Let’s Kinda, Sorta (Not Really) Play #4: Hydrosub 2021

But, before we “play” Hydrosub 2021…this ultra important clip show! Previously, on…these videos of me commentating over Action Max games!

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Quadruple The Action Max, Quadruple Your “Fun”…

Four of these. I’ve sat through four mind-numbing, bad special effects-laden, disasters of video game attempts that would go down in infamous history, if it were not for the fact that no one remembers this system.

Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Five people watching this remember Action Max, and all its glory!

So, what exactly is Hydrosub 2021?

Hydrosub 2021: Darling It’s Not Always Better, Down Where It’s Wetter…

It’s like Sonic Fury, but without Trucker and Chief, stupid nicknames, and it happens under the sea.

You know what? Hydrosub 2021 is nothing like Sonic Fury. I just thought it sounded good.

It’s actually a submarine OF THE FUTURE adventure. You’re a crewman on Captain Jason’s vessel, and he’s like a cross between Third Rate Scotty from Stark Trek: TOS and Third Rate Leslie Nielsen. Which is actually an insult to Leslie Nielsen.

I mean, I guess he sorta looks like Leslie Nielsen, just with a goofy accent and a salad bowl on his head.

And what’s with that outfit? Oh, and there’s the crewman whose face we never see except for a “barely there” shot of the side of his face. I could make a joke about that, but there’s about eighteen minutes’ worth that doesn’t necessarily need commentary (but was fun to do anyway!).

We’re tackling the dangers of the sea, complete with robot sea creatures.

I guess fish were either not available, not high tech enough, or demanded an unreasonable salary, resulting in their removal from the finished product.

Consider them lucky.

Let’s Dive Into the Dangerous Seas of Hydrosub 2021!

Of course, seeing is believing. And since I’m huge on “if I have to suffer, so do you,” as well as mutual torture. So come, join me. Click play. We’ll watch together. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll realize this was a ridiculous idea.

I’m just referring to the scene with the submarine re-enters the depths of the bathtub…I mean Not A Bathtub!

Phew, saved that one!

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We’re getting one step closer to the grand finale of Action Max “gameplay” commentary videos. Next time, we’ll revisit my first Retroist article, and provide commentary on (arguably) the best Action Max video of the bunch.

Only because it lifted footage from an actual movie.

Did I mention that fifth one is a rare gem in terms of quantity? For every twenty copies of The Rescue of Pops Ghostly, there’s one (possibly half of one) copy of this elusive Action Max game.

That’s a story for another time, friends, so until then…

Stay prepared for ACTION!

I have nothing else, folks.

Related Readings/Viewings

Because this isn’t new or novel, folks.

The Halloween I Spent Rescuing Pops Ghostly

Let’s Kinda Sorta Play “Sonic Fury”

Let’s (Kinda Sorta) Play #3 “.38 Ambush Alley”

The Rarest of the Rare Video Game System – Exploring Action Max’s Blue Thunder VHS Game


Bustin’ Those Blockbuster Video Sales With…Buster Sales!

I swear, you watch two Blockbuster Video commercials you find in your archives, and all of a sudden, you have this burning desire to do another commentary video…

Oh sorry, that sounds so typical of me, doesn’t it?

When Your Personal Blog Articles Coincide With Retroist…

This week, I featured two different Blockbuster Video commercials on Allison’s Written Words…

Wow, What A #ThrowbackThursday!

Wow, What A #FlashbackFriday!

Both commercials reminded me of video store work life…back when video stores were a thing. I worked in a Mom-and-Pop store, in a town that didn’t have Blockbuster until 2003. And even then, it was a small location in a  low-traffic shopping center. By comparison, there were two Mom-and-Pop stores – the one I rented from, and eventually worked at, and another one in a different part of town. Both stores were in high-traffic shopping centers that had pizza places and supermarkets.

I knew Blockbuster was doomed in our town, and not because of its location, but that two other stores with loyal customers were nearby. They did last about five or six years (I believe they closed in 2009), but the one I worked for survived until 2011, two years shy of the small chain’s 30th anniversary (our location was 23 years old at that point).


There was another different between working for Mom-and-Pop versus Blockbuster Video…

Training Via Corporate Training Films

Working for mom-and-pop meant being trained entirely hands-on. Sure, you may have read a manual and signed a few documents, but your training was the good old-fashioned kind. Blockbuster’s approach, and obviously because they are a major corporation (well, they were a major corporation), they had a standard for training employees. And how you do ensure the training is completely in line? Corporate training videos!

But of course!

Blockbuster Video created a series of corporate training videos during its lifespan. I spotted ones from 1989 and 2000, but it is the 1990 version, which teaches the three steps of customer service that create an “opportunity,” that truly stands out.

You know what else stands out? Marie’s hair!

In this corporate training video, we meet Blockbuster Video employee Marie, who is approached/accousted (via television sets throughout the store) by Buster Sales, a wisecracking “Professional Oportunist,” who is ready to guide Marie through the steps that she needs to be a “Professional Opportunist” too.

Whether she likes this or not.

And guess who else is joining you when you watch this fascinating trip through customer service training at its finest?

Some chick in plaid and specs. Ugh, don’t you hate when she just shows up and…

Oh, wait.

Blockbuster (Video) University…Featuring Buster Sales AND Commentary By Allison!

That’s right, I’m bringing back my method of torture by watching the video with you, dropping a comment here and there.

Join me, won’t you, as we learn the three steps to become “Professional Opportunists.”

Wait till you see the gestures that Plaid Specs Chick came up with, they’re so…

Wait, why do I keep making fun of myself?

You know what? Just click play before I get any more self-deprecating.

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And so, yeah, there you have it. Do you remember the three steps to become a “Professional Opportunist,”according to Corporate Schill – I mean, training mentor, Buster Sales?

Give yourself an “A” for effort, and thank the Corporate Training Video Gods for deciding Roswell, Georgia’s Blockbuster Video (and its Not Real Employee, Marie) were ripe for teaching ’em how its done.

I really have to get back into commentaries again. How am I going to get better at it?

Not the steps listed above, but Practice, Timing, and Confidence.

And now to leave you with something profound…

“you’re like sunshine on a cloudy day.”

Yep, that.

Oh, And About That Video…

There is one thing I talk about from my video store days.  We did have a restricted area called “The Red Room” for adult movies. I did have more than my fair share of men oogle me while they rented. I kept the story as clean as possible. Just don’t want to offend anyone.

It’s also a quick snippet in an otherwise family-friendly work experience story.

Thanks for watching/suffering along/indulging me!

Do You Remember “Sports” Cartoons?

A hippo and a cat (and sometimes a pig and/or a dog) engage in a competition of sports…and that’s not the beginning of a bad joke. In the world of 1980s animation, it actually exists as Sports Cartoons!

And in the spirit of the Olympics, there was no way I could let this one get past me!

But Seriously, What Are Sports Cartoons?

Sports Cartoons are a series of short cartoon produced by Lamb-Perlman Productions in 1985, and resemble the National Film Board of Canada’s animation style. The shorts feature anthropomorphic animals as the participants of various sports.

The participants are:

The Hippo….

The Cat…

The Big Cats…

The Pigs…

And the Dog.

The concept is simple – the animals (usually the Hippo and the Cat) engage in various sporting events. By his own disastrous design, the antagonistic Cat never wins.

However, through pure dumb luck, the sweet Hippo (or the Pig) always succeeds.

Actually, there was that one time The Big Cats won…


That’s it, really. No dialogue, no voices (except for the screeching cat). The shorts range in running time – 40 seconds to two minutes in length.

Sports Cartoons As Filler Material

In the United States, Sports Cartoons filled commercial space between programs on Nickelodeon in the late 1980s and until the mid-1990s. I have vivid memories of watching the animals duke it out frequently, and loved watching the Hippo come out on top. When one watched, one never rooted for the Cat. You rooted for the Hippo (or Pigs).

Besides, the Hippo was adorable.

Those ears!

All told, the entire series ran forty-five minutes (for forty-five episodes), and saw a home video release by Family Home Entertainment.

Yes, mom and dad…you’ll love it too!

What Types of Sports Were Featured in Sports Cartoons?

Well…everything! And probably some you haven’t thought of! Common sports, such as Basketball, Baseball, Football, Soccer, Hockey, and Boxing had their moment, as did anything construed as a sport.

That’s right – nestled with the “typical” sports, Hippo, Cat, and Friends also competed in Darts, Chess, Skydiving, Karate, Swimming, Pommel Horse, Gymnastics, Skeet Shooting, Hot Air Balloon, Javelin, Shot Put (this one was a two-parter), Fencing, and Table Tennis.

And that’s not even scratching the surface!

Would You Like To See Some Sports Cartoons?

Of course you would!

And thanks to You Tube…you can!

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Now do you remember?

Did You Clean Your VCR With A VCR Head Cleaner?

If you loved and valued your VCR, you definitely used a VCR Head Cleaner! Or the Powers That Be/Ad Wizards want you to believe that!

Strange Nostalgia: Happy Accidents vs. Intentionally Recorded Strange Nostalgia

It never ceases to amaze me just how much strange and unusual nostalgia exists on the interwebs. Much of these awesome VHS finds come out of happy accidents, where the responsible person/people just happened to be recording on a seemingly normal day. That describes my archives.

Then there’s the intentionally recorded strange nostalgia – a found item someone with a VCR transfers to digital media. For evidence of intentionally strange recorded nostalgia, refer to my article on Laderdisc “Dead Sides.”

And say hi to Laserdisc Turtle while you visit!

Also categorized as intentionally recorded strange nostalgia? VHS Head Cleaners!

*Rubs hands together and laughs*

VHS Head Cleaner Tapes

It never ceases to amaze me the types of accessories one could buy to optimize home entertainment equipment: cleaners, special remotes, and sound systems. Items to optimize performance, confusion, and sound quality. Separate VHS rewinders extended the life of your VCR.

Chances are, you owned a VCR peripheral. I did!

VHS Head Cleaner tapes looked like standard videocassettes, but served the purpose of cleaning your VCR’s critical parts (video heads, head drums, audio heads, pinch roller, and capstan), thus enhancing videocassette quality and extending the life of a VCR. My parents owned one (in addition to one of those VHS Rewinders), and while ours was just snow on a screen, many have visuals and test the VCR’s other functions. There are dry head cleaners (the type with the visuals), and wet head cleaners.

Anyway, for the purpose of demonstration, I’ve found an ample collection of VHS Head Cleaners in action on YouTube.

Hey, someone puts these up because people like me want to watch!

Maxell VCR Head Cleaner (VP-100)

First up, Guy that Gets Blown Away By the Power of Maxell…Head Cleaners!

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And then there’s the VCR Head Cleaner that floods your living room with cheesy graphics and fish tank awesomeness!

Upload via Chris Williams

By the way, you’ve gotta put on headphones for this one.  Did you notice something about the audio test? ;-)

Scotch VCR Head Cleaner

1995 version:

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Let Scotch take you to clean VCR heads…IN SPACE!

And for those minimalists and early 1990s computer voice lovers in the audience…

Upload via VHSBetaOpeningPreviewLover1991

BASF VCR Head Cleaner

1990s, Computer-voice esque, and European? Sign me up!

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Stop eject! Stop eject!

JVC VCR Head Cleaner (With Wonder Dog!)

Meet JVC’s video game mascot, Wonder Dog, star of his own Sega Mega CD video game…Wonder Dog! He’s here to save the day…from built-up dust inside VCRs!

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“Cleaning of both audio and video head is now going on.”

Hurry Up and Press STOP!

I noticed a common thread with the VCR Head Cleaner cassettes – the mad rush the voiceover has to get us to stop the tape. Obviously, not stopping the tape immediately doesn’t cause the VCR to blow up, but in 1992, we were terrified of the repercussions of not stopping the cassette immediately.

Terrifying as a kid? You bet! Weird and dated now? Most definitely!

VCR Head Cleaners Still Exist!

Unlike most of the weird things I write about, VCR Head Cleaners STILL EXIST! That’s right, they still EXIST!

Which leads me to believe one thing: I’m not the only person who owns a working VCR!


Please tell me this was manufactured last year!

And the boxes look nostalgia-riffic! The companies even cater to the nostalgics in all of us!

Because let’s face it – we’re a generation of people who keep our VCRs so we can buy videocassettes that blast tones that represent “cleaning” and holler at us to remove them immediately, for the love of everything holy, REMOVE!

VCR Head Cleaner: Now hollering at you in different languages!

(From Allison: This author especially loves and hates ‘Stop’ – it reminds me that the word didn’t translate, but that other language misuse quotes too!)

Let’s (Kinda Sorta) Play #3: “.38 Ambush Alley”

Oh yes, another “I kinda sorta” played an Action Max game! This time, I’m taking my light gun to the Police “Acade” and finishing my “police training” in .38 Ambush Alley.

But First…

Previously, on Let’s (Kinda Sorta) Play…

…I didn’t have a light gun, so I improvised!

And I “played” Sonic Fury, becoming a member of the team alongside these guys…

But, before that…

I tried my hardest to rescue Pops Ghostly and his family from allegedly not-so-friendly ghosts, but was unable to save the children!

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Exciting, don’t you think?

Off to the Police “Acade”…

Good lord, I think this is the lamest one yet…and that says alot, considering the other videos Action Max made!

In part three of my five-part Action Max commentaries collection (remember, part one started over on my blog as a Halloween article), I take my light gun (not really, I haven’t had this console in years!) to the “Police Acade” and into the training grounds of “.38 Ambush Alley.” What I found was criminals with afros, a training office whose shirt was ill-fitting, and “rookies.”

Craziness could have ensued, but it was a little too quiet at the corner of Pearl and Pepper for any actual excitement.

And the targets I “shot” at?  Awesome!

.38 Ambush Alley

Police training at its lamest begins when you click play below!

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