel. Lo and behold, a new team has managed to get all their ducks in a row to pull this off for real.

rivercityransom2You know it’s legit when Seanbaby is following their official Twitter profile.

They managed to raise $217,643 on their Kickstarter (which I regret having no money to contribute to because some of that swag looked really AWESOME).  Been keeping tabs on them through the aforementioned Twitter account for release dates and stuff.

Visited My Childhood Arcade, And It Wasn’t Too Shabby.

26 Nov

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Before I moved out of Texas and headed out to the Pacific Northwest, I wound up going on some trips to haunts of my adolescence with my brother as a sort of little-bro/big-sis bonding. At one point we wound up at the Killeen Mall, hanging out with an old high school friend.   Mostly, the mall is exactly what you expect:

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But when we found ourselves back at the arcade of our childhood, it was surprisingly fun. But then, spending the day in Killeen, Texas can really throw off your expectations so who can even tell. It was definitely not as depressing as anticipated. Other than the surprising lack of, well, arcade games, there was a lot of fun bright colors and rides. Parts of it looked like they were recovered from a Six Flags or something similar, and there were some games in the back that seemed like downright antiques (but in a creepy, aesthetically pleasing way).  It also included a full indoor black light mini-golf course.

Also, apparently TILT is a franchise.

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THINGS THAT MADE ME GAY: Freddy’s Nightmares 0102 “It’s A Miserable Life”

19 Aug

TRUE STORY: Over a decade or so before Hedwig and the Angry Inch came out, I was having nightmares about John Cameron Mitchell. Specifically, the image that haunted my dreams was this:

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I found this terrifying because I was 11 years old, and 11 year-olds are stupid.

Back in the days when The Simpsons was a sketch on the Tracy Ullman show, FOX was that weird UHF channel you sometimes had to balance your rabbit ears precariously in order to pick up. People remember sitcoms like Married With Children, but few people remember that after 10pm it was all cheezy horror movies all night. The first time I saw films like The Gate and My Bloody Valentine, it was by staying up after the rest of the family went to bed and tuning in FOX. And a few years before I was old enough for my parents to let me see the actual Nightmare On Elm Street movies, I was obsessed with the tv spinoff Freddy’s Nightmares. Again, this is because I was 11, and 11 year olds are stupid.

nightmare30Even for the time, these were not good special effects.

This is the episode I’m talking about, which first aired on Oct 16, 1988:

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This episode introduces the character Bryan Ross, a young man preparing to escape his small town hell and his father’s fast food legacy by going to college. And of course he’s a strapping heterosexual dude, as evidenced by his drive-thru window fantasies of Whitesnake music video extras:

nightmare25“Oh man, I am soo straight… I’m so gonna have dude sex with your lady junk. So straight.”

And his other drive-thru fantasies of getting shot in the face by burly dudes in leather wait what-

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His dad arrives to let him know he has to work all night, which causes him to cancel a date with his totally convincing girlfriend that, for some reason, he can’t kiss without flinching:

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“So straight…”

All this character development or whatever finally builds up to the arrival of Freddy Kreuger to fuck shit all up, because the show is named after him. It was kind of a payoff moment in each episode, since they couldn’t actually show violence. So the big initial reveal comes and it’s  this:

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Do not adjust your television set. That really is Freddy Kreuger, sassily emerging from a vat of french fry grease. Like, for real actually. Seriously. They thought this was such an amazing idea, they actually use the image in the commercial bumpers for the rest of the episode.

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All items on menu are cooked in low-fat nightmare fuel, rather than oil.

So anyway, deep-fried and smelling disturbingly similar to the kitchen of a Chik-Fil-A, Freddy proceeds to wreak havok with Bryan’s psyche.

WARNING: From here on out, it’s all spoilers for a 25 year old television show. If you wanna watch this episode, there’s currently a version uploaded on Youtube here.

So cool, shut the fuck up and  let’s move on.

The fucked-upness goes into overdrive as we explore the intricacies of Bryan Ross’s identity. We see that his father’s temper is, literally, explosive:

nightmare7“Um dad, you want some help?” “No, son, I just had THE BEST IDEA EVER.”

And his mother is, literally, frigid:

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Subtlety wasn’t really a hallmark of this show.

In fact, just earlier when Bryan confronts his mom over her emotional distance, she first turns into a June Cleaver stereotype and then makes out with him:

nightmare13also known as the “Eddiehaskell Complex”

And if you haven’t properly achieved Freudgasm yet, after emasculating him and siding with his parents over his desires for self-agency, his girlfriend does this:

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Ok, come on. They pull this EXACT trick in Hedwig.

And to continue beating a dead horse, by the end,  this happens too because whatever:

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“Get it? The gun is your penis and something something super-ego and FUCK IT YOU’RE DEAD”

I feel the need to take a moment here and point out that the entire plot of this episode actually breaks Elm Street canon mythos in a big way, even for a series that pretty much pulls new powers for Freddy out of their ass every single movie. As far as I know, this is the only instance where Freddy indirectly “kills” someone through the actions of someone else (the guy on the motorcycle shot Bryan in the face). If you think about it, Freddy didn’t really do anything to contribute to Bryan’s death at all besides latch onto his disintegrating ego as he passed away, much like one of the devouring angels from Jacob’s Ladder. Total dick move on his part.

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THINGS THAT MADE ME GAY is a tongue-in-cheek series about suspiciously or snarkily inferred homoerotic content in shows and other media from the 80s/early 90s told through the approximated viewpoint of my younger self. This post is also listed under  STUFF THAT SCARED ME AS A KID because yeah.

So, Like, What The Fuck, Coloring Book From My Childhood?

18 Aug

When I was a kid, I used to have this huge coloring/activity book with an elephant on the cover. It had connect-the-dots and word puzzles, and of course pictures to color. Most of them were nursery rhyme or holiday based, or had some sort of lesson involved. Then, about 3/4 of the way through it, you’re confronted with this ugly motherfucker out of nowhere:

monsters1Just no. Oh my fucking God no.

For something that doesn’t have a visible penis, the look on it’s face gives the impression that it would very much like to show you one.  It’s like some creepy Vulcan harassment spider, and it needs to be on a sex offender registry, not in a kid’s book.

Go fuck yourself, Willowy Walkathon.

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Every part this dude is designed to slap that smiling face right into that tree,
and frankly that can’t come soon enough.

Seriously; there is literally every possible way that moments after this picture takes place something fatal will happen to this horrible thing. Either snapping those impossible twig legs, or colliding face first into tree bark. There is no evolutionary advantage to swinging around via a prehensile appendage on the top of your head.

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NOPE

Just nope.

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A lot of these creatures seem to only have hands in order to not have any clue what the fuck to do with them. Get a job, douchebag. Get a hobby or something. You look stupid.

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Oh for fuck’s sake.

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Looking at this jerk makes me feel kinda bad about insinuating that Willowy Walkathon was a sexual deviant. AND WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ITS HEAD. I think I’m gonna be having flashbacks to childhood nightmares after posting this.

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With a build like that you better be gentle, Sailor.

I think when it comes down to it, the eyes on these things really push them all into uncanny valley territory. Maybe it’s the distinctly adult features on creatures that are intended to be whimsical. Either way, these things scared the shit out of me as a kid.