Inferno - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Inferno (1984)

Friends, do you remember Inferno from back in 1984? Manufactured and distributed as well by the legendary Williams Electronics. This is another pick from Christopher Tupa for his Retro Arcade Art project that I have not had the pleasure of playing before. With Inferno you certainly have a mix of Wizard of Wor in addition to some Crystal Castles.

Furthermore the control scheme for Inferno has just a hint of Williams’ 1982 arcade hit Robotron 2084!
Inferno - Inferno arcade cabinet

I should add that most of us do not remember the game. That is of course because it was never widely distributed and it is also believed that only 6 arcade cabinets now exist. Although you can freely find it on MAME as well as the Internet Arcade Archive!

As for the gameplay, you are tasked with dispatching enemies found in the worlds of the Grand Lizard. These enemies which are small multi-colored and known as cyclops, can be shot with your laser.
Inferno - Cyclops

Doing so will destroy their bodies and leave their black souls behind. Which will then attempt to run into the open maw of the Grand Lizard at the top of the screen. You can make contact with the fleeing monsters and absorb their souls.
Inferno - Grand Lizard

Or instead attempt to follow them into the Grand Lizard’s waiting mouth to do battle in the Inferno Wave. Which is essentially a free for all with every bad guy aiming to take you down!
Inferno - Inferno Wave

In addition to the Cyclops you must also contend with the Tankov. A sentient tank threat that requires you to blow off its treads while positioned on a lower level of the maze. Then get on an equal level with the demonic tanks remains and shoot it again.

I’m not quite certain how to describe the character of the Nymph. Perhaps it best you just read the description from the game yourself?

Inferno is yet again another example of what made the Golden Age of Arcade games so great. The sometimes throw everything at the wall elements frequently worked in the games favor. Of course sometimes that didn’t work as well. But here we are 33 years later, enjoying CTupa’s artwork that was based on a game that never was widely released, right?

Now remember that with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s official site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

Now that you know a little about Inferno, why not watch the game in action?

[Via] JSBO

Be sure to check out the earlier entries for the Retro Arcade Art project by CTupa!
(Beezer)
(Bomb Jack)
(Devil Fish)
(Dig Dug)

Ghost Stories - Cover

Ghost Stories Of An Antiquary – Volume II

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – Volume II is an upcoming graphic novel. An Adaptation of four of M.R. James’ supernatural tales of terror. By the way of Leah Moore and John Reppion, under Self Made Hero in fact but published by Abrams Books. M.R. James has been cited as being an influence on the works of both H.P. Lovecraft as well as Stephen King.

Ghost Stories - M.R. James

The esteemed M.R. James – medievalist scholar as well as writer of ghost stories!

With it being October of course, what better way to celebrate the season than with some of James’ stories? Because with the second volume of Ghost Stories of an An Antiquary you get a nice selection from the author’s work.

With Number 13, illustrated by George Kambadais. We are introduced to a young man named Mr. Anderson. Who has arrived at the Golden Lion inn in Viborg, Denmark. A researcher who certainly uncovers something startling. Whilst checking on his fellow lodgers he discovers there is no room numbered 13 listed in the available rooms. Except if that is the case…why does Mr. Anderson pass a room marked 13? As well as the mystery of the singing and laughing from behind a door to a room that isn’t supposed to exist?

Next up in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – Volume II is Count Magnus! Illustrated by Abigail Larson it is the tale of one Mister Wraxall. A travel guide writer. Mr. Wraxall is visiting Sweden for research on an upcoming book. However the man instead learns of the bloody handed legacy of the titular Count Magnus. A fearsome man who it was rumored was to be on a ‘Black Pilgrimage’. In addition to causing enough fear to warrant three large padlocks on his place of rest. What might happen if those padlocks were to be opened?

Ghost Stories - Count Magnus

Some doors are not meant to be open!

Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad is the third entry. In addition this is a story by M.R. James that I know well thanks to a television adaptation. This story which is illustrated by Al Davison concerns Professor Parkins, who is on holiday. While the Professor might intend to spend time playing rounds of golf, he uncovers an odd item located in a burial site. What was once a Templar preceptory hides a whistle. Being an educated man and scorning of what some might deem superstitious. Parkins blows the whistles. Twice. Being a ghost story it shouldn’t surprise you that something answers the call, right?

Ghost Stories - Oh Whistle

Professor Parkins is going to learn to keep an open mind!

The last story presented in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – Volume II is The Treasure of Abbot Thomas. Illustrated by Meghan Hetrick. In this tale we meet Antiquarian, Mr. Somerton, who follows the trail of a coded message. Which in fact is hidden within a stained glass window in the Abbey of Steinfeld in Germany. Furthermore the reason for this coded message is it is said to lead to a hidden treasure. Somerton and his trusted servant, Mr. Brown – are able to decipher the clues which lead to an abandoned well that once belonged to Abbot Thomas. A well that curiously indeed contains steps that lead down into the darkness…as well as a guardian.

It is the fourth tale that is very much like the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, friends. It is probably my favorite of them all. But each one does represent a wonderful type of ghost story by the way. If you find you need a little something to help you get into the spirit of the season. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – Volume II comes out this Tuesday. Or instead you can order a copy for yourself by following the link to Abrams books.

Now that you now what to expect from Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. Why not watch the 1968 television adaptation for Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad?

[Via] Montague James

Have You Seen the ACTUAL Version of “The Devil’s Gift”?

Spoiler Alert: “The Devil’s Gift” is terrible regardless of the version.

But first, on a semi-related note…

It’s my BIRTHDAY!!!!

I’ll give you all the pertinents:

  1. I’m thirty-five.
  2. I’m aware I don’t look it.
  3. This post is relevant to birthdays.

All of that said…

The Devil’s Gift…Is A Hell Of A Birthday Present!

Let’s face it, we all get that one gift we don’t like. We suck it up and thank the giver for their efforts…then focus our time and undivided attention on something else. I’ve never had that experience (honest!), as rumor has it I’m easy to shop for.

However…

Someone needs to tell the kid in this movie that he should have played with his other birthday gifts. Because this movie would have been over faster!

The Devil’s Gift is a 1984 feature film directed by Kenneth J. Berton, he of the stinker Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders, which is only watchable with riffing and Ernest Borgnine.

For me, that’s probably because my Uncle Sam looked just like him. This is actually Borgnine, not my Uncle Sam.

The Devil’s Gift is infamously known in its heavily-edited, child-friendly form (as seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000), and until recently, this was the only version I knew about. I figured, “oh, it’s a short film and it was needed to pad out the runtime of this longer film.” It was version I saw as a sixteen-year-old MSTie in 1999, and several times years later.

Nope.

…and the DVD cover that makes me scream B.S.!

The Devil’s Gift is an actual living, breathing representation of what a truly terrible movie one can make (that doesn’t involve Tommy Wiseau), and how it can absolutely feel disjointed even without heavy editing. Again, not involving Tommy Wiseau.

The original version is darker and more “violent,” but just as cheap, ugly, poorly-plotted and clunky as the version seen on MST3K.

Again, I’m absolutely certain Tommy Wiseau’s name does not appear anywhere in the credits.

Oh, the “Plot…”

Michael Andrews receives a cymbal-banging monkey as a birthday present, purchased by his father David’s girlfriend, Susan. The toy monkey was found among the ruins of a burned-down house, untouched by the damage surrounding it, and brought to an antiques shop, where Susan later decides this monkey is a Great Gift Idea.

And that’s where the fun begins!

*Cymbals Banging*

Each time the monkey bangs his cymbals of his own accord (the first clue this “toy” could not possibly be safe to play with), something happens. And by “something,” I mean death. Houseplants, the family dog, a housefly. And if it isn’t death, it is near-misses involving Michael: a near hit-and-run, attempting smothering, and attempted drowning. The monkey wants this kid dead, and two out of three times, it wants Susan to be the killer. The other time, it wants a car to kill him.

This is a terrible, horrible, ugly, schlock-filled, low-rent film that tries to be horror/thriller, and comes up comedy/Not Thriller. And the ending…let’s just say Merlin doesn’t arrive to retrieve his monkey.

The plot of the film is similar to Stephen King’s short story The Monkey, which is obviously an insult to King’s genius, since this movie is far from the caliber of Stephen King’s genius (it is alleged that the movie is plagiarized from that story). I’ve used “clunky,” “ugly,” “cheap,” and “poorly-plotted” to describe this movie, all of which is accurate. The acting is ugly, the people are ugly, the general look of the film is ugly, and I swear that 1970s couch every grandparent had is prominent in this house. I recall laughing at the riff “Hello, 1970s house” hysterically as a teenager, acting like I totally got why it was so funny.  As an adult, I get the joke…this is a 1970s house. This is 1976 trying to masquerade as 1984.

The runner up for laughs? This scene with riffing…

Upload via WhiteBimboMan

If the guys from RiffTrax ever get their hands on it, I will be proudly claim firsties forking over the cost to see it in the theater. I have no shame.

The Devil’s Gift

Behold, the gift you don’t want, in its original form, complete with home video logos and trailers at the end.

For me, the real “gift” is that it is the 1985 Vestron Video print, complete with that screeching logo.

Anyway, celebrate my birthday with me over a movie about a possessed toy, and that toy’s determination to kill. It’s a helluva gift that you might just say the devil had something to do with…

Admit it, you giggled a little.

Anyway, here’s the ugly truth of a film…

Upload via m1lkm4n

But, if you prefer the equally awkward, heavily edited, family-friendly B-story of a Z-grade film, then by all means, watch the original, if only for Ernest Borgnine.

Come for the laughs, stay for the Borgnine!

Dig Dug -Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Dig Dug (1982)

Friends, feast your eyes on Christopher Tupa‘s Dig Dug illustration! Not only is it CTupa’s pick for this weeks Retro Arcade Art. Obviously. But it also happens to be one of my favorite video games as well. Much like Pac-Man, there are elements of Dig Dug that match maze games. However in this case you are pretty much making your own maze as you dig through a treacherous underground setting.
Dig Dug - Marquee

Dig Dug was released by Atari in the arcades of North America in May of 1982. However it was actually developed and published by an equally legendary game company – Namco.

Dig Dug -Arcade Flyer Archive

Image courtesy of the Arcade Flyer Archive

Certainly most of you that frequent the Retroist or enjoy classic gaming will know how this game works. Players are tasked with guiding Dig Dug, as he was known in the first game, as you tunnel through the stratum that makes up each level. The character’s goal is clearing out a collection of motley monsters below the surface of the Earth. With only the aid of an air pump to help him dispatch the beasties as well as boulders scattered about the stage.

Using the air pump, a Player will hit the pump button three or four times, which inflates a foe until it expands so much it pops. If you do not pump the enemy until they explode they will slowly deflate and come after you again. The problem is the Pookas and Fygars rarely come at the Player one at a time beyond the first few rounds. The enemy can even travel through the dirt for a sneak attack, trying to catch you from the left and right as well as up and down. This of course requires a great deal of juggling in the later stages!

Oh, the amount of Pookas and Fygars that met their grim fates over dozens of Saturday afternoons at the Showbiz Pizza of my youth. In truth if we counted them all I would probably be brought up on charges by a video game court.
Dig Dug - Characters

Dig Dug was certainly a hit for both companies. Game cabinets being produced for upright, cocktail and even cabaret units. For those of you that might not have seen a cabaret version. It basically was a smaller upright, designed of course for arcades and other locations where space might be a premium.
Dig Dug - Cabaret

Dig Dug didn’t find success in just the arcades. It had brisk sales for the popular consoles and home computers of the day as well. Ports could be found on the Atari 2600, 5200, and 7800 systems. Besides the Atari computers the VIC-20 and Commodore 64 received ports as did IBM PC and TI-99/4A.
Dig Dug - Atari 2600

Besides the awesome artwork that CTupa provides for his Retro Art Blog entries. I am glad to constantly find out facts I hadn’t known. Case in point that the Intellivision DID receive a home port of the game. It was in 1987 though, programmed by Mark Kennedy…when he was working for Atarisoft I should add.
Dig Dug - Intellivision

Apparently Mark added two Easter eggs to his port. One of them allows you to experience a different title screen. The second though lets you play an entirely second game entitled Deadly Dogs. Which is TRON Deadly Discs but instead of TRON and the warriors of the MCP. You are the hot dogs from Burger Time!

That is pretty crazy, right? Now remember that with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s official site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

Now that you know a bit about Dig Dug. Why not enjoy this commercial that was originally shown in move theaters?

[Via] Scottith Games

Make sure to also enjoy the earlier entries for the Retro Arcade Art By CTupa!
(Beezer)
(Bomb Jack)
(Devil Fish)

“Found Footage” Gameplay – “Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour”

Of course, this is if you consider gameplay footage you made in 2007 “found footage.”

2007: The Year of the “Yellow DVD”

2007 was two years before I started watching James Rolfe’s “Angry Video Game Nerd,” videos, and at least four years before I started watching any kind of gameplay-related videos. So when I did my own unintentional gameplay video in 2007, it was only because I was recording something for the sake of recording something.

Because, why not?

Last year, I was transferring recorded DVDs I made in the mid-2000s to my Passport drive, and created a file for one of my DVDs, “Yellow DVD.” I didn’t think anything of what I recorded on the DVD until I was looking for a specific commercial for one of my blog posts, and spotted a gameplay video I’d made.

Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour

Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour is the sequel to the 1999 Nintendo 64 game Mario Golf. Published by Nintendo (with development by Camelot Software Planning), Toadstool Tour was released on July 28, 2003, with a Player’s Choice label version released in 2004.

Toadstool Tour has sixteen playable characters, tournaments to obtain new features, trainings, and variations on the “traditional” golf format. There are seven different courses with varying degrees of difficulty featuring various elements common to all Super Mario games. The controls are smooth for even the casual gamer (read: they’re easy for me to master).

The only issue I’ve ever found with control is the short putt (which was a common issue among reviewers). The game was well-received, and as of December 2007, sold 1.03 million units in North America. The game also was the last Mario golf-related game to release to a home console (the most recent Mario Golf game, World Tour, was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2014).

This was a frequent rental at the video store I worked at (I started there in 2003). I got this game as a birthday present in 2006, and it is one of my favorites to this day. And since my Nintendo Wii works again (not sure how that happened, but it reads discs again!), I’m definitely going to be swinging a club sometime soon!

Of course, that brings me to the real reason you’re here.

Do you like gameplay videos? Because I’ve got gameplay for you!

Gloriously Found Footage – Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour

As I said, I found this eighteen-minute video I randomly recorded to a DVD-R in 2007. I can’t give you any reason for why I recorded this, but after working on a massive commercial archive for the last ten years, I see the appeal of finding this video.

I didn’t record any commentary for this, since it’s golf, and well, there isn’t much to say, I’m just going to let you enjoy the video. I’m aware this game isn’t overly retro, Mario and all of his cohorts are classics.

Being a classic character in a slightly more modern time qualifies as retro by association, right?

I guess?

Enough yammering, click play below and watch the glory of luscious green golf courses and video game characters come together for something awesome!

Upload via Allison Venezio / Allison’s Written Words