Jack TV

Allison Doesn’t Know Jack

Actually, she does. Because she does stuff like this! :-)

Ever since my first gameplay video, for the Nintendo Entertainment System game American Gladiators, I’ve been wanting to do another gameplay video. I wanted it to be as perfect as the first one, because yeah, it was pretty freakin’ perfect. And awesome. Did I mention perfect? Did I mention awesome? It was perfectly awesome.

Yes, that is an expression.

Jack TV

One of my favorite “party” games (and by “party,” I mean “party of one,” because no one would play against me, because mad television-watching skills) was You Don’t Know Jack Television, and one of the sibling games, You Don’t Know Jack Movies. Both were gifted to me by a high school boyfriend back in the early 2000s (it was actually in 2000). The relationship may not have lasted, but I played the games for years until I lost track of the CD-ROMs about a decade ago when my family moved. I’d tried to find an online version, and eventually, I lost track of attempts to locate the game. On chance, I had started looking for the game again earlier this year, and was fine if I had to pay for a download or even CD-ROM version. I knew that may not be feasible, having a Windows 8 laptop (that keeps trying to prompt me to set myself up with Windows 10), but I was determined. And when I found it on both Steam AND Amazon as downloads, it was destiny.

Nice to know what constitutes as “destiny” in my world and thinking.

I found both the Television and Movie games as downloads for $2.99 each on Amazon, and I knew they were supposed to be mine forever.

To come back into playing these games after many years away from them was the equivalent of greeting an old friend. I hadn’t lost my edge with the Television game, and was slightly rusty with the Movie game, but I got over that quickly. Turns out I’m none-too-shabby with games from 1997, with questions about movies and television stuff?that was older, and I hadn’t played the game in ten years. I’m impressive, wouldn’t you say?

So, without further ado (ok, fine, a little ado…or is it “much ado about nothing”?), my second gameplay video for Retroist, as I play the 1997 game You Don’t Know Jack Television. I’ll let you know right off the bat that I refrained from talking during the video, due to the potential to miss some cheesy jokes. This really is a fun game, and I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed playing it.

First, some technical specs…

Screenshot (113)

The game was recorded with Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), and compressed into a smaller, easier to upload file using Freemake Video Converter. I also used Freemake to cut out a short section where I hit pause.

Oh, and that one insanely high score you’ll see at the end. I’m just that good.

Enjoy!

Allison is a lover of video games from her childhood and teenage years, especially when she can still master them in her 30s the way she did in her teens. She loves trivia games, and as you can clearly see, You Don’t Know Jack is a beloved game. If you’d like to see more of what she does best, come on over to her blog, Allison’s Written Words, and follow her blog on Facebook, just so you’ll never be out of touch with the not-so-relevant stuff she writes about. She can also be found on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

She doesn’t mind being insulted by the host on these games.

 

Menasor - Machinima

Machinima’s New Transformers: Combiner Wars Cartoon Looks Awesome!

The war that was waged on the planet Earth has been over now for forty years. Both Autobots and Decepticons have put aside their differences…mostly…to return to Cybertron and live in peace under the leadership of Rodimus Prime, the Mistress of Flame (From the IDW comic book series), and Starscream. But what will happen when ancient Cybertronian technology is uncovered that allows groups of Transformers to merge into powerful Combiners?
Rodimus Prime - Mistress of Flame - Starscream - Combiner Wars
Well…judging by that image of Menasor from the new trailer that just went live on Machinima’s YouTube channel, rampant amounts of destruction and mayhem will be caused and lead to all out war with the Combiners!
Menasor - Combiner Wars

It certainly looks like that the council of three will have to send out the call to Optimus Prime, who has either been banished or has walked away from the burden of leadership since the end of the War.
Optimus Prime - Combiner Wars
Judging by that trailer though it also looks like perhaps Optimus Prime and Megatron will have to put aside old grievances in the hopes of saving Cybertron from the Combiner Wars!
Megatron - Combiner Wars
The new series, which is eight episodes will debut on August 2nd exclusively on go90.

NES Classic Mini

Prepare Yourself For The NES Classic Mini Commercial!

About a week ago the news broke about Nintendo releasing the NES Classic Mini to we fans of nostalgic and classic gaming later this year. While thanks to that announcement we learned what 30 games were going to be built-in with the console’s release – and just follow that link up top to see what an amazing roster of titles has been chosen…we didn’t know the price of the NES Classic Mini nor it’s release date.
NES Classic Mini - 30 Game Roster
That has been rectified with this delightfully charming commercial from Nintendo itself…the NES Classic Mini is going to be affordable at $59.99 and will be available on November 11th.

[Via] Nintendo

I am looking forward to this product very, very much. I’m even saving a can of Hi-C’s Ecto-Cooler to enjoy when I get to visit some old video game friends this Fall!

Billy Mitchell - Great Big Story

Billy Mitchell On Achieving First Perfect Game On Pac-Man

The other day on Facebook I was sent a link by the Retroist’s own Gary Burton to this short but interesting interview with Billy Mitchell from Great Big Story. Mitchell not only discusses what it felt like to be the first Player to obtain a perfect game (achieving 3,333,360 points) but also goes into a little detail of the difficulty of achieving such a feat and the acclaim that went with it.

Images courtesy of Great Big Story.

Images courtesy of Great Big Story.


The interview looks to me to have been filmed in one of the King of Kong arcades but I’m not sure about that nor why there is so much video of Mitchell playing Ms. Pac-Man while talking about the original Pac-Man game – however the champion certainly shows some means skills which only stands to reason and a pretty sweet trick during the interview.

[Via] Great Big Story

81nRbeF8dFL._SL1500_

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Review: THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN and LADY COCOA!

Those awesomely awesome folks over at Vinegar Syndrome are at it again; this time bringing us an outrageously entertaining double release featuring THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN and LADY COCOA!

THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN

WRITTEN BY: Mikel Angel
DIRECTED BY: Matt Cimber
STARRING: John Daniels, Eli Haines, Tom Hankason

THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN concerns the adventures of The Baron; a laid-back pimp with a cool @$$ ride. As the flick begins we see two racist cops trying to trap The Baron with an undercover officer dressed as a woman that is about as convincing as Uncle Milty in drag. Much wah-wah sax ensues.

After that non-sequitur we see The Baron rescue on of his “girls” from an abusive relationship before meeting up with the ultimate pimp caricature named Dusty Compton. The two then engage in a rousing game of billiards for ownership of a new working girl – yeah; it was a different time folks; a cartoony, over-the-top, awesome as all get-out time. Dusty of course loses and blames the white cue ball. I love this film.

Well ol’ Dusty doesn’t take losing lightly and uses his mob connections to try and take out The Baron – who of course escapes by blasting his way to freedom courtesy of the machine guns hidden in the headlights of his tricked out Rolls Royce. He then hands the woman he won a sack of cash and sends her on her way. I really love this film.

We then learn The Baron is only in the pimpin’ game part time; the rest of the day he’s a married family man (they think he’s a traveling insurance salesman ‘natch) in the suburbs living a Norman Rockwell style existence.

Before long The Baron is up to his rakish fedora in violence as he takes on the mob, the cops, and even the owner of the massage parlor he runs his business out of (although that inexplicably turns into a slapstick comedy).

I can’t sing the praises of THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN enough. If you love the outrageous, comic book antics of DOLEMITE over the more sedate action of SHAFT then this is the film for you; it’s colorful, absurd, and completely of its time – in other words; it’s Grade-A, rad-@$$ awesomeness of the highest caliber!

13393908_1296711707023688_4151313323480685675_n

While THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN makes this 110% worth owning, you do get a second feature in this release (also by director Cimber); namely:

LADY COCOA

WRITTEN BY: Mikel Angel
DIRECTED BY: Matt Cimber
STARRING: Lola Falana, Gene Washington, Alex Dreier

In snowy Nevada, Lady Cocoa finds herself holed up in a luxury hotel/casino; a virtual prisoner (as opposed to the actual one she is as the film opens) of an aging Police Lieutenant and a beat cop charged with keeping her alive long enough to testify against her racketeering criminal boyfriend.

After much whining from L.C.; she is allowed to gamble, shop, and have dinner with a couple of groovy newlyweds. Seems prosaic enough right? Well wouldn’t you know it, Cocoa’s boyfriend is none too pleased with the thought of her spilling the beans so he sends out a couple of hitmen (one of them a silent Mean Joe Greene) to make sure her tongue stops wagging permanently.

Less over-the-top than THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN; LADY COCOA is nevertheless immensely entertaining as well. The emphasis here is more on character interaction and dynamics rather than near cartoon-like characters and violence; but there are outrageous elements at play as well such as a car chase featuring said vehicle driving through the casino and into a pool and a bathroom shootout. A few other items make this a stand-out in the Blaxploitation genre as well; namely the location and the score.

Utilizing the snowy locales of Lake Tahoe; LADY COCOA has a visual sense unlike any other film in the genre (whose locales were more often than not large urban areas). It gives to proceedings an odd; almost surreal quality.

As for the score; it boasts a rousing re-working of Pop Goes the Weasel (the film??s original title) performed by Falana herself; but the soundtrack contains an instrumental version of the song that plays a few times too many.

Unlike THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN (whose sole extra in an introduction by Director Cimber); LADY COCOA features a full commentary track by the same. Informative, lively, and packed with anecdotes; this track was one of the more enjoyable I have ever heard (and the conversation turns to include discussion of THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN as well.

ladycocoa1

If you dig on flicks like DOLEMITE or SUPERFLY, or are curious as to just why the drive-ins of the 1970’s were so damn cool, then this is the release for you (you can grab a copy right here!); colorful characters, outrageous situations and preposterous fashion choices make for a great night’s viewing indeed!

Leonard Nimoy - In Search Of

In Search of ‘In Search Of…’ – Episode 2: Ancient Minoans in New Hampshire

In its second episode, seeking the source of ancient ruins, the series hands over the reins to a consultant… problems ensue
Image 1 - In Search Of
In this ongoing series for the Retroist, I’m reviewing every episode of In Search Of. For the background on this project, have a look at the first installment.

‘Strange Visitors’*
Air Date: April 24, 1977
Alan Landsburg Productions

Story: Hans Holzer
Written Narration: Hans Holzer and Robert L. Long
Produced: Hans Holzer
Directed: not identified
Photography: Paul Desatoff, Jeri Sopanen
Music: Laurin Rinder and W. Michael Lewis
Researchers: Herb Rabinowitz, Jeanne Russo
Acknowledgments: Robert E. Stone and staff of Mystery Hill ; Geochron Labs

A key detail attentive viewers note regarding In Search Of, episode two, is that Hans Holzer, the story’s primary source, is also the writer and producer. I’ll return to this detail again, later in this article. A director’s credit is absent in this episode.

Episode Summary
Image 2 - In Search Of - Nimoy
The teaser opens on blue waters, both above and below, where rock formations ripple in the currents. Leonard Nimoy, the series narrator, says we are looking at the walls of a once-great city whose architects left it and “took root in a new land.” Who built it? And why?

Dissolve to a field. In a reenactment, a loincloth-clad human is building a wall of his own. Men like this one, Nimoy says, built what is now known as Mystery Hill, in New Hampshire. Who built Mystery Hill and for what reasons?

Following the theme music and credits, we are promised new evidence suggesting America was colonized long before the birth of Christ.

The stone walls of Mystery Hill are located near Salem, New Hampshire. Its walls, and lanes between them, form a fairly elaborate complex. Seventeenth-Century colonists first found them, says Nimoy, and now, 300 years later, investigators have begun to solve the mystery surrounding their origin.

Walking among the stone lanes are two men – Robert Stone, a Bostonian who bought the land to preserve it, and Hans Holzer, a professor, a “noted author, and a student of antiquity.” He will attempt to answer the questions surrounding Mystery Hill’s origins.

Stone (Left) and Holzer (Right)

Stone (Left) and Holzer (Right)


But first, who didn’t build Mystery Hill?

Nimoy says that New Hampshire’s tribes did not build with stone. Dismissed, in turn, follow a number of other possibilities regarding the place’s construction: Southwestern tribes; the makers of Wyoming’s Medicine Wheel stone calendar; and European explorers of the 10th-15th centuries.

Moving to a lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, scientists tests charcoal material found wedged into the rocks of Mystery Hill. The charcoal dates back some 3,000 years.

Enter Osborne Hill, cousin of Robert and curator at Mystery Hill, who shows Holzer features of the site that correspond with astronomical events – monoliths that mark sunrises and sunsets across the year. Druids erected similar monoliths, and grooved stone slabs found at Mystery Hill suggest sacrificial surfaces. But then, did Colonial settler bring old gods with them in those early days?

Rather than either option, Holzer points to an oracle chamber – a primary pointer to Mystery Hill’s origins. He believes the sacred grotto, complete with speaking tubes, echoes similar sites constructed long ago by Mediterranean cultures. Holzer visits Barry Fell, described as a Harvard archaeologist. Fell is controversial among his peers because he maintains the inscriptions at Mystery Hill are those of the Minoans, descendants of the Phoenicians, founders of Knossos, capital of Crete. Minoan sailors, he suggests, were first blown off course, finding the Americas by accident, and then started navigating to the new land with settlers’ intentions. The prompt to migrate, Nimoy narrates, could have been a period of earthquakes in the area of Knossos, circa 1600 BC.

Barry Fell

Barry Fell


Back at Mystery Hill, Holzer and Osborne consider a carved stone – the inscriptions resembling a letter G – and Holzer says the stone is without question the product of a carver who knew the ancient Phoenician language and the Minoan culture.

“Everything feels right and seems to fit,” Nimoy intones. The masonry and layout of Mystery Hill are similar to Knossos; the lab carbon-dating puts the site in a pre-Christian timeframe, and another rock feature – a long, curved shape on one stone, briefly pointed out earlier in the episode – seems to suggest the hull of a boat.

While skeptics may object, says Nimoy, the solution is part of a growing consensus among experts. The conclusion of the episode places the Minoans within a continuum of other early visitors to the continent.

Developments? Debunked? Debate?
Image 5 - In Search Of - Stone And Holzer
Contemporary readers can visit Mystery Hill in New Hampshire; it’s open year round under the moniker America’s Stonehenge. The site is still the subject, in recent years, of newspaper features and blogs.

That being said, Mystery Hill is apparently a mess, archaeologically speaking, according to recent reports. Quarry marks on the stones date to the Nineteenth Century (one theory is that the site is the 1823 homestead of a New Hampshire shoemaker), and owners in the 1930s altered the site at least once. The consensus suggested at the end of the episode has not, it seems, come to pass.

Additionally, most of the principals depicted in the episode warrant some contextualization.

Hans Holzer: Though he titles himself “noted author, and a student of antiquity,” Holzer was primarily a ghost-hunter. He achieved some notoriety in the late 1970s thanks to investigations and writings about the Long Island house that inspired The Amityville Horror movies and books. Holzer died in 2009.

Robert Stone: After leasing the Mystery Hill circa 1958 (buying it in 1965), Robert Stone’s work at the site persisted for years. He passed away in 2009. Dennis Stone, his son, now owns the operation.

Barry Fell: A professor of invertebrate zoology at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Fell’s theories about pre-Columbian visitors to the Americas were seldom well-received by colleagues and archaeologists during his lifetime. Fell published several books on the subject. He died in 1994.
Image 6 - In Search Of - Geochron Lab
As for the carbon-dating in the episode, it was conducted by Geochron Labs, which is still in business. One might consider, however, and it has been noted elsewhere, that the tracing of charcoal to a timeframe of several thousand years ago speaks only to the age of that specific sample, and not to the stones and materials around it. In other words, old and new things can get mixed together over time in the wilderness.

The Takeaway: ‘Strange Visitors’

According to his obituary in The New York Times, Hans Holzer was a consultant to In Search Of. In the case of episode two, he was much more than a consultant – he steered the whole ship, in large part, writing and producing.

The resulting take on Mystery Hill is a bit of let down, especially when it veers into defensive territory at the end – “skeptics abound in every culture,” Nimoy reads, adding that many will find it hard to believe the implications of the research and carbon dating. But in the late summer of 1976, we are told, two distinguished researchers have joined the ranks of a growing movement that supports pre-Columbian Mediterranean explorers on the continent.

It is defensive territory occupied by Holzer himself, of course, and by Fell – or Holzer has assigned Fell to it – and while both men were evidently serious about their beliefs, neither were “distinguished researchers” in the field of archaeology. This is problematic. For example, it’s disingenuous to introduce Fell as a “Harvard archaeologist” in the narration. Truth is, he was a zoologist with an avocation in archaeology and most academics found his conclusions dubious.

All this in mind, the disclaimer at the start of the show does do its intended job – i.e. In Search Of doesn’t claim it’s presenting final answers to the mysteries it presents – even if it has to work overtime in this case. Meanwhile, Desatoff’s photography (joined by Sopanen, this time) creates a signature look for the show: it’s moody, full of shadow and atmospheric textures.

And, finally, one can’t help but think Nimoy has a bit of a twinkle in his eye when he says a penultimate line regarding future explorers to the stars…

Next Up: ‘Ancient Aviators’ digs into what mysterious designs on the ground in Peru could reveal about extraterrestrial contact in long-ago times.

*Episode Credits/Air Date Sources: in-video credits and IMDB.Com

Screenshot (200)

Thank you for Being a (Super) Friend!

Confession time!

I have been a Golden Girls fan since I was very young. You can say whatever you want about this, but I love the show. It doesn’t feel dated in any way. Older ladies who like cheesecake, bitch about exes, and deal with realistic things in a realistic way? This show did it all, and it was funny to boot. You’d want any of these lovely ladies to be your grandma, and hope that your mother can be as delightfully salty as Dorothy when she reaches that age. Heck, I hope my mom and I can be like Dorothy and Sophia when we’re old. Sans a man like Stanley Zbornak in my life.

A few months ago, my friend Samantha (whom I want to give credit for finding this gem) shared a video on my Facebook timeline of a quite unconventional approach to The Golden Girls, complete with capes and tights.

No, this is not some sick and twisted encounter with Blanche Devereaux, it is a crossover of the Superfriends characters and The Golden Girls!

Screenshot (201)

And it is incredible. Just press play, and get lost in the epic of all of this!

Created and Uploaded (Gloriously!) by kevinbappdotcom

The re-imagining of some of DC’s Finest in Middle Age, living in Miami, is the creation of Kevin Bapp, who animated and concepted this fine piece of epic. You’ve got it all –

Batman Zbornak…

Screenshot (196)

Aquaman Nylund, who is actually from St. Olaflantis (that’s a place, you know!)…

Screenshot (197)

Superman Devereaux…

Screenshot (198)

and, of course, Robin Petrillo.

Screenshot (199)

“Picture it, the Circus!”

Screenshot (202)

I love the animation of this, it is so incredible. But there is one thing that has almost made me choke…twice.

Superman Devereaux

OH MY GOD, I can’t unsee that. And why would I want to?!

Even the Invisible Jet makes a cameo!

Invisible Jet

I could watch that all day long.

Heck, if laughing were avoidable, I’d watch THIS all day…

Superman Devereaux

Thank you, Kevin Bapp, for being a fine human being.

Screenshot (200)

So…Allison admitted to being a Golden Girls fan. What can she say, the Girls are her Homegirls, and this is the show she’s been watching the longest in her 33 years. If you like what you’ve seen here (and her made GIPHY skills), you can find her on her blog, Allison’s Written Words, where she has other gems like this just floating around. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and she’s also on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

Superman Devereaux

She’d love to walk “The Superman Devereaux.”

PS: Allison wrote something else about The Golden Girls a few months ago. She’d love for you to read it, in case you missed it the first time!