Ready Player One review - Poster

Vic’s Ready Player One Review (Non-Spoilers)

What would be the easiest way for me to express my feelings for a Ready Player One review? Go see the movie and remember that Steven Spielberg is a Director of some renown? Sure. I feel you will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t make it out to an actual movie theater and see it? Maybe. Nostalgia is not the be all and end all for the film? Definitely a truth, and in addition a valid point. No, the easiest way for me to sum up a Ready Player One review is that Spielberg has delivered a very fun film.

Obviously as I have already stated in previous posts, I admit I am one of the target audience. Of course I would be woefully inept if I didn’t mention the Retroist summed up the problems facing the film better than myself. But the truth is this. Ready Player One while not a perfect film is the closest we’ve come to seeing the Spielberg that brought us some genre-forging films. Similar to the likes of Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Furthermore, I truly feel that not only Spielberg but Zak Penn have taken the core of Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel. I don’t want to stay improved it, but perhaps brought other elements of the story to the forefront. Case in point, Art3mis, wonderfully played by Olivia Cooke. Many critics have lashed out at Cline…and with reason…that her role in the book is something akin to a prize to be won. I am happy to say that in the film version that couldn’t be further than the truth, yes, it’s still a love story but no one is being ‘won’.
Ready Player One review - Olivia Cooke

Tye Sheridan does a very good job of portraying the main protagonist of the film, Wade Watts aka Parzival. To be fair the film’s beginning might be considered a little heavy on the exposition. On the other hand this is a case where the audience needs to get caught up on the fly. So I think it’s honest to say that the filmmakers didn’t make a mistake in this regard. Lena Waithe, Ben Mendelsohn, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, as well as Simon Pegg do great jobs with their roles too. Although I felt that Mark Rylance stole the show, in his scenes as the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday.
Ready Player One review - James Halliday

Of course as has been seen in the trailers, in fact too much so, is the pop culture celebrated by the film. In that superior post by the Retroist, he wisely mentions that the marketing for the film. Had indeed slightly missed the point of the film itself. The nostalgia that those of us of a certain age will feel while watching the film…isn’t the film. It would however be fair to say that it is used as something akin to window dressing. In fact Cline’s 2015 follow up novel Armada goes way, way too far with the nostalgia. I want my main takeaway from this Ready Player One review to be this. In no way is the pop culture nods or nostalgia ever rammed down your throat or the like. It is most CERTAINLY celebrated but Spielberg yet again knows this isn’t what the movie is about.
Ready Player One - Bigfoot

Naturally since this is my Ready Player One review, I reckon I better tell you the synopsis. It is 2045 and Wade is like practially everyone on the planet. Just trying to find some relief from the oppressing life he was born into. It does appear that every Man, Woman, and Child find escape by way of a staggering virtual reality universe known as the OASIS. Which had been created earlier by Halliday and his best friend Ogden Morrow (Pegg), before a falling out saw Halliday becoming sole owner of the technology. The creator of the OASIS was literally loved by the World…and why not?
Ready Player One review - Parzival and Art3mis

This virtual reality paradise, assuming you can afford it, lets you do anything. With the right equipment you can even have physical contact, for good or ill. Many aspects of pop culture have been given literally their own planets. For example, Planet Doom, which appears to be a free-for-all. Especially when artifacts are up for grabs. Think of these as incredibly rare and powerful power-ups, to be used and hoarded by those throughout the OASIS.
Ready Player One review - Planet Doom

James Halliday has died several years before the start of Ready Player One. While the World mourns the loss of such a genius, the eccentric has a little game to play still. That is the fact that he has created the greatest Easter egg hunt. Somewhere in the overwhelming vastness of the OASIS are hidden three keys, the player that finds them will inherit Halliday’s fortune. As well as the OASIS itself I should add – which would make them the most powerful person on the planet. Which is of course why the IOI, an telecommunications empire wants to make sure they are the ones who find Halliday’s Easter Egg.

Obviously, Wade and his fellow Gunters, those who hunt for the keys and aren’t employed by IOI – find themselves in the crosshair of that powerful corporation. It becomes a race to see who will gain control of the OASIS…and Halliday’s dream of a better world.

Ready Player One, friends…it is an incredibly entertaining film. A joyride that sums up why I so dearly love movies. Many of those films that I hold so dear, were of course directed and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is an absolute blast to see him rekindle the ‘spirit’ of some of his earlier work. A film which understands the delights of all pop culture and most importantly, has a lot of heart.

That 80’s feeling is helped by a score composed by the legendary Alan Silvestri. So the last thing in this Ready Player One review is the opportunity to hear the main theme from the film. Enjoy!

[via] WaterTower Music

Tapper - Christoper Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Tapper (1983)

Tapper is a great choice from Christopher Tupa, for this week’s Retro Arcade Art. Developed by Marvin Glass and Associates. Who I should add were responsible for a few games and toys you might recall. Ever hear of Operation or Mouse Trap? While Tapper may have been developed by Glass it was released by Bally Midway.
Tapper - Arcade Marquee

I think we should tackle the Tapper name right out of the gate. This classic arcade title has the distinction of being produced by Budweiser!
Tapper - Budweiser Arcade

It is a fact that the arcade cabinet has one of the most distinctive designs. The brass rail at the bottom of the machine for Players to rest a foot. As well as some featuring ashtray holders on the side of the control panel.
Tapper - Arcade Cabinet

While those are definitely unique features to be sure. However for a game that was mostly carried in family-friendly arcades. A lot of parents saw Tapper as promoting drinking and smoking. Which is why of course that Bally Midway released Root Beer Tapper as an alternative a mere year later.

Gone were the ashtrays and brass rail. The side art had even been altered to showcase a character that looked more like a soda jerk than a bartender. Naturally all elements of the Budweiser brand had been removed from the game as well.
Tapper - Root Beer Sign

As for the gameplay for Tapper it’s easy to understand but hard to master. Tapper must keep slinging frosty glasses of root beer to his thirsty patrons. Who appear in early stages in small numbers but increase in later levels.

On the first couple of stages you will be serving cowboys in a western bar. Followed by an outside event with sports fans. Then you will need to contend with angry punk rockers in a basement bar. And finally you will head to outer space to serve some aliens.

This is done by pulling on the tap which of course fills up the mug in Tapper‘s hand. Releasing the tap slings the full mug across the bar to a waiting patron. Doing so might result in a happy guest being pushed outside the doors. In fact you need to clear the bar of all patrons before being able to complete the stage. Of course if there is no one to receive a mug it crashes to the floor and you lose a life. The same thing will occur as well if you fail to retrieve a mug that the patron sends back to be refilled.
Tapper - Empty Mug

Also if a patron reaches the end of the bar without being served they lose their temper. Taking it out on the Player in fact by sliding Tapper across the bar and out the door. Resulting in a loss of a life of course.

Players can move up and down at the edges of the bar. In later stages the ends of the bar are often split up. Two might have you serving from the right side and two on the left, etc. Besides picking up the empty mugs which will net you points, some patrons will leave a tip. Collecting this will cause a quick dance number to start up which usually distracts the patrons. Giving you a couple of seconds to collect empty mugs and not get overwhelmed.
Tapper - Dancers

In addition to slinging root beer, between the changes in venue. There is a quick mini-game. A bandit shakes up all but one can of root beer. Then slams his fist against the counter causing them to rotate – forcing the player to keep a sharp eye on the unshaken can. Otherwise when you open the wrong can Tapper gets a face full of soda. Find the right can of course and you get a hefty bonus to your score.

Now that you know the rules of Tapper, why not watch it in action?

[Via] Barry Bloso

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

Don’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project as well!

Kaos - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Kaos (1981)

Christopher Tupa has done it again. With Kaos his pick for this week’s Retro Arcade Art. He has chosen another arcade title that I have not heard of before. I am going to go out on a limb and assume that many of you have not heard of Kaos before today as well!

While Kaos might be a mystery to you. I will add that who is responsible for the design and production of the game also requires some sleuthing. If you go with the knowledgeable folks over at the International Arcade Museum the credit goes to Taiyo. Although as can be seen from that attract screen as well as the arcade cabinet itself, it was released by GamePlan, inc.
Kaos - Arcade Machine

However, mystery of who gets credit for Kaos aside. This 1981 game belongs to the maze genre of classic arcade titles. Although having said that this isn’t like Pac-Man. In fact it is a vertical maze that the Players have to navigate – jumping from one moving platform to another. I honestly feel that 1982’s Zoo Keeper was inspired by Kaos for the former’s bonus level.

Now the gameplay for Kaos is rather simple. Players attempt to catch coins as they glide across the moving platforms towards the bottom of the stage.
Kaos - Stage 1

This isn’t just because you are trying to rack up points of course. It turns out that in this video game universe when a coin reaches the bottom of the screen it becomes a deadly dragon! Who will naturally give chase to the Player.
Kaos - Dragons

As you might imagine if a dragon catches the Player you lose a life. But at the very least you can take comfort that you helped to fill a dragon’s stomach, right?
Kaos - Dragon is Fed

In later stages the dragons will actually spawn from the top of the stage. Beyond that another threat is the maze itself. For example some of the platforms will have walls attached to them that can slide you off. Or worse yet in early levels they can rake you to the side of the screen where you will be electrocuted. However in some later stages you can safely wraparound to the other side. Thankfully before each stage it will give you a friendly warning. In addition if you slip through a crack in the platforms at the bottom of the screen you will be fried as well.

Take heart though brave adventurer! The Player isn’t totally without a way to fight back. If you jump up to the top of the stage and make contact with a green pyramid. You are transformed into an almighty dragon-slaying King! At least for a little while. You can rush towards the foes and dispatch them with a touch…and net yourself a nice score in the process.

Kaos - King

Hail to the King, Baby!

Feel like trying Kaos for yourself? Good news it’s totally available on the Internet Archive Arcade!

Kaos - Service Manual

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

Don’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project as well!
(Bomb Jack)
(Devil Fish)
(Dig Dug)

Jungler - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Jungler (1981)

How many of you Arcade Addicts out there played Jungler back in the day? While I was indeed familiar with Christopher Tupa’s pick for this week’s Retro Arcade Art. I will certainly admit that I never had the privilege of playing Jungler in the arcades of my youth.
Jungler - Marquee

Jungler happens to be one of the many maze games from the early 80s. Obviously Pac-Man is the most famous of that genre. However back in 1973 Atari heped start the arcade maze craze with Gotcha!

While Jungler was developed by Konami it was in fact Stern that produced the game. You might now Stern for it’s arcade classic titles like Berzerk, Scramble, Tutankham, as well as Pooyan. The goal of the game is to control your white colored snake (Jungler?) as it navigates a maze.
Jungler - Screen 1

The problem is you have three other snakes in the maze with you. They want nothing more than to catch and devour you. The enemies comes in three different colors as well as lengths. The green snakes are shorter than Jungler and if a Player makes contact with the head it will safely devour them. A yellow snake is the equal length of the Player. While you will be able to eat them- they won’t cost you a life if you make contact in the maze. The red snakes however are longer than the Player and will result in death if it catches you.
Jungler - Red Snake

This isn’t a game though where you just have to constantly be on the run from your foes. Not at all. Jungler as it turns out happens to be able to shoot at the enemy snakes. Each successful hit will shorten a snake by one segment. Of course the enemies will do this randomly as well so you always have to be on your toes.

I was quite shocked while doing research to learn that Jungler did not receive a port to the popular home consoles of the day. It did have versions on both the Arcadia 2001 console in 1982 as well the Tomy Tutor a year earlier. On the other hand it at least got a handheld version thanks to Gakken.
Jungler - Gakken

As I previously mentioned earlier in the post. Jungler was a game that just wasn’t found in my neck of the woods. Thankfully I was able to play it when the Game Room dropped on the Xbox – a classic gaming option I might add that should have stuck around.
Jungler - Arcade Cabinet

Ready to see Jungler in action?

[Via] H. Gallo 64

Now remember that with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

Don’t forget to review CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project!
(Bomb Jack)
(Devil Fish)
(Dig Dug)