Looks like someone at Denny’s is a fan of vintage video games. When I saw mention of Atari on a Denny’s placemat, it transported me back to the early days of video game /food partnerships. Seems like the McDonalds & Atari promotion was just the other day. Now, Denny’s has partnered with Atari to offer iOS and Android versions of some classic Atari games. Each game adds some food elements to the original concept. Instead of Breakout, there’s “Takeout” and instead of Asteroids we have “Hashteroids”. If you’re not a purist appalled by the modifications, then it’s a chance to get some pretty fun games for free. The graphics have been tweaked to add the diner elements, but the original sound effects are just the same. I’d say it’s a grand slam for both Denny’s and Atari.
Although I had my heart set on an Apple IIc, my father thought that IBM was set for some success with their line of PCs. So, our first computer was an IBM PCjr (still running – thanks IBM!) and one of my first games was King’s Quest. The good folks at Sierra crafted a brilliant adventure, one that took full advantages of the PCjr’s color palette. They followed this up with a series of fantastic King’s Quest games, especially installments II – VI. Over time, the Sierra properties were acquired and reacquired by several firms, eventually landing with Activision. They’ve been dormant for some time – until this press release in which Activision announced they are bringing out a new King’s Quest game. I’m hopeful they turn out a quality product that lives up to the game’s impressive heritage, and stays somewhat true to its point-and-click adventure origins. If it is a success, maybe a new Space Quest will be on the horizon too, ushering in a new golden age of adventures. A gamer can dream.
When I received my March/April 1984 copy of Atari Age, I had no idea it would be the publication’s final issue. And, from the looks of it, neither did the folks at Atari. The pages are jam-packed with upcoming cartridges. What really caught my eye was the move toward younger gamers for the 2600. The “kids cartridge” section featured new games with Taz from Looney Toons, and Oscar from Sesame Street. I wouldn’t have been in the market for these games at the time, but even if I were, I don’t recall ever seeing them in my local stores. Apparently they were indeed released, as was the special kids controller. If anyone ever played these on the 2600, I’d love to hear about them.
Mattel took an interesting route with their 1977 Godzilla Game. My natural inclination would be to expect a Godzilla game to involve smashing buildings in some way. Instead, this game pits players against Godzilla, as he randomly eats their spaceships. It doesn’t appear to involve too much strategy, but as long as Godzilla is chomping on something, I’m pretty happy with the result.
In elementary school, I didn’t have the opportunity to see nearly as many movies as I would’ve liked. Fortunately, the Scholastic Book Corporation came to the rescue, with movie novelizations geared toward kids. So, while I never got to see C.H.O.M.P.S. in the theater, I did get to read all about this robotic dog’s exploits. I loved that book, reading it time and again.
The book and film are about a Canine Home Protection System (C.H.O.M.P.S.) and were designed to have broad appeal to kids, whether they liked cute dogs, robots, or slapstick humor. The movie is one of the rare live action pieces by Hanna-Barbera. It features some high pedigree (sorry, couldn’t resist) actors such as Valerie Bertinelli, Conrad Bain, Red Buttons, and Jim Backus.
If you’re curious, C.H.O.M.P.S. is now streaming on Netflix and on Amazon Prime. And, thanks to that, I was finally able to see the movie that I’d so often read about. Now, maybe time has made me more critical, but I’ve gotta say – I liked the book better.