Death Race Video Game Controversy

Death Race Video Game Controversy

Long before Grand Theft Auto was freaking everyone out, we had the Death Race Video Game Controversy. Death Race is till a controversial arcade game. It was released by Exidy in the United States in 1976 and they only made about 500 of these cabinets. This makes this infamous game a difficult one to find. I was lucky enough to be able to play it at the Musée Mécanique in San Francisco.

Death Race was controversial because it appeared to promote vehicular violence. Even though Exidy took great pains to describe the human stick figures you are running over a “gremlins”, people were not buying it. The media lashed out. It did not help that the game’s working title was Pedestrian and appeared to be inspired by the 1975 cult film Death Race 2000.

Here is an example of the media reaction at the time in the form of a newspaper article. It hangs right next to the machine at the Musée Mécanique.

death race video game article

Controversial, maybe. But did it contribute to an increase in violence? No. It also did not do so well for Exidy. This was probably partly due to the backlash.

As you might guess from the year of its release, the game does not have anything resembling modern video game violence. By today’s standards, it is quite tame. Here is some game-play footage. I hope it does not turn your stomach or worse, turn you into a homicidal maniac.

Death Race Game-play Video

I played a couple of games of Death Race. It handled pretty well and was kind of fun. You won’t find many of these games out in the wild, but if you are at one of their know locations, make sure you drop a few quarters into one. According to online sources you can find Death Race machines at Musée Mécanique in San Francisco, the Galloping Ghost Arcade in Illinois, and Fun Spot in New Hampshire.

If you do play, I would love to hear about your experience. At least share how well you did. According to the game, I am an Expert Drive. So try and beat that.

death race scoring

Dennis Miller Introduces THE FUTURE of Movie and Gaming Rentals!

THE FUTURE also comes complete with early 1990s Dennis Miller smarm and smirk!

For the record, I’ve always liked that smarm and smirk.

Anyways…THE FUTURE!

Now, I Don’t Wanna Go Off In A Rant Here…

When I was almost in my teens (and carrying right into today), Dennis Miller was my hero. He never failed to amuse me (even when I didn’t get the reference), he was aware his acting skills were terrible (Bordello of Blood, anyone?), and he had books in publication. I like funny men, I like bad acting, and I love books. Say what you will about him now, but I (still) love the guy. He still cracks me up…and I still don’t get every reference.

I’ve been lucky enough to see the man perform live twice (once in 2005, another time in 2006). The first time I saw him (at Borgata’s Music Box Theater), the show was initially “sold out,” but a random Ticketmaster email with the promise of available tickets 24 hours before the show meant seeing him perform. The second time (at Circus Maximus Theater, Caesars Atlantic City), it was a surprise that I knew about three weeks before.

Most “critics” say he’s lost his edge. I don’t believe that for a second when you don’t miss a beat in your material. He’s still as esoteric as he ever was, but damn, I laughed hysterically each time.

Back to the 1990s…

In the early 1990s (post-Saturday Night Live), the man was marketable, and he turned up everywhere. ESPY hosting duties, Primetime Emmy hosting duties, Talk Show #1, Talk Show #2, a movie here, a movie there, commercial, commercial, commercial, another movie, commercial.

He was the spokesperson for everything, folks.

And as I just found out…he hosted corporate marketing videos!

Allow me to turn over a New Leaf…

New Leaf Enertainment

In 1992, Blockbuster Video, coupled with IBM, turned over a “new leaf” in THE FUTURE of home video and gaming rentals. The concept allowed retailers access to a vast digital library of films and video games, copied into a cartridge or disc.

The company name, you ask? New Leaf Entertainment!

And they asked Dennis Miller to tell us about it, while dispensing of esoteric references and technological talk, while displaying his bad acting skills and his hilarious depiction of a French accent.

That’s probably his best acting, folks.

Although, if you saw Disclosure, he’s not that terrible of an actor. But Michael Crichton wrote his part with him in mind, so…

Seriously, he was REALLY good in this movie. Especially when he turned his back on Michael Douglas. You’d think an actual actor with actual acting chops publicly questioned Douglas’s character’s “transgression.”

Anyway, I could tell you all about this amazing technology Miller can’t wait to tell us about, but why don’t I let him do that instead?

Click play, cha-cha!

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Sounds great in theory, right?

It Sounded Like a Great Idea…

But it wasn’t. Because it never happened.

Well, not in 1992.

The whole concept wound up being just that…a concept. A concept with terrible acting and presentation material that may as well have been Miller’s stand-up routine.

I wonder if Dennis Miller remembers that he did this.

The idea sounds amazing in theory, but technology as it was in 1992, as well as a weak distribution model, lead this the whole idea.

For more information on this (and the eventual testing phase in 1994), the Gaming Historian covered the gaming end of it on his show.

(That’s how I found the Dennis Miller marketing video!)

Upload via Gaming Historian

What do you think? Was this a great idea in theory, or just an idea of what was to come once the right technological advancements were made?

Blue’s Journey into Cosplay!

Use your leaf to save the planet Raguy!

Blue’s Journey, or ‘Raguy’ as it was known to Japanese audiences is a rare commodity on the Neo Geo gaming system – a platformer! Blue’s Journey isn’t the only platform game, but none are as colourful or as charming.

Playing as titular hero ‘Blue’, you and your trusty leaf must journey across the world of Raguy, saving the planet from the evil Daruma Empire. The plot might be cliché, but the levels are anything but. The stages are bright and varied, taking you from a jungle to a mechanical city in around 30 minutes.

Blue's Journey Flyer

My favourite part of playing Blue’s Journey is in meeting the inhabitants of Raguy. You really get the sense that developers Alpha Denshi hired artists who simply wanted to create really cool costumes! I love the insectoid vibe!

Raguy characters

The Color Blue (or Red, or Purple, or Green…)

The images I’m posting here are a small selection of the characters you’ll meet on the way. If you’re searching for ideas for your next cosplay, let the people of Raguy inspire you!

Raguy costumes

You can see more of Blue and his colourful journey over on Youtube. If you’d prefer to play the game but don’t have a Neo Geo and stacks of cash lying around, then check out the Virtual Console release on Nintendo’s Wii. You could also look out for its release on the Neo Geo X, volume 5!

You should also check out the 2-player co-operative mode!

If you’d like to watch a bit more fun with the game, I recommend heading to CineMassacre. James and Mike have a lot of fun with the game!

This post continues my Neo Geo series:
An irreverent and artistic A-Z of Neo Geo Gaming.

Netflix's Castlevania

Netflix’s Castlevania Is A Bloody Good Time!

It is hard to believe but Netflix’s Castlevania animated series has been unleashed. I can at the very least tell you, without giving away the entire plot of the series, that it stays true to the spirit of Konami’s video game series. As well as successfully adapting the Gothic and dark story line touched upon by the games for a most assuredly adult audience. Netflix’s Castlevania is delightfully gory and doesn’t shy from it’s horror roots.
Netflix's Castlevania

I should probably mention that this first season of Netflix’s Castlevania is a mere four episodes. In all honesty I found that to be rather shocking. However I have found information that Adi Shankar, the producer, has said in all there will be two seasons. With the second and of course presumably longer season landing in 2018.

As I mentioned when sharing that awesome NES inspired teaser trailer just back in May. The series has been penned by none other than Warren Ellis. A writer I hold in very high regard as his Planetary comic series is hands down one of my favorite books. Ever.
Netflix's Castlevania

The story itself while taking elements from the Castlevania game series, mostly seems focused on the cast of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. Which was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1990.
Netflix's Castlevania

Netflix’s Castlevania does something rather different indeed. Right off the bat we are shown a very different version of Dracula. Furthermore one quite different from the character we’ve become accustomed to in Konami’s games. Yes, this Vlad Dracula Tepes is still very much a vampire and dangerous. But he is also in fact reasonable and is convinced by a young woman to rejoin mankind.
Netflix's Castlevania

I mention this, friends, as you will actually side with Dracula a bit. I say side because thanks to a religious zealot, tragedy turns Vlad into a terror of the night. His retribution however threatens the lives of every man, woman, and child. No one will be spared from his wrath.
Netflix's Castlevania

It certainly looks like an undead tide of horror will sweep across the lands. Thankfully there is one man who will take up the challenge of halting Dracula’s bloody reign. Trevor Belmont, the last surviving Son of the Belmont clan.
Netflix's Castlevania

Wait. Hold up a second. While Trevor is certainly an inspiring and dashing figure. The very last thing he wants to do is be a hero. His goal is pretty much to stay drunk as much as possible and keep his belly full. Now, I should add that through the four episodes we totally understand why Trevor is behaving this way. His family too has been subject to the whims of religious zealots.

Trevor crosses paths with a group of Speakers. One of which, Sypha Belnades, happens to be a magic-user. Her desire to protect mankind contrasts sharply with Trevor’s pragmatic nature.
Netflix's Castlevania

While four episodes are short and to be honest, you will be left on something of a cliffhanger. The writing is top notch and the animation style as I have already mentioned is satisfyingly dark. The voice talent is also where Castlevania should be praised. Playing Trevor is Richard Armitage (The Hobbit), Matt Frewer (Max Headroom) plays the Bishop. In addition Graham McTavish (Preacher) lends his voice to the role of Dracula, with Alejandra Reynoso (G.I. Joe: Renegades) as Sypha. Rounding out the cast is Battlestar Galactica’s James Callis, Tony Amendola, as well as Emily Swallow (Supernatural).

Last but certainly not least is Trevor Morris’ powerful and haunting score. You don’t have to take my word on that though as you can in fact listen to the theme below!

[Via] Sariel Dracool

Now if you are ready for a dark and bloody good time. You can binge watch Netflix’s Castlevania animated series right this minute!

Marvel Age - Cover

Marvel at this issue of Marvel Age featuring Questprobe!

Marvel Age was a sort of comic book that was published from 1983 until 1994. It actually was kind of an extension of the Marvel Bullpen Bulletins. Which of course offered news about upcoming books and events that all of us Marvel Zombies needed to know. Marvel Age went a step further by offering previews of new titles. In addition I was always impressed with the great interviews with some of the superstars of the time.

Furthermore how can you balk at a publication that featured none other than Crystar? I realize I may in fact be in the minority for my love of Remco’s crystal warrior. But that first issue of Marvel Age totally has a cover by the legendary Walt Simonson as well!
Marvel Age

I have in the past shared my memories and thoughts on the line of Questprobe games. The graphic and text based adventures by Scott Adams. While certainly they might appear to be rather dated in contrast to the Marvel games being made today. I think it’s equally important to remember that in 1984 – when Questprobe featuring the Hulk was released. These were a big deal and offered a new way to experience the adventures of our favorite Marvel Comics characters.

For one thing, you should keep in mind that one of the best Marvel Comic games at this point was 1982’s Spider-Man for the Atari 2600!

[Via] Retro Game Commercials

I certainly hope it doesn’t sound like I’m knocking the Atari 2600 Spider-Man game. As it is in fact one of my favorite games for the system. However when your text based actions help to trigger the transformation of Bruce Banner to the Hulk! That is a magical moment indeed!
Marvel Age - The Hulk

Which brings us to this particular issue of Marvel Age. Knowing my love of the Questprobe series of games. The esteemed Gary Burton picked up this issue at a flea market a little while back. Within the pages there are excellent interviews with the likes of then Editor In Chief Jim Shooter as well as Scott Adams of course. To say nothing of what looked like a bright future for the Questprobe series.
Marvel Age - Chief Examiner

How could they fail? They had twelve games in the works with the most popular Marvel Comics characters at the time. The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, and even the duo of The Thing and The Human Torch! In short these were the only three games to be produced which was a terrible shame. The concept was intriguing and moreover they almost had the X-Men game finished when the plug was pulled.
Marvel Age - Spider-Man
Marvel Age - Human Torch and Thing

At the very least we still have those three Questprobe titles and they are readily available to play. Likewise there were 140 issues of Marvel Age to enjoy and they still are an excellent snapshot of the time they were produced.



Now that you’ve had the opportunity to enjoy issue 18 of Marvel Age. Why not check out my earlier posts on the Questprobe games?

For all of you fans of the Incredible Hulk – Here is my article from back in 2011!

Don’t you worry true believers! I also covered Questprobe featuring Spider-Man!