Great Bluedini 2015

Vic’s Retro New Year’s Eve 2015: Of The Love For Great Bluedini And Great Friends!

Another year has passed by and like the previous four New Year’s Eve I have had the pleasure of spending it at the Arkadia Retrocade…well…at least I was able to make it just before the seeing in of the New Year that is. This year I had to work a day shift at the Hotel so I was able to bolt over to the arcade after my work was done to help dispense the legendary Great Bluedini Kool-Aid!

Vic Sage - Great Bluedini - 2015

Oh yes…as we’ve done the last four years I made sure to whip up…thanks to eBay…5 gallons of that most delicious nectar of the Gods that Kool-Aid put out in the early 80s! Was it cheap? No. But it was totally worth it as we barely had enough to give to all of attendees of the New Year’s Eve bash.

Great Bluedini - 2015

Ah...mixed with the loving touch of the Dwarves! :D

Ah…mixed with the loving touch of the Dwarves! :D

As usual when it’s on the weekends and it’s later in the evening, the lights are dimmed so all of those wonderful arcade cabinet marquees mix with the neon and transport those of us that remember the heady days of the arcades back to a time Pac-Man and Donkey Kong were Kings!

Lights Out - Arkadia 2015

To be honest this year I wasn’t able to get out from behind the counter and take as many photos as I normally do but as always I made sure to snap a few to capture the spirit of the evening…not to mention friends to the arcade like Gary Burton!
Vic and Gary - Arkadia 2015

Why even big fan of the Retroist and the Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast, the esteemed William B. was able to be in attendance to see the New Year in right! Not to mention Alex and you can just make out everyone’s favorite party attendee…Teddy Ruxpin! Of course the Retroist was busy attending his own festivities but as usual there were many representations of his classic icon on display!
William and Alex -Arkadia 2015

Even Furby and friends were able to make it in for the party!
Furby - Arkadia 2015

The party didn’t really get started until about thirty minutes before midnight but I was able to get a few photos of the Players enjoying some classic gaming before the New Year!
Dr Mario - Arkadia 2015

Mappy!

Mappy!

What was the most popular arcade game of the evening? Atari’s Star Wars of course!
Atari - Star Wars - Arkadia - 2015

You know…if you look at this photo…I suppose this could be called the Harrison Ford row? Star Wars, Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!
Star Wars - Arkadia - 2015

As always at the arcade it’s not just the video games that draws in the crowd but Battleship, Scrabble, Jenga and Foosball as well!
Battleship - Arkadia 2015
Tamas - Arkadia 2015
Jenga -Arkadia 2015
Game On - Arkadia 2015

But it is of course the vintage arcade games that brings in most of the Players…why you might even recognize a few of them from the last New Year’s bash.
Mr. Do - Arkadia 2015

No E.T. for the Atari 2600 this year?

No E.T. for the Atari 2600 this year?


Pac Man - Arkadia 2015
X Men - Arkadia 2015

Then as the time was getting near for the celebration it was my duty along with fellow Arkadia Retrocade employee, Rhi, to make sure that all of the Players had a cup of the delicious Great Bluedini in hand before Midnight! As usual Shea Mathis was manning the arcade office so he could snap a photo of the beginning of the gathering crowd and to pick that right bit of music once the clock had struck midnight!
Great Bluedini 2015

With over a hundred cups of Great Bluedini raised high we rung in the New Year in retro style!

Arkadia - Shea - Vic - New Year's Eve - 2014

Vic’s Retro New Year’s Eve: Of The Popularity Of Ecto-Cooler And Atari’s E.T.!

Friends, I do hope you all had a great new Year’s Eve, full of laughs and fond memories of 2014. Much like the previous year I was able to see the new year in at the Arkadia Retrocade surrounded by Family and Friends. One of the more popular moments of last year’s celebration was whipping up some Great Bluedini…though to be fair I just didn’t have enough in my stash to make sure that every single Player that stepped through the door got a taste when the Midnight hour arrived.

I made a New Year’s resolution to myself that this year would be different. So that is why for this go around I looked to e*Bay for a little help in securing enough Great Bluedini to let me pull off my little project. Was it inexpensive? No. But to see others enjoy their taste of that delicious Kool-Aid flavor for the first time or even those that remembered the beverage from 25 years ago made it all worthwhile. This year to ensure that I had enough for our thirsty players I whipped up a 5 gallon batch of the Great Bluedini!

Arkadia - Great Bluedini - 2014

Obviously in business you do not want to rest on your laurels so I also decided to introduce the Players of the Arkadia Retrocade to the joy and wonder that was Ecto-Cooler! I scaled back a bit with our favorite Ghostbusters related Hi-C beverage and just concocted 2 gallons worth. I was pleasantly surprised that it was by far the more popular of our New Year’s Eve beverages.

Ecto Cooler - Arkadia Retrocade - 2014

This New Year’s Eve was far busier than even that of 2013, so much so that I had a hard time getting out from behind the snack bar to get some photos of all the Players. I was able to make an exception though when friend to the Retroist, Gary Burton, and his Wife dropped by to not only celebrate New Year’s Eve but their Anniversary as well. Gary can certainly say he has a lot of experience with arcade games as he managed an arcade in the past and was kind enough to let me borrow an ad for it that was played on the radio back in the day, I’m working on getting the audio cassette transferred over to an MP3 file to share with you all at a later date.

Gary Burton - Vic Sage - Arkadia - New Year's Eve - 2014

When I was able to get out from behind the counter the arcade was busy with Players doing what they do best…you know…playing games.

Arkadia - New Year's Eve - Players - 2014

Arkadia - New Year's Eve - Players F - 2014

Arkadia - New Year's Eve - Players

Arkadia - Players B - New Year's Eve - 2015

Arkadia - New Year's Eve - Players E - 2014

Though one of our regulars decided that the way to see the New Year in proper was by playing and beating Atari’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial!

ET - Arkadia - New Year's Eve - 2014

ET - New Year's Eve - Arkadia - 2014

The surprise of the night came when the Xenomorph from Alien arrived to party down but it also brought the Retroist along as well…at least his Avatar.

Alien - New Year's Eve - 2014

Now after Midnight I had enough time to engage in an Arkadia Retrocade tradition that we’ve pulled off the last three times, warping to Minus World!
Minus World - Arkadia - New Year's Eve

After hundreds of Players came through the door to join us in celebrating the New Year and serving up 3 gallons of the Great Bluedini and almost all of the Ecto-Cooler, Shea joined me for a victory cup of Bluedini…though to be fair I found my love of the Bluedini demanded a more suitable vessel to drink from.

Arkadia - Vic and Shea - New Year's Eve - 2014

Not a bad way to end 2014, not at all.
Arkadia 2014

baby new year

Happy New Year! Welcome 2015!

Wow! 2014 really was a blur. As someone who deals with nostalgia a lot, people often ask me how I feel about the passage of time. Does it make me sad? Do I miss the good ol’ days?

It does make me a little sad, but only because I look back fondly on the things that I have done or enjoyed in the past. But I try to use my nostalgic nature to teach myself that I need to enjoy stuff now. While I might really have enjoyed 1984, I also enjoyed stuff from 1994 and I see no reason to that I won’t be looking back at 2014 a decade from now with some amount of fondness.

So I hope you had an enjoyable 2014, a Happy New Year’s Eve and are getting ready for an amazing 2015. Keep making great memories people!

Now I got to go get some sleep, so I will see you all tomorrow.

70_Peanuts_featureimage

Be Retro For 2015, Hang a Calendar from 1987, 1981, or 1970!

Why not begin 2015 in the true retro spirit by using date-matching calendars from 1987, 1981 or even 1970. True, using an actual paper calendar that hangs on your wall, refrigerator or bulletin board is retro in itself these days. So, for 2015 then, why not go the whole retro nine yards and hang a vintage calendar from the past?

According to TimeAndDate.com, the calendar dates of 2015 match many different years in the range of 1903 to 2009. However three particular matching years, 1987, 1981 and 1970, can offer us a plethora of retro awesomeness in 2015 paper calendar options. To help give you an idea of your retro choices, the following images have been recently culled from eBay which is the go-to site to purchase all things vintage and retro:

1970: Peanuts, local freebies from fast food restaurants, and tea towels are still available from 1970.

1981: Marvel, Mad, Mickey, McDonalds, a Muppet and Morris are just a sampling of the great 1981 calendars that are still around for use in 2015.

1987: A cartoon cat, a disastrous duck, and Don Johnson are some of the choices from 1987 for 2015.

Although some calendar themes, like cats for instance, seem to be timeless I doubt you can pick up a 2015 MIAMI VICE calendar in any local store today. The price of a vintage calendar can be the same, if not cheaper, than a current contemporary calendar as well. So, besides possibly saving a few dollars, you’ll also have the satisfaction of living each day the retro way simply by glancing at your new, old calendar for 2015.

You have to make sure that the Great Bluedini is properly stored...for almost 24 years.

Vic’s Retro New Year’s Eve: Of The Bard’s Tale III and Great Bluedini!

You have to make sure that the Great Bluedini is properly stored...for almost 24 years.

You have to make sure that the Great Bluedini is properly stored…for almost 24 years.


I certainly hope everyone had a very safe and Happy New Year, looking around the Retroist Vault this evening it seems I’m the only one that made it in.

As for myself I spent the evening working at the Arkadia Retrocade where we had some very special entertainment for the large crowd of gamers. I dipped into my personal stash of Kool-Aid’s Great Bluedini! My friends, I do mean these are the packets I bought when the NES was King and Batman Returns was one of my favorite films, I’ve kept them in a nice and airtight container away from the damaging rays of the sun, hoarding them for special occasions. It was a great bit of fun for me to share that wonderful Bluedini taste with so many people who had not had the pleasure before.

Once the clock struck Midnight at the arcade, the usual music was replaced by the thrilling “Italian Spider-Man” theme song and I am proud to say that more than a handful of revelers began dancing to it. Which even though I am merely an employee of the arcade I took great pride in that people were having that much fun and I was a little part of that. It probably helped that everyone was hopped up on the Great Bluedini.

The greatest moment of the night came however when we decided to celebrate the New Year with a rousing game of the Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate on the Commodore 64! It would have been enough to wander the ruins of Skara Brae once again with so many friends of Arkadia around me…but in a stack of floppy disks that I had donated to the arcade we found my original Bard’s Tale III character disk!

I do apologize but my camera phone is the worst.

I do apologize but my camera phone is the worst.

So thanks to that discovery, my brave and stalwart party were once again able to venture forth to try and bring low the Mad God Tarjan, for the first time since 1988! Right after they dealt with this pesky Rock Man and his goons.
Bards Tale III - Rock Man

It was a surreal and very magical experience to be sure. With 24-year-old Kool-Aid in my belly, great friends and old digital allies, it was certainly a wonderful start to 2014! But the end of had me pulling off an old Super Mario Bros. trick like I did the previous New Year’s Eve…warping to Minus World.

Super Mario Bros - Minus World B

Super Mario Bros - Minus World

fogelberg

Dan Fogelberg’s Having a Blue Christmas: “Same Old Lang Syne” (1980)

There’s a restaurant my family frequents that I have affectionately dubbed the “Yacht Rock Restaurant,” because they seem to always play the reassuring soft rock music of the 70’s and 80’s that I associate with the comfort of being a little kid (one can only imagine my delight at the soundtrack from Anchorman 2 ;) The holiday season is a particularly warm and nostalgic time to dine at this eatery because of these very song choices. I’m instantly brought back to the holidays when VH1 would play nonstop videos on Christmas Eve of Hall and Oates dancing to “Jingle Bell Rock,” a bunch of celebrities asking “Do They Know It’s Christmas” (never quite understood a few of those lyrics until I looked them up), and of course Bing Crosby dueting with Ziggy Stardust in matching cardigans. However, there’s one song that always brings about emotion in me, that ironically, I never knew the name of until fairly recently, and doesn’t really have a whole lot to do with Christmas.

fogelberg

I had recognized Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne” being played every year on familiar radio stations, but hadn’t listened to the lyrics particularly closely or known its backstory. I eventually realized that the gentle voice of the song was the same one that belonged to 70’s hits such as “Longer” and “Leader of the Band’ but hadn’t quite made the connection to its status as a sentimental favorite holiday tune. The narrative of a special meeting on a Christmas Eve, for some reason evokes a very real sense of nostalgic ache. I don’t know of an official music video or performance that accompanies the song, but it almost seems superfluous to have one. The lyrics and melody effectively paint a picture on their own.

My discovery that the song is actually autobiographical didn’t surprise me at all. It seems too genuine and heartfelt to be fiction. As the story goes, a last-minute errand to pick up eggnog during the holiday season of 1975, resulted in a surprise encounter with a former love. Five years later as said friend first heard Fogelberg’s single on the airwaves, she instantly recalled their meeting in hometown Peoria as the song’s inspiration.

Fogelberg revealed to American Songwriter that his 1981 release “The Innocent Age,” on which Same Old Lang Syne appears, is a personal favorite of his catalog of work. Considering he cites Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” as an important influence in his songwriting, the pensive element to his work makes a great deal of sense. Although to fans of his work, this emotional component need not be explained – simply felt and enjoyed.

Needless to say, “Same Old Lang Syne” has become a favorite of mine…..the gentle stir it evokes is wistful and longing in a familiar, comfortable way. It seems almost improper while listening to a song as emotive as it, to try and dissect its form or lyrical organization. However, I cannot help but notice the symbolism of the last line as pointed out recently by my Dad. “The snow turned into rain” must mean *tears.* I can’t think of a more appropriate note to end on, Mr. Fogelberg…….;)