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starcade-2

Shout! Factory To Reboot Starcade For Television!

Starcade thanks to the folks at Shout! Factory has earned an extra life. Talk about some unexpectedly good news, right?

Of course if you grew up in the Golden Age of the arcades. Starcade was an incredibly amazing and popular game show. Premiering on TBS back in 1982 – Starcade was really something special. Thanks in no small part to the show’s main host, Geoff Edwards.
Starcade - Geoff Edwards

Now the news about Starcade being rebooted – introduced to a new generation is awesome. A true reason to celebrate in fact. Having said that I certainly hope our friends from Shout! Factory will always take this opportunity to release the original episodes to DVD.

There isn’t a whole lot of information on what the new show will be like at this time. I have to doubt that it will focus on arcade games but who can say? They do use the term “retro-boot” in the press release:

“Shout! Factory, a multi-platform media company, has acquired worldwide television format and ancillary rights to the classic TV game show STARCADE from JM Production Company and show creators James Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur. The agreement provides Shout! Factory the rights to develop and produce a reboot of the show for television, as well as production of additional projects for a global audience. Shout! Factory will executive produce these projects with JM Production Company, creators of the original game show. This announcement was made today by Shout! Factory’s founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos; and show creators James Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur.

“STARCADE is a classic game show from the ’80s and is pure nostalgic fun. We couldn’t be more excited to work with the original show creators to ‘retro-boot’ STARCADE for a new generation of fans,” stated Shout! Factory’s founders. “As we continue to actively expand our reach into production and development for new series, movies, unscripted shows and specials, this deal exemplifies the type of content we plan to pursue which taps into the interests and passions of our company’s loyal fanbase.”

Created by James Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur, STARCADE first aired in 1982 during the dawn of the video game era and is widely recognized as the first-ever video arcade game show, featuring great gamers competing against rivals playing the most popular games of the day in front of a live studio audience in order to win huge prizes. Alex Trebek hosted one of the first pilots for the show which was later picked up by Ted Turner to air on his then-fledgling cable station, WTBS; STARCADE went on to air more than 130 episodes over three seasons on Turner.

“I consider myself lucky to have been part of the first generation to grow up playing video games and watching STARCADE in the 1980s,” said Shout! Factory’s Development Director, Jeremy Whitham. “Back then, no one could have predicted video games would one day become the world’s most popular form of entertainment. I can’t wait to see today’s crop of celebrities, pro gamers and e-sports stars compete head-to-head and find out who is the top player on the planet.”

“We’re thrilled to be part of this STARCADE revival,” said Jim Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur, producers of the original STARCADE series. “We look forward to bringing the show back for all those avid Starcaders who have been waiting for years, as well as a new class of gaming heroes. Game on!”

The deal was negotiated by Shout’s Jeremy Whitham and James Caruso, the creator and executive producer of the original STARCADE.

If you’ve not had the pleasure of seeing Starcade before – you are in for a treat. Here is an episode featuring the likes of Pengo, Gyruss, Qix, and Graplop!

[Via] Retrorama

VCR retirement

The Retirement of a Legend

It is with much praise and sadness that I announce the retirement of a legend.

Before you freak out about the possibility that something negative happened already in 2017 (and seriously, people, we don’t need to be so edgy!), this wonderful legend gave twenty years to entertaining and archiving for its owner. It is responsible for much of what that owner shares both here and on my blog. While it still worked somewhat, the best years were behind it, and it was time.

I’m talking about my prized VCR.

What did you think I was talking about?

Last Thursday, for the final time, I attempted a tape transfer using my first and only VCR. But the obvious tracking issues, diminished video quality, and the general incompatibility with my television (which I was remedying with a Hauppage PVR to some success) proved that the VCR was, in fact, old and tired.

But just as beautiful as the day I hooked it up, twenty years ago.

This lovely piece of equipment, the Sharp VC-A552, was a Christmas present in 1996. I remember asking for this very specific one. Mind you, this was before the internet was a big deal (and before we had it in my house), so any researching I did solely came from reading Beat Buy sales fliers and walking around electronics stores. I was fourteen years old, and specifically asked for a “Sharp VCR,” since I had a Sharp television at the time (a lovely 13″ set, a Christmas present in 1995). My middle school had these VCRs included in their A/V equipment, and I was fascinated with how it looked, especially that circular set of buttons. Forget 19 Micron Heads, I wanted the Rewind/Fast Forward Knob! And it was more than just a pretty package, it worked nicely too. Even at 14, I knew exactly what I wanted in A/V equipment.

When I got it, I had aspirations of not only watching movies in the comfort of my bedroom (the ones I wanted to watch!), but also of recording EVERYTHING. I set timers, bought VHS tapes, and for ten years, it was a wonderful relationship. I bought my lovely (but not as long-lasting) DVD recorder in 2006, effectively ending my VCR’s recording days, but it got a new lease on life of transferring recordings to blank DVDs. It was actually used fairly regularly until about five years ago, and I think I was just afraid to overuse it.

By the numbers, this VCR outlasted three televisions (including that Sharp TV), two DVD players (including the DVD recorder I semi-retired the VCR for), survived three house moves, and outlived the remote that came with it.

It was a great remote, folks.

Like all good things (and the great first family VCR we had that I unintentionally murdered in 1996), after seeing the obvious decline in quality (I’d noticed it while putting together the various VCR tests I did last year), I felt it was time to finally retire my VCR completely. It was a sad retirement, but one done out of necessity.

But, never you worry about it – my parents gave me their Panasonic VCR (which is twelve years old, and infrequently used), and I now have something to finish all of those ongoing projects I love having a VCR for.

It doesn’t have a Rewind/Fast Forward Knob, but it does rewind at lightning speed.

Which is a little too fast for its own good. And also has a remote that doesn’t work.

Oh well.

Allison is a firm believer of owning items until you run them in the ground. She has run two VCRs and numerous items of clothing into the ground as a result of that theory. If you like reading things in the vein of VCR retirement notices, you should check out her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can also follow her blog on Facebook, and her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

Allison’s other most recent retirement? Stinky, her first space heater. 

Bonus content time! Allison wrote several VCR test articles (and made videos to accompany them!). Take a look, if you dare!

Video/VCR Test – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie

Video/VCR Test #2 – “The Land Before Time”

Video/VCR Test #3 – “The Albert Achievement Awards”

Have you played Cannon Fodder in Color?

War has never been so much fun.

That’s a controversial way to start a Retroist post, so imagine the uproar when a little video game called Cannon Fodder used it to maximum effect back in 1993!

Cannon Fodder from Sensible Software rocked Great Britain, baiting the British media into advertising it through its use of the Remembrance Day poppy, and that ‘catchy’ phrase. The newspapers had a field day with this game, criticising it for its juxtaposition of war and humour, calling the game “offensive to millions” and “monstrous”.

It wasn’t all bad press though. One paper stated that the game was “a relatively profound statement on the futility of war”. Regardless, the publicity surrounding Cannon Fodder made it a game worthy of attention. And did I mention that the game intro actually SANG that memorable catchphrase too? Look and listen kids…

Thankfully, media attention and controversy were not the defining features of this war game. Cannon Fodder is incredibly good! An overhead action game where you are your soldiers fight with nothing but a mouse pointer to guide them.

I could spend time explaining the gameplay. The nice little touches like the poppies planted in the field for each lost soul. The overwhelming feeling of dread when you lost a soldier that had been with through numerous campaigns. If you’ve not played the Amiga original, you should really hunt out a longplay video on Youtube to see for yourself. This game was truly brilliant, and a reason to own the hardware.

Handheld Fodder.

The Amiga version of Cannon Fodder wasn’t really meant to be my focus for this post though. Instead, let me introduce you to the scaled down Game Boy Color edition:

Cannon Fodder on the Nintendo Game Boy Color

Quite by accident I spotted on Ebay listing for Cannon Fodder GBC and was surprised to see a high purchase price. I didn’t know anything about this version of the game, but that high price intrigued me.

I went looking for a gameplay video to learn more and I was not disappointed. The game is a delight in every regard!

It has a CGI intro, gorgeous graphics, amazing audio and technically stunning gameplay that I didn’t know this Nintendo portable was capable of… this video really is a must-see:

The game is clearly cut-down from its original source. You don’t control the same number of soldiers, the viewable area is much smaller, proper tactical decisions are mostly replaced by a simpler version of the core games run-and-gun mechanic… you get the idea.

It’s basically everything I thought would be wrong with the game. Except in this rare exception, this diminutive Cannon Fodder doesn’t suffer at all from these changes. It instead becomes a game that borrows heavily from its source, making something wonderful for its host system.

More Fodder

Whilst researching this article, I read the original manual for Cannon Fodder on the Amiga. It is full of really funny comments, such as:

You do not directly control troopers but instead determine their behaviour thanks to a remarkable interfacing technique involving a mouse, a pointer, and a troop leader,

and

BAZOOKAS – Not to be confused with the crude trombone-like musical instruments of the same name, or, indeed, bazoomas, which are something else entirely. These bazookas are weapons of war.

and

… on a more serious note: don’t try playing this at home, kids, because war is not a game – war, as Cannon Fodder demonstrates in its own quirky way, is a senseless waste of human resources and lives. We hope that you never have to find out the hard way.

If you like the Cannon Fodder theme tune, this video might interest you. It is the Amiga CD32 intro which features the developers acting up. The CD32 of course was Commodore’s ill-fated foray into the world of console gaming:

Still here? Then watch as the creator of the Cannon Fodder theme, Jon “Jops” Hare, sings and plays his creation at Pixel Heaven 2014!

If I still haven’t convinced you that Cannon Fodder on the Game Boy Color is a worthy title, IGN gave it a 90% review back in 2001.

Please don’t leave the screaming wounded to die. Bite the bullet, so to speak. and do the decent thing: finish them off.

Westworld '82

Westworld ’82

Previously on the Retroist, we’ve explored the barely-even-a-guilty pleasure status of the obscure and quickly-canned 1980 TV spinoff of Westworld, Beyond Westworld.

Of course, if you’ve watched HBO’s recent (and, it has to be said, much better than Beyond Westworld) reboot of Westworld as a high-profile series, you already know that the things you thought were happening concurrently are not happening concurrently; the chronological sequence of events is not what you thought it was going in.

What if TV history was like that, too? What if HBO’s Westworld series had been made in the 1980s? While the mind boggles at the wildly different standards of what levels of language (“this is the new world, and you can do whatever the heck you want!”) and nudity would’ve been permissible, YouTube user MessyPandas can already show you what the opening titles would’ve looked like, complete with a drum-machine-drenched synth-pop rendition of Ramin Djawadi’s pleasant but slightly unnerving theme music…

The authenticity of it is such that you can easily imagine having changed channels during the end credits of Automan to catch Westworld.

In this alternate timeline, I’d imagine that HBO’s Westworld still gets a huge audience, and reruns are still on the schedule when Game Of Thrones debuts in the 1990s…

…which, if it wasn’t on HBO, seems like it’d be in syndication on your local indie station (or maybe your UPN station – you do still have one of those in your timeline, right?), wedged in between Highlander: The Series and Renegade.

Alas, we now deposit you back into reality…but the good news is, you can still rewatch Westworld until the second season lands in 2018.

Avengers - British Pathe

Did 1961’s The Avengers Influence Real Life?

Ah, the gloriousness that was The Avengers. The program’s stories successfully mixed elements of Cold War with sci-fi. Furthermore like 1967’s The Prisoner it found a cult following when it reached the states. How could it not though? Especially when in 1965 it added the beautiful Diana Rigg as Emma Peel to the mix? A perfect foil in fact to the more proper gentleman represented by Patrick Macnee’s John Steed!

[Via] Route Master 19

While I was born a little too late to catch The Avengers in it’s original airing. I was lucky enough in High School to see the episodes that were played in reruns on A&E. I really fell for the show in a hard way. Even mimicking the clothing style of John Steed…to a degree. I certainly couldn’t afford to go to school in a Savile Row suit – but a trenchcoat and fedora would do in a pich. As well as a sturdy umbrella at my side and it was all too easy to play the part of the gentleman.
Avengers - Mr. Vic Sage

Of course back then I didn’t actually realize I was actually just a young Anglophile. But thanks to a video posted on Facebook the other day by RetroArt. It seems like some elements of The Avengers crept into real life.

Or is it actually real life elements being brought into that series? As this film for the amazing anti-thief security case was released on December 18,1961. So says at the very least, the British Pathe website.

It bears mentioning that John Steed didn’t start wearing his trademark attire until the 1962 season of The Avengers. Previously he actually wore a trenchcoat and acted as an assistant to Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry). Beginning in 1962 with a rotating trio of partners – Steed began to dress the part of the gentleman.
Avengers

Now make sure to hop on over to British Pathe site for the full “Beat the Bandit” video. In addition to learning things like the briefcase was named the “arrestor”. You will also see how well a steel lined bowler stands up to be driven over by a car.

Now that you’ve witnessed the inventions of 1961 possibly affecting The Avengers series. Why not take a moment and enjoy Macnee and his co-star, Honor Blackman’s “Kinky Boots” from 1964?

[Via] Lord Skytower

Check Out This Amazing 1973 Dr. Strange Cosplay!

There is without a doubt some talented cosplay going on in this day and age. Whether it be for popular video game, anime, or comic book characters. It’s easy to do a quick search online and find all levels of talent.

[Via] Nerd Caliber

Now if we are to go by the information provided by Wikipedia, cosplay has in fact been around for quite some time!
” A.D. Condo’s science fiction comic character Mr. Skygack, from Mars was the subject of costuming in 1908 in the United States.[42] Science fiction fans Forrest J Ackerman and Myrtle R. Douglas attended the 1939 1st World Science Fiction Convention in the Caravan Hall, New York, USA dressed in “futuristicostumes”, including green cape and breeches, based on the pulp magazine artwork of Frank R. Paul, designed and created by Douglas.”

You might happen to recall my post from last year about vintage cosplay. Featuring 1963 photos from WorldCon with the Lord of the Rings‘ Gollum. As well as John Carter of Mars‘ Tars Tarkas.

Images courtesy of the Vintage Geek Culture Tumblr.

Of course of late there has been an upswing in the amount of Dr. Strange cosplay. Thanks in no small part to the success of the 2016 film starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
Dr. Strange

But the other night I was sent a photo by one of my best friends. An image from the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society site – a photo from 1973 taken by Dik Daniels. Showcasing an earlier cosplayer taking on the mantle of Marvel Comics’ Sorcerer Supreme, the one and only Dr. Strange!

Image courtesy of Dik Daniels – Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.

Really an amazing bit of cosplay, I think you will agree. Be that as it may – the identity of the cosplayer is unknown. I would highly recommend you follow that link to the LASFS page. You can in fact check out a lot more photographs by Dik Daniels including this one. That is The Time Machine‘s George Pal as well as his Wife – the name of the fan is unknown.

C-3PO

Did You Know that C-3P0 Is Licensed To Kill?

[Via] Boy B Blue
Though I’m a fan of Star Wars and the old James Bond Movies with Sean Connery and Roger Moore, I’ve never thought about mixing them together. I do think that Harrison Ford would be an interesting and rather unconventional James Bond and Sean Connery would be a great Jedi Master.
C3-PO

Plastic Ham, who sells his great mash-up action figures on Etsy, had an even cooler idea. What if everyone’s favorite Protocol Droid was really a Secret Agent? Jay came up with Agent 3-PO. Be careful, I hear he is fluent in over six millions forms of combat.
C-3PO
I really like that Jay doesn’t just create cool action figures, he also creates custom packaging for each figure.

Want more Star Wars and James Bond goodies?

Please stop by my pop culture food blog – Between The Pages. I’ve featured some absolutely amazing James Bond Cakes and Star Wars Cakes.