Dinosaur Dracula!

Nintendo games spotted in Beethoven!

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After the Nintendo Power Glove came up in the previous article, someone pointed out that it made a cameo appearance in Beethoven. Yes, the 1992 movie about a sloppy St. Bernard and the man who grows to love him. Somehow, the Power Glove was in that.

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Actually, yesterday’s anonymous commenter undersold the scene. It wasn’t just a Power Glove — it was an absolute smorgasbord of vintage Nintendo goodies. Obviously, my destiny was to dissect this madness.

The scene takes place in young Ted Newton’s bedroom, and only exists to convey that the kids are too distracted to notice the bad guy messing with their dog in the backyard.

Lasting mere seconds, they could’ve easily gotten away with just suggesting Nintendo games, with obscured controllers and untraceable music. Instead, everything’s shown onscreen, and it’s all so visible that I have to wonder if some promotional partnership wasn’t in play. (Beethoven did end up getting his own games under the Nintendo umbrella, after all.) (more…)

The 1982 Sears Wish Book!

It’s almost Christmas Eve, and I have so much left to do. None of the presents are wrapped. Half of them haven’t even been purchased. There are mushrooms to stuff, clothes to wash, cookies to bake and hair to cut.

So, like a big dumb idiot, I made one more Wish Book review the first priority.

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Hot off the heels of yesterday’s post, today we’re going back even further. Below are eight highlights from the 1982 Sears Wish Book, and oh my God are they good ones. I know “1982” sounds too long ago for some of you, but a lot of this stuff is downright timeless.

Get ready for He-Man, Glo Worm and Frankenstein’s Monster. I wish I could introduce all of my posts that way.

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Star Wars AT-AT!
($49.99)

If you’re not big on Star Wars, AT-ATs were skyscraper-sized robot “dogs” used by Imperial forces to attack the Rebel Alliance’s base on the ice planet of Hoth. Granted, saying so has just made you more confused.

I have firsthand knowledge of how incredible it was to get one for Christmas. I believe it would’ve been 1983. Our family celebrates on Christmas Eve and opens presents at midnight. Even at that late hour, nothing could stop me from immediately opening the box, and immediately dragging all of my Star Wars figures out of the bedroom. I was up until dawn with that thing!

Towering over the line’s 3¾” figures, the AT-AT had battery-operated lights and sounds, and a neat little compartment where several Snowtroopers could gather to make “nyah nyah” faces at the poor suckers down below.

It was the largest toy I’d ever had up to that point, and believe me, size mattered. AT-ATs are big, but in the cradling arms of tiny kids, they seemed enormous. (more…)

Campbell’s Super Mario Soup!

I’m taking a day off from Halloweening, because this just can’t wait.

Three words, everyone.

SUPER. MARIO. SOUP.

New from Campbell’s, Mario and friends have finally been immortalized as broth-soaked pieces of pasta. I heard the news on Tumblr a week or so ago, but it was quickly forgotten under the weight of so many Space Jam GIFs.

As such, spotting Mario in the supermarket was an absolute shock. Not only did I buy a more-than-reasonable number of cans, but I threw each of those cans into my cart with such frantic hysteria that I’m sure – absolutely sure – that someone taped me on their phone, and is now enjoying back-pats within some distant microcosm of social media. Fuck all of them. (more…)

Epoch’s “Dracula” Game, from 1982!

I wrote about this many years ago. Now I will rehash my thoughts in video form!

Epoch’s DRACULA game was released in 1982. Even if its graphics and noises are way dated, the theme hasn’t lost a step. There are monsters, mazes and coffins, and it’s up to YOU to steal Dracula’s gold!

Get the full scoop in today’s vid:

A hint of Halloween?

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. (more…)