Random Old School Stuff
I just about hijacked a commenting session from LaShawn, talking about old electronic games and whatnot, so I figured I'd be nice and bring it over here. On the way, I stopped by the okayplayer.com message board, where there's a discussion going on about the best childhood fighting force. I will deal with this stuff in order. I was an Atari child. I remember studying the Sears catalog before we finally bought a system because I wasn't sure whether I wanted to go with the Atari (more accurately, the Sears version of the Atari) or one of those other consoles, like Intellivison or Odyssey. Because I didn't like the joystick on either of the other brands, I was all about the Atari. Plus, all the kids at school had Atari, and one of them even had a subscription to Atari Age magazine. In it, I learned how to make a left-handed joystick. I was 'bout it, holmes. I had a pretty decent collection of cartridges, but the ones I wore out were Space Invaders and Berserk, which I got for Christmas after I got the Atari. I think I got the 2600 in about September or something, right before I started 1st grade. Then, that Christmas I got Berserk and some other games. My mom liked Pac Man and I played it because it was there, but I wasn't too crazy about it. In addition to Atari, I also played a lot of Electronic Football. Mattell (or whoever their parent/subsidiary is now) has re-released the version I had, which was actually the 2nd edition. The first was white and the only thing you could do was run the ball. When they introduced version II, a pass button was added. I never actually owned Mattel Electronic Football I, but my Big Brother had one. That was what made me ask for one in the first place. (My Big Brother was the coolest. He was, I think, a sophomore in college and he took me to this dorm party where I saw somebody drink a goldfish. It don't get no cooler than that to a 6 year-old. But then on top of that, he had a subscription to Sports Illustrated, posters of Farrah Fawcett all over his room (and one of David Thompson. David Thompson could almost literally jump out of the gym)and a garage door opener. I ain't gon' tell you about how stupefied I was when he first ran that abra-cadabra game on me.) MEF II was better, though. Later came this hand-held racing game, Red Line. Took two 9-volt batteries. I used to get it in with this other boy who lived in the same apartment complex every morning while we waited for the school bus. You couldn't actually see the cars, there was only the Christmas Tree counting down the start for the race, and then you had to shift and press the accelerator until you got your time. Every time I won he would say I had cheated. I was like, "How you gon' cheat? Even if I start before you, the game shows your time. If I'm faster than you, I'm just faster than you." Dude got on my nerves sometimes. Now as far as fighting forces goes, for me it was all about G-Force. Everything else bit off them. I first saw G-Force when I was, I guess 4 or 5, while my mom was in undergrad at Northern Illinois University. We had a little b & w that I watched cartoons on in the afternoons, and on Monday nights, it was all about "240 Robert" and, of course, Monday Night Football...til like 9:30, when I had to go to bed. Didn't really matter, all I really wanted to hear was the "Superstar" theme song and maybe stall until the Halftime Highlights. Anyway, G-Force was the truth. They had the 5 character types: the leader (Mark), the hothead 2nd in command (Jason), the little skinny nerdy dude (Kiop), the big oafish muscle of the bunch (Tiny), and the chick (Princess). Every show after that bit the whole style. People a little younger than me swear by Voltron, but Voltron was just a slight variation on G-Force. I mean, they had Sven die so they could make room for the princess. Don't get me wrong, Voltron was hot and I watched every...single...day, but I also knew that it was the same people I had seen a few years earlier. Same thing with Star Blazers. I thought Star Blazers was G-Force, only they had switched over to a submarine-looking ship instead of one that looked like a plane and went underwater. But then Star Blazers broke out with the all-time ultimate weapon, the wave motion cannon. It just didn't get more raw than that. Just looking at that those words kinda crack me up. Wave Motion Cannon. Wow. That takes me back. Now, the Thunder Cats, that was a different bunch. We used to call guys with wild hair Lion-o. Dudes on my wrestling team...or was it somewhere else...used to call me Mumm-ra. I forget why. I didn't like it, though. I would come around and they'd be like "Mumm-raaa...the ever...livvinnnnnggg!!!" The voice of Panthro was the grandpop from the Cosby show. It wasn't until I got grown that I caught it, though. I wish I was that precocious, to be able to identify a voiceover. But while I'm doing it, Arsenio Hall was the voice of the Black dude on the official Ghostbusters cartoon. (Remember, there was that fake Ghostbusters cartoon that didn't have any of the characters from the movie.) Cree Summers was Penny on Inspector Gadget. Did she get a part in the movie? Anybody who voiced a major character should at least get a cameo in any live-action film, as far as I'm concerned.