Dinosaur Dracula!

The Legend of Zelda!

While digging through some more old storage bins, I came across that.

The Legend of Zelda, for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Finding an old Zelda cartridge might normally only be cause for a passing smile, but this was different. This was 100% complete, in its original box, with the manual and everything.

I even have the foam block.

Maybe I’m wrong or maybe I’m just old, but I feel like today’s kids couldn’t possibly understand what it was like to get a NES game. It was a different sort of experience. Keep in mind, I’m not calling it a “better” one. Just different.

The game – meaning, the actual playing of the game – was only the half of it. I got just as many jollies from the tangible parts. The box, the cartridge, the manual. Sure, these things still exist, but do they have the same feel?

Today’s games – again, the tangible parts – are more like DVDs. They may be packed nicely with great cover art, but you wouldn’t exactly handle them with rubber gloves. You wouldn’t put them on pedestals, proverbial or not.

(And yeah, I’m excluding super special fancy releases that come with wild bonuses. There are exceptions. I’m speaking generally, here.)

When I got a new Nintendo game, I treated it like a freakin’ puppy. I wanted the box to stay in mint condition forever, even if it never did. I’d place it on my shelf like it was a sports trophy.

And the manuals and other paperwork? God! I didn’t look at my Nintendo manuals like simple tools to help me play more effectively. To me, they were real books. From the story summaries to the intense illustrations, I spent more time reading and rereading certain manuals than I spent playing their associated games.

So yeah, this could be another case of someone believing he had a wholly-different and possibly-better version of what “them kids today” have, but if I had to pick one game to support an argument that it isn’t, I’d go with The Legend of Zelda. Read More…

Red Robin’s Wolverine Burger!

There’s a new Wolverine movie coming out next month. I know nothing about it.

But I noticed that the internet was going crazy this morning, when news broke of a pair of Wolverine-themed hamburgers now available at Red Robin:



I live for silly, fleeting promotions like this! Just imagine the events that led people to decide that hamburgers were the best way to raise awareness about a Wolverine movie. I think about that, and I marvel.

This was not something to be experienced from afar. I needed to be on the front line. I was willing to break a decade-long abstinence from shopping mall restaurant chains to make it happen. I was going to find this beef, eat it, and hopefully live to tell the tale. Read More…

Five Random Action Figures, Part 4!

I’ve been sorting through my storage bins. Not the usual ones. These are the bins that time forgot. Stuff I stashed away more than ten years ago. Back then, I was still in “save everything” mode, so I’ve spent many years believing there was nothing but garbage in them.

(Broken videos? Chipped Budweiser steins? Obsolete Archie McPhee catalogs?)

Turns out, there was real treasure hiding in those bins. They were like time capsules, and I’m having so much fun sneezing my way through their dusty contents. It should give me some great content for the next few weeks, too.

Today’s post features some of those new/old scores. Here’s the fourth edition of Five Random Action Figures!

Scumbug
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1990

An evil mutant aligned with Shredder, Scumbug acted as an ironic exterminator, bent on spraying the Ninja Turtles with liquid poison! (My figure is missing the accessories, which included a backpack full of imaginary “paralyzing juice.”)

With the likes of Mondo Gecko and Wingnut, Scumbug was one of the four new figures that came out after everyone already collected the first two waves of Ninja Turtles toys. And guys, that third wave was a BIG deal.

Its release corresponded with TMNT’s peak popularity, and people like me went CRAZY trying to track those figures down. (It was to the point where toy stores didn’t even bother putting the figures on shelves. They just left the shipping boxes out in the aisles for kids to sort through. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest.)

Mondo Gecko was the ultimate “get” from that wave, so of course, I found him last. Scumbug was the first one I found. Only with decades of improved maturity can I see that he may have actually been the best from the third wave. A giant cockroach with bulging eyes, covered in smaller cockroaches? That’s so up my alley. Sealing the deal, Scumbug’s antennae form my first initial! Read More…

My 21-year-old dinosaur statue.

This post is brought to you by serendipity.

At least, I hope it is. I’m not totally clear on what “serendipity” means.

See this? It’s a baby dinosaur statue, made by Windstone.

I bought it in 1992. I was thirteen years old.

This poor dinosaur has had it rough. Look close and you’ll see evidence that his head once broke clear off his body. Baby Dino only averted death with the liberal aid of Krazy Glue.

He’s stained, chipped and far from a showpiece, but even after a zillion “collection consolidations” over the past two decades, I’ve never been able to let him go.

It’s not just because he’s a cute baby dinosaur hatching out of an egg, either. That’s one reason, but there’s more to it than that.

You see, I remember buying this dinosaur. I used my own money, and spent a week laboring over the decision to do it.

When you’re a kid, the stuff you use your own money on is held to a different standard. Those things are “yours” in a way most things aren’t.

I’ll never forget the moment I bought him. It was in Las Vegas, of all places.

Which brings me to the serendipity part:

Last night, I was thumbing through one of my old journals.

I’ve written about it before, but I kept diaries for many years. I was especially dedicated to them in middle school and high school. Today, they’re sources of immense personal embarrassment, and were they to fall into professional hands, they might serve as proof that psychoses start early. Read More…

Dino Drac Visits Keansburg, NJ!

I made a vow to return to my old Jersey shore haunts this year. It’s been way too long. First on my list was the Keansburg Amusement Park, a fairly small beachside attraction filled with rides, games and fried clams.

Last year’s hurricane hit Keansburg hard, and several “relic attractions” bit the dust in its wake. Between that and the fact that the 2013 season has only barely begun, Keansburg wasn’t exactly in full swing. Still, there was more than enough for a good trip report. Below are the highlights! Read More…