Battlestar Galactica

Atari Was Making A Battlestar Galactica Laserdisc Game?!

Battlestar Galactica was required viewing in my youth. Of course it didn’t hurt the television series that in 1978 everyone was in the grip of Star Wars fever. In fact I I saw the Battlestar Galactica movie, which was an abridged version of the TV pilot, at the 62 Drive-In of my youth.

ReMastered By JDG

My notebooks at school were chock full of doodles featuring Stormtroopers as well as Cylon Warriors. Although I regret to say that I wasn’t lucky enough to receive very many of the toys. However I did get my hands on Mattel’s Cylon Centurion figure. Moreover it became a rival bounty hunter for Boba Fett in my Star Wars toy universe.

So in other words, I was a pretty big fan of the short lived Battlestar Galactica series. What I was not remotely aware of until yesterday though, was that Atari had plans on a laserdisc game. I found out about it thanks to Patrick Barnes who posted on the Diary of An Arcade Employee Facebook Page. It was back in 1984 that Atari began work on a conversion kit for another of their laserdisc titles – Firefox.

Image courtesy of the Arcade Flyer Archive.

Sadly the Battlestar Galactic arcade game never saw the light of day. On the positive side at least there exists this test footage of the proposed arcade title.

Uploaded by Scottith Games to his YouTube account!

Furthermore he shares an interview with a designer of the game. Owen Rubin who worked on such classic games as Battlezone, Space Duel and Major Havoc:
“With Galactica, it was my idea originally as I was a Galactica fan obviously, (those are Cylon ships in Major Havoc, and the graphics displays in the tactical display were drawn like in Galactica as well), the guys who did Star Wars and Firefox started the project. I did a small amount of work as well. All that was really done was some footage on the laserdisc that let you land a fighter ship into one of the landing bays on either side of the large ship.

The video on the disc is recorded in such a way that playing it back would look like garbage. It is a bunch of still frames that you play out of order so that you can change what you are playing seamlessly. For example, the landing footage is one of 9 to 16 or so frames from different positions as you approach the landing bay. Imaging a 3×3 of 4×4 grid of possible positions you can approach from, with the center being straight on. If you fly straight, the program would display every 9th frame which was the video of flying straight.
Battlestar Galactica - Landing Bay
If you moved right, you would select the proper “frame view” and it would look like you moved in the video to the right, and now play every 9th “right position 1″ video frame in order. With this scheme, you could fly in 2 dimensions with the joystick while the game pushed you forward in the third as well, controlled by a throttle.”

It most certainly isn’t every single day that you learn about such a video game project. I want to thank Patrick Barnes once again as well as Scottith Games for documenting what might be lost arcade game history.

Now that you’ve learned about the Battlestar Galactica arcade game. How about you watch the 1998 trailer for the reboot of the series that the late and great Richard Hatch conceived?

[Via] Peter Noble

Battlestar Galactica Intro (1978)

There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans. That they may have been the architects of the great pyramids, or the lost civilizations of Lemuria or Atlantis. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive somewhere beyond the heavens…

Vintage Cylon Action Figure

Sometimes I run across things at antique malls that say “buy me.”

Sometimes I run across things that say “buy me or else.” This was one of those.

Based on the limited research I’ve done this morning, this Cylon was made in 1978 and actually had a working red LED light in the helmet. This particular one doesn’t appear to work — hopefully a battery change and a quick cleaning will take care of that.

Until I get around to that, this particular Cylon has a new assignment: guarding my car in parking lots.

This is one door you do not want to ding.

cylon cake

Battlestar Galactica Cake

After posting a picture of my friend’s Atari 2600 Wedding Cake, I decided to look around and see if I could find any other cool retro wedding cakes out there. Turns out there are a lot of them. I mean, a lot. Not only are there blogs dedicated to cool wedding cakes; there are blogs dedicated to covering those blogs!

While I don’t want to turn the Retroist into “cake central”, I did think this Battlestar Galactica themed cake was too awesome not to share. So … here’s a slice!

This cake was made by Karren’s Specialty Cakes for (I’m guessing) one lucky sci-fi loving fan.

Battlestar Galactica Panel: Blood and Chrome

I had the opportunity to attend a WonderCon panel hosted by Richard Hatch in which he and other showrunners talked about the past and future of Battlestar Galactica.  Sorry about the lousy photo  – the previous generation iPhone is great at a lot of things, but zoom photography is not one of them.  One highlight was a trailer for Blood and Chrome – the prequel to the SyFy version of Battlestar.  The panel revealed that SyFy liked the pilot, but was uncertain how to proceed.  That means the pilot may air on the air, or it could be shown online.   They seemed skeptical that a show would follow due to the network’s cost concerns.  That said, the footage was amazing.  The panel revealed that, aside from the actors and some basic framework on the stages, it was all 100% CGI.  This surprised me, because I wouldn’t have guessed that from the trailer.  That said, the trailer’s scenes moved by at a lightning clip – so it is possible that when the camera lingers on a scene, it won’t work as well.  The clip had a Battlestar version of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” as the background music – and when it completed, the audience erupted in applause.  I must admit, the series ending to Battlestar left me cold – and it diminished my feelings for the series overall.  This prequel looked good enough to remind me all I loved about that incarnation, along with the original.  I hope to get a chance to see it soon.

5 Star Day Movie Review (2010)

In my youth, I’m talking as a child here, maybe seven or eight years old…I was incredibly drawn to the signs of the Zodiac. It probably had something to do with the way my Grandmother and Great Grandmother described the horoscopes in our local newspaper to me everyday…to my young ears it sounded like I was in the most important club of all time, the Pisceans! It was most certainly fueled further by the Zodiac signs being incorporated into the mythos of the Battlestar Galactica series back in 1978 and the Re-Imagining in 2004. While I never gave much thought to Astrology, my Great Grandmother certainly did, so I’ve always been entertained by it all to say the least.

When our friends at the Platform Media Group were kind enough to send me a review copy of Danny Buday’s (A&E’s Biography) debut film, 5 Star Day, I was quite interested when I learned that Astrology is the main character’s motivation or his quest to disprove it all rather.

The story revolves around Jake Gibson (Cam Gigandet), a guy that would seem to put a bit of stock in his daily horoscopes. The newspaper proclaims he is going to have a 5 star day and what can make that better than with it falling on your birthday? Well…all in one day he loses his job, finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him, and has his car stolen. That is one bad birthday no matter how you cut it but Jake decides that for his Ethics Class thesis he is going to disprove Astrology once and for all. How? By hitting the road and finding the three other people that were born on the same day at the same hospital at roughly the same time as himself. This ‘adventure’ will lead him to cross paths with Sarah (Jena Malone), Yvette (Brooklyn Sudano), and Wesley (Max Hartman). Interviewing them on his video camera for his thesis he is determined to learn how their own birthdays played out and not to step too deeply into spoilers here but…they didn’t exactly have the greatest things happen to them either.

While not in subject matter obviously, the film reminded me a bit of Ben Stiller’s Reality Bites from 1994. It just had the same feeling for a lack of a better word. I was very happy to see character actors, Nick Chinlund (Training Day, ConAir, Chronicles of Riddick) as Jake’s Professor of Ethics and the always awesome Mark Boone Junior (Memento, Batman Begins, 30 Days of Night) as the Homeless Prophet (This character needs his own film).

5 Star Day has toured the circuits and taken Best Feature at the Stony Brook Film Festival, and was the opening night film at the Newport Beach Film festival, closing night film at the Beverly Hills Film and New Media Festival and played in my neck of the woods in fact at a local film festival.

I found the film to be moving and the cast did a fantastic job, I particularly enjoyed the work of Max Hartman as Wesley, a lounge singer in the style of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. In fact Max sings his own songs in the film and is really good!

5 Star Day is hitting your favorite digital entertainment providers and physical store shelves on DVD and Blu-Ray this Tuesday, February 7th. Which is kind of funny in a way, the characters in the film were born on February 6th.