Original Atari Combat Two Oil Painting

Who wouldn’t want this Original Atari Combat Two Oil Painting?

Browsing online this morning I came across this stunning auction on eBay for an original Atari Combat Two Oil Painting by commercial freelance illustrator Michel Allaire. I had followed some of Allaire’s other auctions lately, this Star Wars one is pretty great, and was slowly turning into a fan. But this 16.5 x 21 oil painting catapulted his work into my regular online watch list. While I might not be able to afford his worked, they are well into the 5 digit range. Just looking at them fires my imagination and inspires me.

This is what a good illustrator should do, and while it is easy for things like Star Wars, Atari could make it challenging. Their simple graphics needed to be represented as something more. An illustration of what you should see in your imagination. This is exactly what Allaire did for the unreleased Combat Two. A game that, as an original Combat fan, I would have loved. Sadly the game, never saw the light of day back in the 1980s (video game crash of 1983), although it would get all manners of releases in the new millennium.

So if you have some discretionary cash lying around and would like to own and original Atari Combat Two Oil Painting, or perhaps just gift it to me, check out the auction. It is filled with history on the piece and the artist and is still running for 19 more days.

It is on the pricey side at $42,000, but that is not bad when you consider this is a piece of history. Also, shipping is only $11.15, and that is very reasonable. You might want to make sure they add some insurance when they mail it.

Here are some close-ups of the painting. Admire the details

Incredible Hulk Instant Muscles

Incredible Hulk Instant Muscles

Are you a pip squeak? Maybe full of rage because you are tired of getting pushed around. But lack the willpower to work towards a stronger you? Well then, do I have a product for you, Incredible Hulk Instant Muscles. Just put on this wonderful toy and prepare to be feared by all who behold you and hunted fearlessly by a reporter obsessed with uncovering your dark secret.

Incredible Hulk Instant Muscles first became available in the 1970s. From what I can tell by scanning my catalogs, they were not a long-lived toy. The only appeared in 3 catalogs. It is unclear to me why.

As you can see from the photo, they make for a pretty compelling toy. Especially after you spell out exactly how they work with the smaller photos. Now you probably wondering, “Is the shirt included?” I am sorry to say it was not. As you can see from this description in the JC Penney catalog, you need to provide your own large shirt.

Me? I would wear an extra small shirt. Why would I put all this effort into wearing and pumping up my bulging Hulk muscles only to have them covered up by a bulky shirt? If you got the gamma irradiated goods, you might as well flaunt them. Am I right?

To complete the Hulk look, you could also pick up these very convincing Hulk/Spider-Man makeup kits. Now I know what your thinking, how was THIS ever cool? Well, you got to remember that people could be more ignorant back in the day. The seventies were a very different time. It was not as frowned upon to walk around in “Hulk Face.”

Unfortnately Incredible Hulk Instant Muscles, were not of the highest quality. Plus the play style they encouraged put a lot of stress on them. So finding sets of the muscles intact is pretty rare. Ones still in their boxes can go for well over $200.

On an unrelated note, does the font on the packaging look like the font used on Hi-C?

Atari 2600 cost in 1984

How much did an Atari 2600 cost in 1984?

People who are fans of retro gaming will probably want to add an Atari 2600 to their collection. As they browse the endless numbers of them for sale online, they are probably wondering, how much did they cost “back in the day.” Unsurprisingly, the answer changes by year. Just like all technology, the Atari 2600 got cheaper over time. In 1981 the Atari cost about $130. Jump ahead a few years and things change dramatically. So how much did the Atari 2600 cost in 1984?

Atari 2600 Ad from a 1984 Sears Circular

Atari 2600 cost in 1984 detail

Three years later and the Atari was down to $44.99. Which is over $100 in today’s dollars accounting for inflation. This seems about right when you consider the rapid change in technology and the dreaded, Video Game Crash of 1983. At this point Atari saturation was very high. So I have my doubts that Sears, where this ad is from, would move many of these beautiful “Vader” style models.

When we ask what an Atari 2600 cost in 1984, we also gotta wonder, was it even worth that price? Well for those who saw the NES as the next big thing, probably not. But many of us were still hardcore Atari 2600 fans.

Personally, I was still a big Atari fan in 1984. It would be sometime before I would finally make my move to the NES. When this ad was printed, I was still using my family’s old Woodgrain Atari and would do so until late 1986. When it finally died, I would get an Atari 2600 Jr.

At some point, one of these Vaders made it into my collection, and it is the system I still use most of the time for my gaming.

1994 Best Buy Ad

This 1994 Best Buy Ad features 90s Dream Technology

I bookmark a lot of websites. So many that it can take me months or even years to re-stumble upon something I thought I needed to share. In 2015 this 1994 Best Buy Ad was posted on Imgur. I drooled over it for about an hour back then, but moved on. This week I rediscovered it and thought I would dive into this gem. So let’s travel back to the nineties and explore the best items from this October of 1994 Best Buy Ad. I am sure it is filled with all sorts of electronic treats and Halloween references.

1994 Best Buy Ad - Page 1

In 1994, I was still spending some of my time working at a video store. Disney Movies were a huge money-maker for us. Sales on these things were no joke and Best Buy is pushing hard on 4 Disney classics. The Return of Jafar might have the same clamshell box, but a classic it was not. That being said, it was very popular at our store. The first month we couldn’t keep it on the shelves.

That is a nice enough Packard Bell. I especially like that the monitor is included in this package. So many ads back then would mix and match monitor inclusion. It was often confusing and disappointing.

Odd, not leading with something related to Halloween.

1994 Best Buy Ad - Page 2

Music? Can’t say many of the CDs would have caught my attention. But if you incline your head to the right, you will see the object of my affection, the Sega Genesis.

How are they enticing people to buy systems at Best Buy in 1994? A free backpack of course! From that photo, I would say that the backpack almost looks too small. Unless you only want to pack 1 or 2 games. I guess if one of those games is Shaq-Fu, that is all you need. We really seemed to be into Shaquille O’Neil in the 90s.

Hmm, wonder why no attempts at a Halloween or horror game.

1994 Best Buy Ad - Page 3
Page 3 of the 1994 Best Buy Ad is the high-priced audio equipment. Everyone of these objects was out of my price range. Looking at them now, I am relieved I was cool with my sister’s hand me down equipment. That saved me a lot of money.

1994 Best Buy Ad - Page 4

Yes! 31 inches of TV for a mere 800 bucks. That TV with no-name looks really familiar. If I am not mistaken it was the style of TV we used in our video store. Something about the sound grill looks familiar. I am not sure if Sound Grill is a real word, but if not, I am coining it. We had those going 24/7 and never had a problem with them. So if that is the TV we had, $800 might have been a good deal.

Just want to add, it’s like Halloween is not even happening in this circular.

1994 Best Buy Ad - Page 5

More television, all of them showing Snow White, which was as a I mentioned was a big deal at the time. I would always peruse the TV, but what I was really interested at this point in time were those video camcorders. For reasons I can no longer recall, I really wanted an 8mm one.

1994 Best Buy Ad - Page 6

Stop everything! 540MB Hard Drive for only 300 dollars? I wonder what the failure rate was on the Conner Drives? Some other items of note: 14.4 modems for those weirdos who do the online and Best Buy’s lab coat wearing computer techs. Was anyone out there a Best Buy computer tech back then? Did they really provides lab coats?

I would like to go as a Best Buy Halloween Tech for Halloween this year. Did they were any special badges on their lab coats?

1994 Best Buy Ad - Page 7

Look at all the computers! I would have done just about anything for any one of these machines in 1994. I would like to take this opportunity to focus on the use of free software to help sell the computer. For those who complain about your computer being filled with all sorts of nonsense when it was installed, I think this is where it got started. While some of this stuff might have been interesting to play with, for the most part it went on a shelf or in a box and was never opened. It was just noise. Bloatware you needed to install yourself.

1994 Best Buy Ad - Page 8

20 free pieces of Stoneware with the purchase of most of these large appliances! Wow. How can they afford to do that?

While I had very little interest in these large appliance in 1994 or now. For some weird reason I have always found the Chest Freezer to be oddly compelling. Just think of all the ice pops and ice cream sandwiches you could buy on sale and keep cold with one of them.

1994 Best Buy Ad - Page 9

They wait until the last page to post a pumpkin? Just a pumpkin?? This close to Halloween and this is all they could fit into the ad? That is disappointing. Oh well. Let’s take a look at the other stuff.

Almost $140 for a Discman! No wonder it took me nearly a decade to get one. That is not a terrible price for video tapes, but I could find them cheaper. As for the boomboxes, they lacked the style of their eighties ancestors. So I had no interest in them.


My family would keep circulars like these for years. It is a shame that at some point we cleaned house and threw them all away. Who knows what treasures we could be finding now. Still it is nice that someone is making an effort to share and preserve gems like this 1994 Best Buy Ad.

That ad for Kraft Potato Fudge is fake

I almost hate to write this post, but the time has come. If you follow me on social media, you might notice that every once in a while I post an ad for Kraft Potato Fudge. It is one of my favorite ads to post and it also fake.

Why do I enjoy posting it? Primarily because I think it is a funny ad. But also because I want to live in a world where Potato Fudge is a real thing. An alternative history where parents were so desperate to get kids to eat spuds, they would slather them in fudge.

Alas, we do not live in that world. But each time I post this faux ad, I see people reacting and believing that we do.

This has usually made me smile, and I always figured what is the harm. But after some emails and messages with people during my last post, I started to realize how seriously people can take this misinformation. This is making me feel bad, so I am going to stop posting it.

I should not be surprised that the rest of the world also wants to believe in Potato Fudge. They will overlook details on the ad that are kind of jokey or just “off” looking. (That kid’s face is just a brilliant addition to the original ad!) Who can blame them really. The world would be a lot more magical if Kraft Potato Fudge were a real thing.

Now, I know I will get some emails from people asking me, how can I prove it is a fake. Well here is the original Cheez Whiz ad that this ad is a Photoshopped version of.

Cheez Whiz Ad Potato Fudge is based upon

The Cheez Whiz Ad basis for Potato Fudge

For those of you out there who are saying, “No, potato fudge is real, I have had it.” You are probably referring to the fudge that is made with mashed potatoes. You can find lots of recipes for it online. From what I understand, it tastes just like regular old fudge. It just has a slightly different consistency. Here is an ad for the fudge I found online from C&H.

Recipe for REAL Potato Fudge

ch potato fudge recipe

I hope I didn’t ruin many people’s day by posting this. We have had lots of crazy products over the years that actually existed to make us look back and laugh.

Also, I just want to add, this is the internet, and for some weird reason, I could be making this entire thing up as well.

Maybe Potato Fudge does exist, but I am just trying to throw you off its trail. Perhaps I am using it to popularize my fake C&H Potato Fudge recipe? Or what if my Mother was the inventor of it, and it has been a family shame or we are wrapped up in long-term court battle? Even better, maybe I am just trying to fool the world into thinking that something called “Cheez Whiz” actually existed.

You just never know nowadays.

Shooting Games from 1981

Do you remember these 7 Shooting Games from 1981?

I was obsessed with shooting games when I was a kid. When we went to arcades or any places that had games with guns, I would spend my time pretend playing. Just holding the gun, shooting at the screen and making shooting sounds. It was the best activity for a kid who didn’t have any quarters. Although it was probably annoying for people waiting to play the game.

When I was not pretending to play shooting games, I was often staring at them in catalogs. And my family had a lot of catalogs. Sadly at some point most of those catalogs went in the trash. A few, the ones I kept in my bedroom, managed to survive. Several times a year I will pull one out and look on what the consumer market offering all those years ago.

Today, I would like to take a look back on the fabulous shooting games of the 1981 JC Penney Catalog. They had seven target based shooting games that year. Several of which I would encounter over the years. As the catalog says, the one things they all have in common?

harmless light guns

The Buck Rogers Target Game

I had some exposure to the Buck Rogers Target Game as a kid. It was one of the cooler looking shooting games in the catalog. What made it extra special? It could do double duty as a play set for your action figures. What a bargain!

The Light Show Target Game

I always thought that this one looked like someone hung a Simon on the wall. It looks pretty boring from this image. But this thing was over 52 bucks in early 80’s dollars. So I assume the light show or its accuracy was something special.


Quickfire was the second game on this list I played with as a kid. Things did not go well. So I don’t really want to talk about it. I can say this, it was an amazing shooting game, before I broke it.

Two Person Skeet Shooting

While I never played Skeet Shooting at home, I did play it in arcades. It was fun, but usually degenerated into trying to shoot my friends instead of the targets. This is probably why they needed to reassure parents that this was just safe light being shot by these guns.

Space Shoot Out

Space Shoot Out’s rifle is marvelous! It has that 70’s style science fiction quality that I am still a big fan of. Plus you can remove the butt on the rifle! That is some toy magic. Something this cool, that only costs 15 bucks, just screams poor quality. So it is good they made the gun so cool since the game would probably be broken in about an hour.

Stellar War

Stellar War sort of has some Star Wars styling, but I am not sure I would classify it as a knockoff. The best thing about this photo? Two pistols! Boom! Boom! Look at me, I am a duel wielding space smuggler fighting in the Stellar War. I act like I don’t care, but actually I do.

Tin Can Alley

I must have played Tin Can Alley at about every one of my friend’s homes. This classic was a catalog staple and a lot of fun to play. Since it always seems to work pretty well. I also noted that their was some variation in the cans. So you could have a Pepsi alley, or a generic beer can alley. This catalog entry features Dr. Pepper. A beverage I don’t love to drink, but I love to shoot.

Retroist MacGyver Podcast

Retroist MacGyver Podcast

Welcome to the Retroist MacGyver Podcast. On today’s show I talk about the classic TV show, MacGyver. I start off talking about what a poor MacGyver I would make since I lack subtlety in my handiness. Then I move onto the show itself. I talk about the cast, the people in front of and behind the camera. After that I touch upon the movies, the comics, the reboot and much more. This is a timely episode for me since I am in the middle of a re-watch of the original. It is a great show, so I hope it inspires some of you to do the same.

Members of the podcast team (my Phoenix Foundation) are back this week. Vic Sage brings you a brand new, “Why Should I Know this Person”. Metagirl plumbs the depths of MacGyver and delivers the Retroist Top 5 episodes of the show. Glad to have them back.

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