Take an I.O.U. from Freeez (1983)

Browsing through a 1983 copy of No. 1 magazine, I was drawn to the song lyrics for a song called I.O.U. by UK dance group Freeez. I wasn’t able to immediately bring the song to mind and so went looking on Youtube for it. I’m so pleased I did as it’s a catchy tune that has aged remarkably well.

If you’re anything like me after watching that video, you’ll be thinking, WOW, that was definitely 1983. Here’s a couple of my favourite images:


I foolishly watched the video several times and now have “A-E-A-E-I-O-U-U I Sometimes Cry” on a repeating loop in my head. I apologise if this happens to any of you. If you need help with your own singalong, here’s the lyrics:

Freeez Lyrics

Because I’m a sucker for punishment, I also had to watch the group’s performance on the Top of the Pops Christmas ’83 special:

If you look carefully, you’ll see the guy on keyboard is wearing a pair of those rather fetching visor-glasses! For the ultimate I.O.U. experience, check out this acapella and dub mix which is guaranteed to become an instant ear-worm!

Dungeons and Dragons Figures

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Last year I wrote a short article about some Dungeons and Dragons figures I found at a local toy store. Although when I wrote the article I hadn’t purchased them, I went back shortly and did just that.

Since then I’ve added four more figures to my collection: Strongheart the Paladin, Elkhorn the Dwarf, Warduke the Fighter, and Zarak the Evil-Half Orc Assassin.

Dungeons and Dragons figures (excluding the miniatures) were released in two series and two sizes: the traditional 3 3/4″ scale and a larger, 5″ size. Some of the figures were released in both series and in both sizes, making collecting all of them a bit confusing. This page over at the Toy Archive does a pretty good job of identifying them all by series and size.

Here’s a great video that shows off most of the figures. (It starts off a bit dramatic and gets to the figures about a minute in.) Man, if nothing else, I’ve got to get one of those rotating displays.

Oil’s Well (Sierra, 1983)

Oil's Well

In 1983’s Oil’s Well by Sierra (before they were Sierra Online), players control a drill bit and must “devour” pellets of oil. Your drill bit can be broken by hitting land mines and various critters roaming the tunnels beneath the earth. The game is almost identical to another popular game released for home computers in 1983, Datamost’s Ardy the Aardvark, which apparently was based on the 1982 arcade game Anteater.

The dinosaur seen above is Slater the Petrosaur, as seen in the 1990 PC version of the manual. Slater has essentially nothing to do with the game. I guess they just needed a cute mascot to put in the manual for marketing purposes.

Oil’s Well was released for the Apple II, Atari 8-bit, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, MSX, and the IBM PC. I spent some time playing the Apple II version this week and it’s really addictive. Your drill bit is controlled by the joystick, while the button retracts it quickly. If a critter touches any part of your drill bit it breaks, so getting all the oil located on the bottom levels is quite challenging.

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My current “retrocomputing desk” consists of two Raspberry Pi computers, a Commodore 64, an Apple IIe, and a MiST (Amiga and Atari ST) machine. I had hoped to try out a few more games last night but all I did was play Oil’s Well for a couple of hours.

Here’s some footage of the Commodore 64 version of Oil’s Well…

…and here’s some footage from the 1990 MS-DOS version. Keep an eye out for Slater!