Death Race Video Game Controversy

Death Race Video Game Controversy

Long before Grand Theft Auto was freaking everyone out, we had the Death Race Video Game Controversy. Death Race is till a controversial arcade game. It was released by Exidy in the United States in 1976 and they only made about 500 of these cabinets. This makes this infamous game a difficult one to find. I was lucky enough to be able to play it at the Musée Mécanique in San Francisco.

Death Race was controversial because it appeared to promote vehicular violence. Even though Exidy took great pains to describe the human stick figures you are running over a “gremlins”, people were not buying it. The media lashed out. It did not help that the game’s working title was Pedestrian and appeared to be inspired by the 1975 cult film Death Race 2000.

Here is an example of the media reaction at the time in the form of a newspaper article. It hangs right next to the machine at the Musée Mécanique.

death race video game article

Controversial, maybe. But did it contribute to an increase in violence? No. It also did not do so well for Exidy. This was probably partly due to the backlash.

As you might guess from the year of its release, the game does not have anything resembling modern video game violence. By today’s standards, it is quite tame. Here is some game-play footage. I hope it does not turn your stomach or worse, turn you into a homicidal maniac.

Death Race Game-play Video

I played a couple of games of Death Race. It handled pretty well and was kind of fun. You won’t find many of these games out in the wild, but if you are at one of their know locations, make sure you drop a few quarters into one. According to online sources you can find Death Race machines at Musée Mécanique in San Francisco, the Galloping Ghost Arcade in Illinois, and Fun Spot in New Hampshire.

If you do play, I would love to hear about your experience. At least share how well you did. According to the game, I am an Expert Drive. So try and beat that.

death race scoring

Tag Team TV Series

Do You Remember the TV Show Tag Team?

In the mid – late 80’s, professional wrestling, and the WWF in particular, was big business. A lot of the WWF superstars were becoming household names thanks to Vince McMahon and his traveling circus. Two of the better known superstars were “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Piper had spent years as the biggest bad guy wrestler on the roster, while Ventura was well-known as one of the voices of the shows as color commentator. Each broke out of the WWF world to become moderate successes in Hollywood. Piper had starring roles in B – Movies like Body Slam, Hell Comes to Frogtown, and They Live. Meanwhile, Jesse was becoming a solid back up man in action flicks with Running Man and Predator.  In 1991, they teamed up on the small screen in the pilot episode of Tag Team.

The shows premise was simple. These two wrestlers couldn’t wrestle for a living anymore, so they decide to become cops. That decision was made after they used their wrestling moves to stop a robbery at a grocery store. It was a simple idea, but one that a television series could conceivably be based around.

 

As the air date for the pilot episode drew closer, Vince McMahon was hyping the debut of the show on his wrestling shows, and as a 13-year-old wrestling fan, I was salivating. I marked the date and time on my calendar so I wouldn’t miss it. Here was another chance to inject more wrestling into my world, and I wasn’t going to miss it. Although I can’t recall what night of the week that this premiered on, I DO remember getting everything set up in my room for it. My chair was at the right angle, I had a frosty beverage at my side, and some sort of snack at the ready. I was pumped.

As I remember it, the episode was pretty good, and I thought it was really cool that these two wrestlers were going to be in a television show every week. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of just how exactly television worked at that time, and was quite disappointed when the show never aired again. The series wasn’t picked up, and the show was thrown into the huge pile of “could have been’s” with hundreds of other series that were never picked up.

Tag Team TV Pilot

I listened to a podcast featuring Ventura and Piper a while back just before Piper passed away, and Ventura explained why the series wasn’t picked up. The two companies who were producing the show together, Disney and Corelco, got into a lawsuit with each other over something not even remotely related to the Tag Team series, and while in litigation, the show was left in limbo since neither side was doing business with each other at the time. When the lawsuit dust settled, too much time had passed and the Tag Team series was abandoned.

It’s a real shame, because the two had great chemistry together in the pilot, the premise was solid for an action/comedy show, and would have probably drawn decent enough ratings to keep the 13 – episode first season on the air. Whether it would have been picked up beyond that is anyone’s guess, but I know one 13 year old who would have watched religiously.

Check out the pilot and see what YOU think.

Dennis Miller Introduces THE FUTURE of Movie and Gaming Rentals!

THE FUTURE also comes complete with early 1990s Dennis Miller smarm and smirk!

For the record, I’ve always liked that smarm and smirk.

Anyways…THE FUTURE!

Now, I Don’t Wanna Go Off In A Rant Here…

When I was almost in my teens (and carrying right into today), Dennis Miller was my hero. He never failed to amuse me (even when I didn’t get the reference), he was aware his acting skills were terrible (Bordello of Blood, anyone?), and he had books in publication. I like funny men, I like bad acting, and I love books. Say what you will about him now, but I (still) love the guy. He still cracks me up…and I still don’t get every reference.

I’ve been lucky enough to see the man perform live twice (once in 2005, another time in 2006). The first time I saw him (at Borgata’s Music Box Theater), the show was initially “sold out,” but a random Ticketmaster email with the promise of available tickets 24 hours before the show meant seeing him perform. The second time (at Circus Maximus Theater, Caesars Atlantic City), it was a surprise that I knew about three weeks before.

Most “critics” say he’s lost his edge. I don’t believe that for a second when you don’t miss a beat in your material. He’s still as esoteric as he ever was, but damn, I laughed hysterically each time.

Back to the 1990s…

In the early 1990s (post-Saturday Night Live), the man was marketable, and he turned up everywhere. ESPY hosting duties, Primetime Emmy hosting duties, Talk Show #1, Talk Show #2, a movie here, a movie there, commercial, commercial, commercial, another movie, commercial.

He was the spokesperson for everything, folks.

And as I just found out…he hosted corporate marketing videos!

Allow me to turn over a New Leaf…

New Leaf Enertainment

In 1992, Blockbuster Video, coupled with IBM, turned over a “new leaf” in THE FUTURE of home video and gaming rentals. The concept allowed retailers access to a vast digital library of films and video games, copied into a cartridge or disc.

The company name, you ask? New Leaf Entertainment!

And they asked Dennis Miller to tell us about it, while dispensing of esoteric references and technological talk, while displaying his bad acting skills and his hilarious depiction of a French accent.

That’s probably his best acting, folks.

Although, if you saw Disclosure, he’s not that terrible of an actor. But Michael Crichton wrote his part with him in mind, so…

Seriously, he was REALLY good in this movie. Especially when he turned his back on Michael Douglas. You’d think an actual actor with actual acting chops publicly questioned Douglas’s character’s “transgression.”

Anyway, I could tell you all about this amazing technology Miller can’t wait to tell us about, but why don’t I let him do that instead?

Click play, cha-cha!

Upload via retailgeek

Sounds great in theory, right?

It Sounded Like a Great Idea…

But it wasn’t. Because it never happened.

Well, not in 1992.

The whole concept wound up being just that…a concept. A concept with terrible acting and presentation material that may as well have been Miller’s stand-up routine.

I wonder if Dennis Miller remembers that he did this.

The idea sounds amazing in theory, but technology as it was in 1992, as well as a weak distribution model, lead this the whole idea.

For more information on this (and the eventual testing phase in 1994), the Gaming Historian covered the gaming end of it on his show.

(That’s how I found the Dennis Miller marketing video!)

Upload via Gaming Historian

What do you think? Was this a great idea in theory, or just an idea of what was to come once the right technological advancements were made?

Blue’s Journey into Cosplay!

Use your leaf to save the planet Raguy!

Blue’s Journey, or ‘Raguy’ as it was known to Japanese audiences is a rare commodity on the Neo Geo gaming system – a platformer! Blue’s Journey isn’t the only platform game, but none are as colourful or as charming.

Playing as titular hero ‘Blue’, you and your trusty leaf must journey across the world of Raguy, saving the planet from the evil Daruma Empire. The plot might be cliché, but the levels are anything but. The stages are bright and varied, taking you from a jungle to a mechanical city in around 30 minutes.

Blue's Journey Flyer

My favourite part of playing Blue’s Journey is in meeting the inhabitants of Raguy. You really get the sense that developers Alpha Denshi hired artists who simply wanted to create really cool costumes! I love the insectoid vibe!

Raguy characters

The Color Blue (or Red, or Purple, or Green…)

The images I’m posting here are a small selection of the characters you’ll meet on the way. If you’re searching for ideas for your next cosplay, let the people of Raguy inspire you!

Raguy costumes

You can see more of Blue and his colourful journey over on Youtube. If you’d prefer to play the game but don’t have a Neo Geo and stacks of cash lying around, then check out the Virtual Console release on Nintendo’s Wii. You could also look out for its release on the Neo Geo X, volume 5!

You should also check out the 2-player co-operative mode!

If you’d like to watch a bit more fun with the game, I recommend heading to CineMassacre. James and Mike have a lot of fun with the game!

This post continues my Neo Geo series:
An irreverent and artistic A-Z of Neo Geo Gaming.

The Olds Connection’s Camcorder Offer…Dude!

That’s right, the “Olds Connection” wants to give you a camcorder so you can be on TV!

We Can All Be On TV!

In the summer of 1991, Oldsmobile (excuse me, the Olds Connection!) aimed to make stars out of its car buyers. So they offered a $1100 camcorder with the purchase of a 1992 Oldsmobile Eighty Eight. In August 1991, the promo was so successful, they extended the offer through the end of the month.

The aim of the promo? Being in a commercial, of course!

Regular People Buying Oldsmobiles!

The commercial featured regular people…

Wearing awesome early 1990s Mom Pants…

Liking traction control (optional feature, folks!)

The trunk space, DUDE!

Let’s see that again…via GIPHY MAGIC!

MAGIC…Dude!

And Now That You Know Who Likes the Olds Connection’s Offer…

Why not click play and see these people in action?

Uploaded by Allison Venezio

So…Why This Promo?

The 1992 Oldsmobile Eighty Eight, Oldsmobile’s full-size premium sedan, was redesigned for its 1992 model. Hence, people talking about what they loved most about the redesign. The promo occurred during the summer of 1991 (this commercial aired during that summer’s telecast of the Primetime Emmy Awards), and ran through August 31, 1991.

It’s safe to say people really like their Oldsmobile Eighty Eight, and Oldsmobile kept the model going until 1999. Sadly, Oldsmobile was not much longer for the world, as the close of the decade brought about the final years for the General Motors brand.

We’ll always have Mom Pants, Old Guy Who Likes Traction Control, and…the trunk space, dude!

But if you really wanted an Oldsmobile or a camcorder…I’d love to know if anyone went for this deal. There is nothing on the interwebs about it, but surely someone has a story out there…