Captain America, Spider-Man and Doctor Doom at CES 1989

Captain America, Spider-Man and Doctor Doom at CES 1989

In 1989, Summer CES took place in Chicago. Marvel was sent three of their biggest characters, Captain America, Spider-Man and Doctor Doom to promote some of the games in which their characters would appear.

As we moved into 1990, we reached a turning point with Marvel Games. Sure the Questprobe games and Spider-Man for the Atari 2600 were great, but Atari had released less than 10 games before 1990. Before the end of the nineties, they would triple that number.

While some of those games would make appearances on computers, in this new decade, they were the minority. Instead, these games would make it to the big show. Appearing on next generation consoles, portables and full-sized arcade games.

So what were they there to promote that year? Well, Marvel released a raft of games in 1990 and 1991 including:

  • X-Men II: The Fall of the Mutants
  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • Silver Surfer
  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin
  • The Punisher
  • The Punisher: The Ultimate Payback!
  • Wolverine
  • Captain America and The Avengers
  • Spider-Man: The Video Game

An impressive lineup, and for many people who did not grow up in the eighties, their introduction to Marvel’s characters in gaming.

I was a big fan of Marvel comics. So I greedily bought, borrowed or rented any game featuring their characters. So for me the timing was great.

Here is a news segment that talks about the video games at the show that year. They do not mention Marvel, but it is great background and demonstrates just how much video games were evolving.

News Segment about Summer CES 1989

Nowadays we take it for granted that anything Marvel does will make a lot of money. For most of Marvel’s history though, this was not the case. This photo offers a glimpse into a turning point in Marvel gaming. A small victory for them, but one that would be writ on a much larger scale in our local movie theaters during the new millennium.

Destiny, Truth, and the Penetrating Gaze of Q*bert

Johnson did not really want to go the 1983 Amusement Operators Expo. Sure he liked video games as much as the next person, but his job working at a game maker was only a step on his path to big business success. As soon as he finished his MBA at night school, he would be done with this kids’ stuff and go to work for a company that manufactured planes or cars. Things adults used. Still, he was sent to do a job and he took it seriously, methodically covering each aisle and sizing up the competition.

He had spent some time at the Sega booth. Loading up on swag, a t-shirt and a hat, he then turned down the aisle and spotted the area Gottlieb had reserved. Things looked chaotic there and he was just about to move along when he spotted…HIM.

Their eyes met across the crowded hall and the chemistry was unmistakable. He didn’t know what a Q*bert was, but this was no ordinary digital creation. He knew in an instant that this orange ball with the long nose was his new magnetic north, his soul mate.

The above photo was the last one ever taken of Johnson. It appeared in a 1983 issue of Video Games magazine.

Some say that Johnson is still out there, traveling from arcade to arcade maintaining old Q*bert arcade machines and keeping the dream alive. Some might think that isn’t the best way for a person to spend their life, but look at this photo. In it you see a moment of pure truth, when all of a single human’s destiny becomes crystal clear. Those who argue with truth are fated to never find it.

Destiny Realized

Destiny Realized

Harrison Ford Is Taking It Easy On The Set of 1983’s Return Of The Jedi

What is a Corellian smuggler, one possibly suffering from the effects of hibernation sickness due to the Carbonite procedure, like Han Solo to do in between takes on location in Arizona’s Yuma Desert?

If this amazing photo from History in Pictures is any indication you just mimic Harrison Ford and pull up a patch of sand and soak in the rays.

Ronnie, Nancy, and Grandma: Recalling My Grandma’s Love for the Reagans

The death of Nancy Reagan yesterday triggered some emotions in me that I had dealt with a year ago, when my maternal grandmother passed away. She loved everything about the Reagans and was a Conservative of the highest order. Like Ronald Reagan, she succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease after a lengthy battle, living almost 12 years from the time of her diagnosis until her death in February 2015. Until she died, I often compared her longevity to Ronald Reagan. I even remember saying it about two days before she passed away, when asked how she was doing.

I could really kick myself for that.

Continue reading