The A-Z of the Atari 2600

Amazon.com recommendations are hit and miss for me. A couple of weeks ago, they got a hit. They recommended a little ebook called The A-Z of the Atari 2600 (Retro Gaming A-Z) by Justin Kyle.
A-Z of the Atari 2600
The A-Z of the Atari 2600 is pretty much like my own ANESthetized. While ANESthetized talked about the Nintendo Entertainment System console and games, The A-Z of the Atari 2600 talks about the 2600 (or VCS for you old-timers) console and games. It covers some 30 or so of the best 2600 games, giving full-color pictures of the box art and screen shots as well.
2600Contents
I bought and read The A-Z of the Atari 2600 and loved it so much that I contacted the author for an interview. He graciously agreed to join me in a podcast about the 2600. You can find that podcast here, and if you’d like to buy the book, you can get that here.

Asia Videos [Clean]

Everyone knows Duran Duran videos. They were the best of the best in the golden era of MTV. Their complex visuals and storylines in videos like “Rio”, “Hungry Like The Wolf”, “New Moon On Monday”, and their other hits were light years ahead of the standard “band on stage” videos. In fact, I think the shot in “Rio” of the female model with the blue wave on her face is about as quintessential MTV as you can get. I even remember one magazine asking the question, “Is Duran Duran Just A Video Band?” It was one of the first controversies I experienced in my young life.

But what about Asia videos. Asia was the band with those awesome album covers. They were also somewhat of a superband, comprised of members from other notable bands, but I didn’t know that at the time. What I did know is that Asia had videos that could rival Duran Duran’s. Here’s a few:

I barely remembered this video about ten years ago. I didn’t remember it was Asia, but I thought it might be. So I searched “Asia videos”. This was about six months before YouTube launched. Turns out there is an adult actress called Asia. Let’s just say I didn’t find what I was looking for. Six months later, YouTube was on the scene, and “Don’t Cry” was there for the easy finding. The video is one of my absolute favorites and can rival any other MTV classic.

One of my fav Asia songs, if not fav videos. This one belongs at the bottom of the stack, but still belongs in the stack.

Why is this one so good? I have no idea. It’s kind of silly. It seems I even remember someone parodying it. But I can’t get over it. Silly or not, it worked then and still works today.

This one I barely remember, but it, too, is classic. Band plays in studio while weird French film that almost-but-not-quite matches the lyrics plays. I can read some of the French sub-titles, and I like the twist at the end of the little girl coming in the room. Most videos of that era had such a twist, and that’s a good one.

So, yes, Duran Duran’s videos were great. But don’t forget Asia’s videos. They were pretty great, too.

Se-Kaa of Assiah

When it came to buying video and computer games in the 1980s, there was nothing more disappointing than being tricked into buying a terrible game by great looking box art. Long before we had the ability to access the Internet with our smartphones while shopping in the mall, game consumers only had word of mouth, magazine reviews, and box art to base our decisions on.

Released in 1984 by MasterVision, Se-Kaa of Assiah had both impressive artwork and airbrushed abs.

If that hair didn’t sell you on the game, just look at the screenshots on the back of the box!

Wow, doesn’t that look great?! While I didn’t own this game back in the 1980s, I can only imagine the look on a child’s face after booting Se-Kaa of Assiah for the first time and seeing this title screen.

Turns out, Se-Kaa of Assiah is actually a text adventure with “hi-res graphics.” That means, in laymen’s terms, no joystick required. To swing that sword you saw on the cover, you will literally be typing SWING SWORD.

Not too far off in the future, you can see me turning off my computer. Only the most persistent warriors, brave and true, were able to beat Se-Kaa of Assiah and thusly be rewarded with the ultimate reward, this “end game” screen.

“Success” is sometimes a relative term.

GI Joe S2

G.I. Joe (Commodore 64)

G.I. Joe was released for the Commodore 64 by Epyx in 1985. As far as comic/cartoon-related licensed computer games go, it’s not bad. In the game, one or two players can fight against one another either in man-to-man or vehicle-to-vehicle combat. My friends and I spent many, many hours in the 80s shooting one another in this game.

Reinhard Klinksiek uploaded the following video to Youtube of the game in action. Thanks for uploading that, Reinhard. You are much better at the game than I ever was.

Yo Joe!