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6 Oddly Specific Types Of Inappropriately Sexualized Vintage Computer Ads #retrogaming

27 Jun

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Sex is the McGuffin of advertising. It’s delivered without justification, hell in some cases it’s expected to be its own justification. It’s there to catch the eye, engage the reptile brain, fill any plot holes, and logic be damned. It’s commonly accepted as just another trick of the trade.

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The computer and video game industry, primarily targeting young men, is no stranger to sexualization. In it’s early days, however, they apparently had no idea how to advertise their products and instead just smeared a greasy, sticky, sexy film on top of everything.

sexycomputer1I’ve barely started this article and I need a shower.

We’ve reviewed dozens of these images from the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s (for, um, research of course). It occurs to us that many of these can be broken down into highly specific (and completely batshit) categories.

1) Computer As Marital Aid

sexycomputer3Sharing a keyboard wasn’t a thing in 1983, and it isn’t now.

Here in the 21st century the idea of bringing a computer into bed isn’t quite as absurd as it was in the days of 8-bit computing. And yet several of these images involve folks with clunky console computers and CRT monitors in all sorts of ridiculously intimate situations. This was decades before RedTube; the folks in these pics are playing (dubiously) sexy text adventure games. Because nothing gets you in the mood like squinting at mononochrome not-graphics and typing in commands to keep the action going.

sexycomputer4Am I the only one that noticed the monitor text is faked?

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Well that just looks… unsafe.

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And this, this just looks… sad.

2) Sexy Ladies Are Waiting… At The Arcade!

sexycomputer8WHAT. DOES. THAT. EVEN. MEAN.

There’s a lot of these images from the 80s. Women in implausible Leg Avenue outfits in the general ambivalent proximity of an arcade machine. Not actually playing the games, mind you, but just sort of draped over them awkwardly to the accompaniment of increasingly incomprehensible “sexy” captions.

sexycomputer9“Oh hey, not like I’m playing a reflex-dependant arcade machine”

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“Yeah boys, just picture this joystick, that I have a suffocating death grip on, as your… ugh never mind can I sit down? This is obviously an incredibly uncomfortable way to stand.”

sexycomputer11“Yes, this is a plausible scenario.”

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“Why yes this anti-aircraft gun would likely give multiple 2nd degree burns to my unprotected legs. Are… you into that?

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WHAT. DOES. THAT. EVEN. MEAN.

3) Sexy Ladies Are Waiting… On Everquest?

Honestly, I haven’t found many examples of this one. However, the idea of marketing old online service subscriptions like Prodigy, and especially early MMORPGs like Everquest, like one would a phone sex line is too bizarre not to mention.

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4) Computer Users Sexily Doing Things You Should Never Do With Computers:

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Poses of women and computers, but also doing the opposite of demonstrating the computer and almost definitely endangering it. Because nothing speaks to the effectiveness of highly expensive, delicate electronic equipment like…

sexycomputer7…posing nervously with it next to a massive body of water…

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…standing on it, with a gogo boot, in the woods for some reason…

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…and whatever the hell is going on here.

5) Computer Literacy Makes You A Sex God.

This is, like the ultimate nerd revenge fantasy. All the years spent pecking away at machine language and studying error codes and… I dunno whatever. This knowledge makes them damn near godlike or something. All of that pays off when they discover the legions of sexy ladies craving that tech prowess.

This is extra depressing when you consider that computer programming was largely a realm of women throughout the early 20th century, and was turned into an interest for antisocial male nerds through calculated effort in the late-1960s. The fantasy of these ads is rooted in women craving the knowledge that had been theirs for decades before it was denied them and they were forced out of their own dominant field.

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Honestly, I look at these ads and root for one or all of those ladies to stab one of those smug bastards in the face Game Of Thrones-style.

6) Computers Themselves Are Sexy, Maybe Even Sexier Than Sex Itself.

And this… just turns the whole thing on it’s head. The ladies are still there, are still sexualized, but they’re a distraction. Because the machines and games themselves are the real object of desire.

sexycomputer20Like, seriously, he’s fucking that Game Gear isn’t he?

sexycomputer21This seems like the opposite of multitasking; doing both things badly.

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“So distracting you’ll forget you’re a serial killer.”
Seriously someone just needs to call 911 here.

These are ads that someone had to pitch and that magazines eventually ran. Dozens of people looked at these images along the way of their design and were like “Yes, this seems like a sensible way to represent our product”. Like even the one where it’s like “screw it, just fuck your Game Gear what do I care you hopeless chronic masturbator… that I hope will buy our product”.

I don’t even try to understand anymore.

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Fabulous Youtube Playlist Of Packed Club Dance Floors 1986-1987

5 Mar

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Wound up stumbling across this awesome playlist of packed 80s dance clubs. And just wow. Some of them take a few watches just to try to catch everything going on. Seems like a lot of the places were New Wave-centric, because the crowd seems more goth/punk than one would expect. A lot of gangly guys in eyeliner and oversized jackets doing lopsided Napoleon Dynamite dances, a lot of regrettable hairstyles, but also some really amazing style… and some seriously hawt mohawk action going on.

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The Futuro House Is 21st Century Via-1960s Tech I Feel Cheated Out Of.

20 Feb

futuro0“We’re in this glass and brass go-go cage dance party to the stars. Going up, I want to hear hypo-allergenic Telestar music, untouched by human hands. Anything computer-generated and played on a Moog synthesizer. I want to dance the frug on a TWA commuter flight go-go dance party to the moon where cool dudes and chicks do the mash potato under zero gravity and eat delicious snack pills. I want this.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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I have a problem, a fetish, an obsession really. One that goes well beyond my typically GenX compulsive attraction to 60s/70s hyper-kitsch. I just have this thing for retro-futurism. Specifically, 21st century lifestyle by way of 1960s speculation as aesthetic. Straight up fucking Jetsons shit; but sexy Jetsons if that makes any sense. I know that totally doesn’t; I don’t care.

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So, like, I sigh audibly when I stumble across images of the Futuro Houses, a Finnish-designed miniature home originally issued in 1968 and designed specifically for vacation lodging. In the interest of full disclosure I also have a thing for, like, campers and other compact-designed lodging, so this just hits all sort of buttons. It’s just so impossibly perfect and orderly.

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This shag carpet and tasteful art deco space future was alas not in the cards. Shortly after mass-production began, the oil embargo (and subsequent increase in the cost of plastic and polyester) instantly tripled the cost of the home, driving away customers. Fewer than 100 were purchased, most of which are currently in various states of tastefully dystopian decrepitude.

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Whether relegated to roadside attraction, novelty diner, or hobby projects for the similarly obsessed (some are currently for sale!), they still capture the imagination.  Even abandoned they remain in dignified tribute; a wistful milestone marker for when the future went from being a exciting colorful adventure to a grimly bleak eventuality.

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COGIATI Is The Worst Classic Text Adventure Game #Retrogaming #90snostalgia

19 Jul

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So I know it’s been ages since I’ve done a video game review on here, despite promising I would be more proactive in that regard. So today’s game is a classic from the mid 1990s.  It appears to be some sort of text adventure created by the same designer that made the classic Apogee game BOPPIN.

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The game is called COGIATI (which is probably one of those nonsense magic words like XYZZY or PLUGH). It promises the acquisition of a “transsexual gender inventory” which honestly doesn’t sound very epic, but I’m not too good to grind for unusual and rare items.

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The game opens up with an admonition to “answer truthfully” to some questions that will follow, which I thought was cool because it reminds me of that fortune teller from the Avatar trilogy of Ultima games.

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It’s kinda dated, but I do get a kick out of the non-traditional methods of character generation. Some of the questions seemed to lead to certain classes, even though they were kinda sexist:

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And others that seemed to be pointing towards special super powers your eventual character may possess-

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The thing is tho, the questions never seem to stop coming. No recognizable character development or progress is shown, and some questions seem irrelevant or morbid-

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So then I finally get to the end of the questions, and instead of presenting a well-rounded character and a world to explore, I was presented with an ending screen:

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What a ripoff, right? I go through all that and I get is a psych recommendation. I mean, it’s better than the endings of River City Ransom or Ultima Exodus on the NES, but still. It’s almost as disappointing than the ending of NARC where it tells you to become a cop-

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So seriously, even if you’re somewhat of a completist when it comes to classic text-adventure games, you may want to pass this one up. There’s no plot to be seen, just endless grilling about your identity forever. Real life provides way more than that to spare.

Gender Will Be Abolished By Sensible Footwear. Somehow.

16 May

So about a month ago, I wrote a piece of dystopian fiction. And people flipped the fuck out, because apparently “No seriously guys, it’s satire” is meaningless when trans. It actually earned me my first appearance on the stalkery hate site Gender Identity Watch:

meongenderidentitywatchCome for violent misogyny, leave confusedly thinking GIW is full of shit.

But then, along the way, Sheila Jeffreys wrote a new book called Gender Hurts and proved me right. We’ll get to that in a second tho; let’s talk more about the book for a moment.

From what I can tell from reading it, “Gender Hurts” is a tale in which a cranky old white lady writes an extensive letter to the editor of a tabloid in the 1950s about the science-fiction rise of transsexualism. For some reason this counts as academia, because it’s easy money talking shit about tr*nnies.

The ultimate subtext of the book is that, ultimately, gender is trans women’s fault. All of it. Because naturally we’d conspire to create a world where our lives, loves, and deaths are consistent social punchlines. Where our most basic healthcare is highly misunderstood, expensive, and frequently kept away from us. Where attempting to come to terms with ourselves risks alienating everyone we care about. Sounds like a blast.

If trans women had half the power this loosely collected bundle of conspiracy theories claimed, transition would be as scandalous as body piercing. And funny thing about that…

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Seriously, the word “mutilation” is thrown around so much in this book that I’m pretty close to starting a movement to reclaim it. If my tattoos and piercings as well as my transition is supposedly tied to my previous self-harm ideation (which ceased almost immediately after I started HRT), I’m pretty well fucked because the rest of that isn’t going anywhere.

Not to mention, how corny and out of touch does all that sound? “OOOooooooh transsexualism is mutilation like body piercing!” ugh whatever grandma isn’t it time for your nap?

Anyway, let’s get to the part where she proves me right. Skimming down to the chapter on “Feminism And The End Of Gender”:

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You heard it here first. The end of gender, the pinnacle of the “gender-critical” movement, is comfortable shoes:

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And it’s like, what decade is this even from? Who doesn’t wear pants, except in the most formal of situations? Pretty much everyone wears pants, hell even I wear pants most of the time, and trans folks (like myself) have not ceased to exist. I mean, whatever, I wore a dress the other weekend, but it’s not the point of my transition. Like, how sad would that be? I’ve had no trouble wearing dresses in public since I was a gothy teenager.

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And again, this is the sort of thing that makes me critical of the “gender-critical” movement; it’s entire focus on stamping out all male gender-non-conformity and reifying masculine presentation as a social default. Their goal is to be the overbearing dad of Western Thought, telling us all to cut our hair and stop being sissies. Just render everyone an artless, empathy-devoid, posturing obelisk in trousers and sensible shoes in a world free of whimsy and decoration.

Fuck that.

Avril Lavigne Suddenly Remembers Japan Exists, Forgets How To Music.

22 Apr

If you’re like me, when you hear that a song is a collaboration project between Avril Lavigne and the songwriters from Nickelback and Evanescence, you think “wow that sounds like something too awful to actually exist”. Except, alas, it totally does.

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Yep, that’s Avril Lavigne standing in what appears to be the stock room of a Party City with four Japanese pallette-switched Oompa Loompas. But why tho? From every angle you can approach it, the song and video for Hello Kitty is just awful. It dives into some awful strip-club version of a dubstep break at exactly the places you’d expect the songwriter for Nickelback to have a song break down into an awful strip-club version of a dubstep break. It even has an extended break while Avril literally loses her mind over having sushi prepared for her.

avriljapan3C’mon, girl. It’s just sushi. Please get a grip.

At least when Gwen Stephani was approaching 30 and had a sudden annoying weaboo phase a decade ago, she name-dropped Harajuku and brought attention to performers and fashion designers. She even did the “me photo-opping with 4 identically dressed Japanese women that look positively bored with my white Asian-fetishizing bullshit” thing better.

avriljapan4I’m not even joking.

All this video/song seem to express is HOLY SHIT GUYS HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF THIS THING CALLED JAPAN THAT JUST CAME OUT. Except that it’s not even really about Japan, just washed out shots of them awkwardly dancing in that generic cupcake room-

avriljapan5but why tho

-and washed out shots of her walking through some generic candy shop

avriljapan6but why tho

and washed out shots of her on some generic street in Japan(?) waving off camera like a harvest festival queen in the loneliest parade ever-

avriljapan7but why tho

The video debuted today and has already been pulled from Youtube, presumably because of the collective groan it recieved from everyone with the slightest bit of taste. I know it’s sort of trite and pointless at this point to refer to a piece of pop music as bland or generic or soul-less, or to have any sort of social expectation for said pop music entities, but this is just bad.

Gender Abolitionist Crotchless Pantsuit Mandate.

19 Apr

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(PLEASE NOTE: All photos in this article will be black and white, because bright colors could be considered feminine and thus a form of patriarchy somehow. Only a stoic, masculine, black and white palette is allowed, much like our rhetoric)

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Congratulations everyone. We’ve abolished gender. Lord even knows how we did it, considering how logically inconsistent the social platform of our movement is. Apparently it involved socially marginalizing every gender-non-conforming person with a penis until they conformed to masculine presentation or died, because that seems like damn near the only thing we agree on. Hell, most of the time that seems to be literally the only thing we care about. So I guess that’s what happened.

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Now that gender is over, the next task is to assign a wide swath of social expectations, roles, and personality traits onto individuals based on their genitalia. This is something completely different and better than gender because we say so. Everything will be genderless, and by genderless, we obviously mean masculine. Because after all, masculine isn’t a gender, it’s a social default. Somehow this enshrining and universalizing of masculinity is totally different from masculinism, because we say so.

genderpants3(I didn’t even photoshop this. This is what gender-crits actually believe.)

In this gender-free utopia we need a garment that is gender-neutral (meaning masculine), utilitarian, tasteful, and uniform. However, in lieu of our genital-essentialist basis for social class distinction, we need the ability to gauge at a glance where people stand. Obviously, the answer is crotchless pantsuits. These pantsuits are adorned with a chromosome-referencing label based entirely on genitalia and nothing else (not even chromosomes). Replacement garments can be claimed at the front office of every gender deprogramming center, where regular mandatory classes take place to re-educate away from concerns of gender and instead concerns based on assigning social expectations, roles, and assumed personality traits onto individuals based on their genitalia. This is different and better than gender because we say so.

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