Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fix-It Felix Jr. Mini

You can't tell, but this is tiny.
Disney's 2012 animated epic, Wreck-It Ralph, paid tribute to many classic video games from the '80s and '90s by bringing to life some of the most beloved game characters of all time such as Q*Bert, Pac-Man and my personal fave, Tapper. However the main story centers around a fictional creation of Disney's called Fix-It Felix Jr., a game that most likely took inspiration from the legendary Nintendo hit, Donkey Kong. In it, our titular hero takes on the task of repairing a crumbling building while avoiding the wrath of the evil Ralph, who tries to take out Felix by hurling rocks, or clumps of dirt or something at him...you know these 8-bit games make it tough to tell, sometimes.

It's not a bad little game and I know because Disney went the extra mile of actually designing and programming the concept into a playable game which you can download for your iPhone, Android or Windows phone -- sorry Blackberry (kids be like, wtf is a Blackberry?) You can even play it on your home computer, as long as you have Flash. (kids be like, wtf is Flash?)

But because it was never actually a real arcade game, you retro game collectors out there can forget about getting your hands on a working model, unless one of those kit-bashers, game-hackers or MAME-floggers that live in your web browser decides to build one. I'm looking at you Ben Heck!

But until that day arrives, what you can do is stop by eBay and pick up a (relatively expensive) mini-replica of the arcade game itself. This decorative miniature doesn't actually let you play the game, but it does feature an LCD screen with a video loop and sound effects and would be a worthy addition to any geek's man-cave. The bidding starts at $70, which I think is a little steep, but if you're a fan of the film, this is one collectible that you probably won't find anywhere else.


Friday, October 23, 2015

VHS Camcorder App

Rad!
High Def is for suckers.

You wanna be like Marty McFly and document your time traveling adventures in true 80s style? Then pick up this bitchin’ app and you’re halfway there, minus the DeLorean Motor Car.

VHS Camcorder is a $3.99 app for iPhone, iPod and iPad that lets you go back to the days when 333 lines of video resolution were more than enough to capture all those awkward coming-of-age moments that you still spend each waking moment of every day trying to burn from your mind. Everything you need to create convincing historical video is included in the app right down to the ubiquitous time stamp feature with that wonky raster font.

And if you have any retro or retro-style videos with that you'd like to share with the world, send them to me so I can post them here on the site. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

8-Bit Cinema

Stolen from Deviant Art. How's THAT for deviancy?
Ever wish you could see your favorite movie or TV series remade into an old school Nintendo-style video game? Well now you can with CineFix's 8-Bit Cinema series on YouTube.  A partial list of their remakes includes Jurassic Park, Big Lebowski, Terminator 2, Happy Gilmore, The Shining, Frozen (for the kiddies) and even The Walking Dead. While a more anally-retentive nit-picker would point out that some of their productions tend to lean closer to the 16/32-bit era art-style, I won't do that here.

Whoops, sorry.

So enjoy the videos and check out the links below for even more CineFix craziness. Sorry for the pre-roll ads, Google are greedy bastards.



CLICK HERE FOR MORE 8-BIT CINEMA

CLICK HERE TO VISIT CINEFIX

Monday, August 17, 2015

Camp Atari

Wet Hot American Summer
When I was a kid back in the 1980s, I remember being in the back seat of my parents' car, probably on our way back home from the mall, and listening to two guys on the radio prattling on with some "back in my day" rant -- kind of like this blog. At one point, during the laughter and comedy, one of the DJs says to the other "if your kid comes back from summer camp with a tan this year, it's because they moved Pac-Man outside." The idiot kid I was, I immediately sat up in my seat and inquired of my father as to just exactly where this awesome summer camp was where they play video games. "It's a joke, son, they were joking" was all I got back.


Well as it turns out, there actually was such a camp, sort of.

Back in 1982 our old pal, Atari, decided to throw their fortunes at a risky proposition (they were great at doing this) by investing in a series of computer camps across the U.S. called, of course, Atari Computer Camps. I never got to meet anyone that actually went to one, and at nearly $3,000 for a week's stay that's not a shocker. Keep in mind, $3,000 back in 1982, adjusted for inflation, would be about one kajillion dollars today. So you know, that one super-duper-rich kid in your school probably got to go. Along with the normal camp activities, swimming, baseball, volleyball, weaving, bonfires and sing-a-longs, kids got to learn how to program and operate Atari 8-bit computers, thereby positioning the next generation of kids to be well-informed future-consumers of all things gadgety and technical. I would have LOVED it! Legend has it that all of the remaining E.T. carts that weren't buried in that landfill in New Mexico were used to stuff mattresses at the camps while the instruction manuals were stacked high in the commodes for, ahem, personal use.

Want to know more? Then watch this historical document:



Oh, and there's a mini-documentary on the subject as well. Have a gander at this:



Still not enough? For even more info check out the links below:

CLICK HERE TO READ AN ARTICLE FROM ANTIC MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 1982

CLICK HERE TO READ AN ARTICLE FROM ATARI CONNECTION, AUGUST 1982

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT OFFICIAL ATARI LITERATURE INCLUDING BROCHURES

CLICK HERE FOR THE PODCAST AND MORE LINKS FROM THE TEAM AT ANTIC

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The IBM WatchPad (2001)

Smartwatch, you say? Why, that's the buzzword of the day! You think Apple showed us the way? Better take a look at yesterday!

Not actual size