Pinball Champ - Coleco

Remember 1977’s Pinball Champ by Coleco?

Pinball Champ must have made quite impression when it hit the scene in ’77. While there were certainly handheld pinball games around by that time. It appears that Coleco was aiming for the teenagers when manufacturing this home version. Although it must be said that Pinball Champ wasn’t the only table Coleco was producing at the time.
Pinball Champ - The Fonz

That Fonz pinball table was released back in December of 1977. Just a few weeks in fact after an TV ad for Pinball Champ was released. Around the same time Coleco was also producing Super Shot as well as UFO Electronic Pinball!
Pinball Champ - UFO Electronic Pinball - Coleco

Here is something to keep in mind, friends. It was in 1976 that New York City repealed the pinball ban. A law that had been in place since the ’40s. As tables were seen as a form of gambling. As was proven when an undercover patrol officer on March 6, 1948 arrested a cigar store owner after playing on a pinball table in his establishment. The reason being cited as having “Unlawful possession of a gambling machine.” If you want to know even more – make sure to follow this link to the History Channel.

Pinball Champ - William P. O'Brien - BettmannGetty Images

William P. O’Brien taking a sledgehammer to seized pinball tables. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

It was a dark time for pinball fans to be sure. While what most of us consider pinball wasn’t released until 1950, with Gottlieb’s Spot Bowler. The basic premise of pinball has been around since the 1700s, such as with Billard japonais!
Pinball Champ - Billard japonais

As I have previously said, there were pinball games for kids by the time Pinball Champ was released. Just not quite as sophisticated as what Coleco was offering at that time. Although having said that I did in fact find a video for a 1965 Riverboat table by Marx.

[Via] Douglas Luthringer

While I am sure that you wouldn’t want to get too physical with those tables. I feel it is more appealing than your typical handheld version. Excluding of course this 1977 Star Wars pinball game.
Pinball Champ - Star Wars

I think it is far past time you get a chance to see the TV ad for 1977’s Pinball Champ!

[Via] The Museum of Classic Chicago TV

Space Invaders

Animated original Atari 2600 Space Invaders box art

Today on Twitter I sent out a request. I would like to see a version of Space Invaders based on the art that displayed in their 1980s catalog. This art is colorful and evocative. It seems ripe for a way to reboot the game in a new way that is also respectful of the title’s history.

Space Invaders Catalog Art

Almost immediately, Rediscover the 80s shared a video on Twitter that is an even better idea. Take the original box art and turn those into games. Not only is it a great idea, but an example of exists that they were nice enough to share.

Done by Delaney Digitial, it is a short animation using components from the original Atari 2600 Space Invaders box art. It is compelling to watch and is enough of a proof of concept for me to put my money down on a pre-order. Sadly the animator of the piece does not seem to be pushing this in game form. Nothing we can do about that, but maybe if enough people watch and share this art, they will develop more original animated game art. (C’mon Basic Math!)

That art in turn could inspire some talented developer to make my retro gaming dreams come true.

Watch the original Space Invaders Box Art come to life

While at Delaney Digital, check out some of their other creations, including this modern interpretation of an Atari Console.

3D render of a concept Atari console and controller by Delaney Digital.

Done in all black, like the Atari “Vader,” I find this console a much more compelling offering than the upcoming Atari VCS. Stylistically is looks back to the past while still presenting a modern style console. I would like to think that if Atari had stayed in business all these years, this is what would be in stores.

At this point, I guess we would be at the Atari 26,000. That is adding 2600 to each release after 7800 and trying to match up with each generation releases by Nintendo. For brevity’s sake, lets calls it the Atari 26K.

Sega Genesis Classics - Title

Limber Up Those Thumbs For Sega Genesis Classics!

Friends, when logging on this morning, I was delighted to find a new game had dropped. Sega Genesis Classics of course. While I might not have had the same memories of the Sega Genesis as the Retroist. I was lucky enough though to have a friend that owned one. On the Diary podcasts I have commented on this in fact. My friend absolutely was devoted to Sega and I had everything Nintendo. Between the two we naturally had all our bases covered in regards to gaming. At that time. However I am planning on picking up Sega Genesis Classics later today.

Why? Memories of course. So many memories of weekends spent trying to complete Sonic the Hedgehog or Gain Ground. Or playing the likes of Flicky before I had any clue that it was in fact an arcade game. Or the nostalgia of those long heady evenings past, laughing at the antics of ToeJam & Earl.
Sega Genesis Classics - ToeJam and Earl

To be honest I wish they could have included a few of my favorite titles on the Sega Genesis Classics collection. Although having said that, friends, I know licensing issues would be a nightmare. Imagine that collection that also included Spider-Man, Dick Tracy, Phantom 2040 as well as The Adventures of Batman and Robin!

[Via] Betamax King

What games do they have you might ask? Well, for a mere $29.99 you can nab these 50 titles:
Sega Genesis Classics - Game List

This latest Sega collection will offer trophies and achievements to boot. As it has of course been released for the PS4, Xbox One, and Steam platforms. Shockingly it hasn’t been made available on the Nintendo Switch…oh…wait. This looks to be nothing new. By the way, there are some other features you classic gamers might find of interest.

Multiplayer for example, on games that allowed two players obviously. Although this time instead of your friend sitting on the floor beside you, it can be around the World. There are graphic enhancement filters for the games too. As well as a Horizontal Flip Mode – which does what it says on the tin. It flips the screen horizontally for a greater challenge.
Sega Genesis Classics - bedroom

All right then, enough about what is included on the Sega Genesis Classics collection. How about you check out a sweet trailer?

[Via] VG Freak

Ted Dabney - Pong - Nolan Bushnell - Al Alcorn

Rest In Peace: Ted Dabney (1937 – 2018)

Devastated. That is probably the first word that comes to mind on the passing of Ted Dabney. The co-creator of Pong as well as Atari passed away yesterday. On the fan picked Atari Day at that is certainly an even greater blow. With Ted Dabney’s passing we have truly lost a giant in the history of video games.

First of all I want to give thanks to Video Game historian Cat DeSpira for the heads up on this sad news. Yesterday she published the passing on both Facebook as well as on Twitter:

“Ted Dabney, co founder of Syzygy & Atari has died. His vision gave my generation more than people can comprehend unless they lived in the days when Atari was born & remember when the world was changed forever by the electronic dreams that company gave us. #Atari #TedDabney

Samuel F. “Ted” Dabney was born in San Francisco, California. After spending three years in Marine Corps, the young man found his calling in electronics. While his original aim was to attend San Francisco State, he did not have the finances. So instead he ended up working at Bank of America, making sure a prototype traveler’s check scanner remained in operation. A year after that he found himself at Hewlett-Packard. That lasted a mere three weeks before he was hired away by Ampex where he would work on the Ampex Video File.

[Via] IEEE Silicon Valley History Videos

While at Ampex he would also gained a new co-worker, Nolan Bushnell. In the extremely interesting Oral History with Dabney by the Computer History Museum from 2012. The engineer had this to say:

” He always had stuff on his desk. That’s all I know. I don’t know what he did. I never even asked him…I wasn’t worried about anybody else’s work, but I had no idea what he did. I think he studied stuff…But we were close. We wound up being close friends. He was a game player, chess player. He liked chess and so he got me to play chess with him, but he had also started going over to this game “Go” but he needed somebody to play with so he decided I ought to learn the game of “Go” so we could play together, which we did and we played pretty good, that complicated game.”

Around this time Bushnell started sharing his idea for a pizza parlor, a “carnival-type pizza parlor”. That changed though briefly when the duo saw a computer game in action at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. One that would lead to the creation of both Syzgy and Computer Space!

Ted Dabney - Computer Space - Arkadia Retrocade

This is the Computer Space arcade cabinet at the Arkadia Retrocade.

In 1971, Computer Space marked the first video arcade game. It also was built for Nutting Associates. Dabney and Bushnell cut ties with the company, making contact with Bally to produce both a video game and pinball table. Of course they also dropped the Syzgy title and became a little company called Atari. In that oral history, Ted mentions that Nolan was thinking of a game where you were driving. That is how Al Alcorn was hired. Al didn’t create that driving game however…he helped create an video game empire and legacy with Pong.

[Via] Rich Bartlebaugh

Shortly after that hit, Ted Dabney found himself being pushed out of the company he helped co-found. He ended up selling his portion of the shares of Atari to Bushnell for $250,000. Although it appears that the two men were able to remain on a friendly basis. With Dabney helping out with elements of Bushell’s Pizza Time Theater. Before gaining employment at Raytheon, Fujitsu, and Teledyne. Then opening up a successful grocery store with his Wife in the Sierras.

Friends, while I was never fortunate to meet Ted Dabney. He most certainly helped to create something I dearly cherish.

Thanks to his efforts along with Bushnell as well as Alcorn. I am lucky enough to work in an operating arcade today. His place in history and what he helped start… it affected not only my life but his work continues to impress and inspire kids today. I think however this quote from that oral history sums up Dabney the best:

I said, “No, no, no, no; I’d rather be your friend than your partner.”

[Via] Video Game Journalism