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

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks is back…and it’s bringing action figures

Diane, it’s almost ten o’clock on Monday night, and I’ve just discovered something stupendous, something I never thought I’d see. No, not coffee that somehow manages to be even blacker than black, although that does sound pretty good right now. I’ve just discovered that Funko is about to unleash Twin Peaks action figures on the world.

At the 2017 London Toy Fair, Funko – best known currently for its seemingly endless variety of Vinyl Pop figures – unveiled not only Twin Peaks Vinyl Pops, but a selection of four 3 and 3/4″ Twin Peaks action figures as well. Perhaps it would be best to say that only three of them are action figures; one of the figures doesn’t really move…but then, the character of Laura Palmer didn’t really move much once she was wrapped in plastic.
Twin Peaks

As is often the case, Funko’s choice of characters to produce in what is often referred to as “the Star Wars scale” is both iconic and frustrating. Audrey and Leland, at least, get Vinyl Pops, but there’s no 3 and 3/4″ love for those all-important characters; the quartet of figures instead consists of Agent Dale Cooper, the Log Lady, the aforementioned plastic-wrapped corpse of Laura Palmer, and “Bob”, the spirit form of a deadly presence that inhabited more than one resident of Twin Peaks in the show’s two seasons on ABC. (It could be that the character choices are tied closely to Twin Peaks’ upcoming revival in May on Showtime – only time will tell.)

There is a welcome development for this latest round of 3 and 3/4″ figures from Funko – the “Star Wars standard” of five points of articulation (neck, shoulders, legs) has given way to nine point instead (adding elbow and knee joints); this slightly more modern approach puts these figures on a par with Big Bang Pow!’s Flash Gordon, Big Bang Theory and KISS action figures in the same scale. (Laura Palmer has no points of articulation, being dead and all. Blame it on rigor mortis…and hang her next to Carbonite Han in Jabba’s Palace.)


Will we ever get more characters in this format from Funko, which has drastically scaled back its ReAction line of 3 and 3/4″ figures in recent years? Overproduction of past 3 and 3/4″ lines such as Gremlins and classic Star Trek has given way to a more collector-oriented “boutique” approach with more recent licenses such as The Dark Crystal, The Golden Girls, and E.T.; however, Funko has irked a few collectors by not returning to the well for licenses that did prove popular. A good example of this was its Firefly license, which never delivered figures in any scale for Shepherd Book, River Tam, or Simon Tam, let alone any secondary or enemy characters – no Reavers, no Badger, no YoSaffBridge. Anyone who spent any time watching Twin Peaks at the height of its popularity knows that the show was about far more than just these four characters (one of whom is, it has to be said again for emphasis, dead and motionless); whether we’ll ever get more than three characters and a plastic corpse remains to be seen.

It’s also not known if these figures will be individually carded or sold as a boxed set, a la the more recent E.T. and Golden Girls box sets.

Funko’s line of Twin Peaks 3 and 3/4″ figures will arrive later this year.

How To Build The Black Hole’s Cygnus

The Black Hole was one of the most heavily-promoted flicks of the late seventies’ burgeoning category of post-Star-Wars sci-fi blockbuster-wanna-bes. Back then, the Star Wars universe was not yet a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney, and so Disney – like the rest of the studios – desperately tried to play catch-up with George Lucas’ (and 20th Century Fox’s) blockbuster.

The result was a flawed, but much-loved-by-fans-of-a-certain-age, epic. With the marketing might of Disney behind it, there were puzzles, read-along storybooks, model kits, and – perhaps best of all – Mego’s line of Black Hole action figures.

[Via] Action Figure King.Com

But what the model kits of the time couldn’t hope to duplicate was the sheer intricacy of The Black Hole’s delicate spacecraft. And you can’t really fault them for that: the complicated, visible girders gave the movie’s main setting, the wayward U.S.S. Cygnus, a cathedralesque look. Trying to mass-produce a replica of that in lightweight plastic would be begging for trouble: a model too delicate to stand up under its own weight.

But we live in the future now, and enterprising fans with mad 3-D skills – and no readily apparent budget ceiling – have finally put the Cygnus within your reach…for a price. (To quote a robot from a much more recent Disney sci-fi epic, it’s high…it’s very high.)

Industrious, and quite possibly even-madder-than-Dr.-Hans-Reinhardt Black Hole fan “Primitive Dave” has made it possible, via 3-D printing service Shapeways, to accumulate and assemble the pieces necessary for an almost-filming-ready model of the Cygnus.


This is not a project for the faint of heart, the scarce of budget, or those short on skills: some assembly, to put it mildly, is required. Better assemble some funds, too: all of the pieces necessary to put together the model itself run nearly $1,200.

A Flickr album by “The Lazy Modeler”, a.k.a. Jeff Bond, shows the painstaking construction of not just a complete U.S.S. Cygnus model from the Shapeways page, but one with internal lighting and blue LEDs for the engines.
Cygnus - Jeff Bond
Cygnus - Jeff Bond

(Jeff Bond played Dr. McCoy in some of the final episodes of the incredibly well-produced fan-made series Star Trek: New Voyages, and wrote the liner notes to the long-overdue official cd release of the complete soundtrack from The Black Hole itself. If building this model – and the eye-popping selection of other models in the background – doesn’t earn Mr. Bond serious geek cred, then those credentials, and the wealth of liner notes he’s written for many other soundtrack CDs, should put him over the top.)

The other thing about this entirely 3-D printed Cygnus model? It’s huge. Clear a shelf…a shelf that runs the length of an entire wall.
By the time it’s completed, and LED-lit, the only thing missing…is an equally detailed scale model of the relatively tiny U.S.S. Palomino berthed in the docking elevator.

Maybe “Primitive Dave” will have us covered on that in due time. (By the way, I suspect that Jeff Bond is not lazy, nor is Dave really very primitive. Call it a hunch.)

If you seek a massive modeling challenge, go in(sane), through (your entire bank balance), and beyond (the available space in your living room) aboard the Cygnus! Floaty robot buddies not included.

Stranger Things - Michael Maher

Star Wars Gets Stranger With Cast Of Stranger Things!

It is no big secret that Stranger Things kind of took off like wildfire here at the Retroist Vault. There are quite a few reasons why it managed to entrance us all. Naturally the easiest aspect of the series that attracted us was how it was a massive love letter to the 80s. From film posters to toys and music – it reminded us of the time most of us grew up in.
Stranger Things - Logo

Of course there was also the fact that it boasted a terrific cast. Stranger Things wouldn’t have been even half as enjoyable if not for the actors. While Millie Bobby Brown was the breakout star with her portrayal of Eleven. There was Finn Wolfhard as Mike, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas, Noah Schnapp as Will, and Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin as well. Each and everyone of these young actors brought memorable performances. In addition to the work by the supporting cast like Winona Ryder, David Harbour and so many others.

Furthermore there was the Lovecraftian horror meets Ridley Scott’s Alien by way of The Thing. Which presented more than a few scares throughout the Netflix series!

Another thing that creators Matt and Ross Duffer peppered throughout Stranger Things were nods to Star Wars. Which makes a ton of sense for children growing up in the 80s. I mean with Mike and his group who play Dungeons and Dragons. It’s not that hard to see them being fans of the Star Wars series as well, right?

Thanks to artist extraordinaire Michael Maher Jr. we can now see how the kids from Stranger Things would look in the Star Wars universe. Moreover perhaps that would now be the Stranger Wars films?

Image courtesy of Michael Maher Jr.

While I do love the idea of Finn playing Han and Noah as Luke. It really is Millie as Princess Leia and Gaten as Chewbacca that really makes it fantastic. The fact that in Maher’s Stranger Wars artwork Chewie is wearing Dustin’s hat – just a cherry on top. I wonder though…would Ryder and Harbour’s characters be R2 and Threepio?

Computer Garage

Do You Remember 1972’s Sears Computer Garage?

You would think that in my youth I would have been attracted to more car toys. Especially a playset advertising itself as a Computer Garage. When you add in the fact that my Family had their own garage and auto dealership, it would obviously make sense that I wanted Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars to play with, right?

That was sadly not the case when I was growing up. Furthermore I would possibly have rather had dental work than receive toy cars. In the light of what I just said however there were a few “car” toys that I was happy to get. Like the Batmobile, or the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard as well as Ideal’s Evel Knievel’s Stunt Cycle!

[Via] Vintage TV Commercials

Consequently when my Cousin, Brandon, and I received that stunt cycle set on the same Christmas. There were EPIC charges of those toy daredevil’s at each other across the kitchen floor. How we managed to not trip any of our relatives while tiny Evel Knievel’s were darting everywhere I will never know.

Eventually I managed to amass a small but stylized collection of Hot Wheels and Matchbox vehicles. Thanks to various family members giving me their hand-me-down toys. In truth some of those fit my overall love of science-fiction toys at the time, fueled by 1977’s Star Wars naturally.

Which is in fact why when back in the day one Summer when I was with my Grandmother at a garage sale. I didn’t just pass by a rather odd looking playset – The Sears Computer Garage. Now even at that age, which was around eight I was very interested in all things related to computers. Thanks to brief encounters with the Commodore Vic-20 and the TRS-80.

I was intrigued by the playset which was basically a motorized gondola. When a kid would use the plastic numbers – a “coded” computer card. It would rotate to the number of the stall that had been selected. With the aid of a lever at the base of the Sears Computer Garage – the car would be ejected.
Computer Garage

Now in all honesty, there were two other reasons I wanted to buy it. It was only a mere fifty cents and worked to boot. But most importantly, inside one of the stalls I could see Captain America’s van!

Image courtesy of the Hot Wheels Wikia.

I was actually able to talk my Grandmother into giving me the money and took the Sears Computer Garage home. It basically acted as a storage unit for my tiny toy car collection. Until a couple of years later I in turn sold it at my Grandmother’s garage sale.

Thanks to MootSooToo’s YouTube channel you can see the Sears Computer Garage in action!