80’s arcade games

I have not written one of these since like Spring of last year. Here we have Burger Time from 1982. As the player you take on the role of Chef Peter Pepper you are trying to put burgers together by running over the parts and making them fall until you have all pieces in place. However hot dog, egg and pickle are trying to stop you and your burger making. You can crush them if you can have a food object fall on them as they pursue you. Then they quickly reappear. I loved this game, but was never much good at it. I’ve played it in recent years and I’m still not much good at it. Still I like gameplay, the music and the original idea. Definitely a classic 80’s game.

Skeletor’s animated villain of the month

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What did I see? Can I believe that what I saw that night was real and not just fantasy? Oh, hi! Skeletor, the greatest villain to ever purple. This month’s villain comes from a fantasy cartoon. Dungeons and dragons was on a few years back in the 1980’s. These nasty kids rode a ride straight into a world of delightful monsters. Unfortunately these kids caused trouble while there trying to stop evil and such. The main villain was a fine one horned fellow by the name of Venger who tried hard to set things right and stop these horrible delinquents every week. He had a cool winged horse and some awesome powers. Plus just look at that delightful smile.

Until next month stay nasty!

 

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Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste, I’ve been around for a long, long year…oh just kidding it’s me Skeletor, here to debut my new column. This month’s animated villain (s) of the month are….

 

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Gargamel and Azrael from the Smurfs. Gargamel is the one with less hair. He fancied himself a wizard of sorts. He normally botched things up with his lack of magical knowledge. However he did stay true to being evil and always tried coming up with plots to catch or overpower those sickening blue, little creatures. His cat Azrael failed a lot too however he also stayed nasty so I have to admire that. Just look at them- pure meanness and those goes a long way in my book. So next time you watch the Smurfs maybe cheer on these guys for once. Until next time…this is Skeletor saying stay evil.

Square Pegs-Pac-Man fever

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1982

Video games are brought in to the school’ s cafeteria. Much to the delight of school spirit person Muffie Tepperman all proceeds going to the school’s adopted Guatemalan child. They quickly bring in Asteroids, Star Castle and Pac-Man. Marshall dazzles the others with his gaming skills as obviously no one else has talent or quarters and they stand around oohing and ahhing at Marshall. Marshall begins to lose his desire to be a comic, good because he’s not that funny however he begins to be obsessed with video games. Meanwhile Vinnie gets mad because he can’t beat Marshall at Pac-Man. This ticks off Vinnie’s like you know girlfriend Jennifer because she is getting no attention from him. So Lauren and Patty try get Marshall off video games by getting him to play board games which fails miserably. So Johnnie calls in Father Sarducci to do an exorcism on Marshall since he is possessed by video games ?! Sarducci gets Marshall to think about comedy again and he is cured. Meanwhile Jennifer goes to Vinnie’s uncle because he is renting the video games to the school. She tells him that Vinnie is becoming a dummy from playing the video games so that’s it he pulls games from the school. So Marshall and Vinnie are back to normal, but Muffie is mad about the loss of funs. At the local hangout Lauren is ready to get sucked in by Ms. Pac-Man and here we go again. Roll credits.

Gaming stuff-We see four video games in this episode-Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-man, Asteroids and Star Castle. Marshall is reading what looks like a Donkey Kong guide at one point. Lauren makes a reference to Asteroids. Marshall tells a guy who stinks at Pac-Man something like he should stick to Pong.

I liked this short lived show a lot, but this one was merely decent. Possibly mostly because Marshall was one of the weaker characters on the show. This one does have it’s moments and the appearances of classic video games and board games is always cool.

1980’s arcade games-Crossbow

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This is a new feature that I hope to do oh every so often. I played way too many arcade games in the 1980’s so now I am going to spew put something about some of them.

This game was made in 1983, but I am almost sure I never saw it in my local arcade until fall of 1984. It’s a side scrolling game with a slight difference that being that you protecting the adventurers who stroll along the screen like they don’t have a care in the world. So they are putting their fate in your hands to shoot villains and other items that try to kill them. So you use a Crossbow (duh), take aim at the baddies and try to help your people survive. I loved this game back in 84-85 mainly because of the then awesome graphics and frantic sound effects. I was slightly into D&D and fantasy films back then so I took to this game right away.  I am clumsy with non-joysticks anyhow, but I remember if being slightly difficult to use rather large crossbow, swivel it around and try to take out relatively small threats. I got slightly better at the game, but never really good. I know home versions were later made for several different Atari systems, but I never played any of them. I have not played this one since 1985 but I still like what I see on the screen captures of it, but I am not sure if it would be as fun to play or not.

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1980’s vampires

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Most decades prior to the 80’s seem to have a combination of classic style vampires films inspired by Universal’s Dracula as well as some takes of putting a vampire into whatever decade was going on. The 1980’s were different as we seemed to see less traditional monsters films in general as slashers were the top genre for much of the decade. What vampires we did were mostly all too glad to poof up their hair and take on an 80’s flair to fit in. In general in the 80’s gothic horrors were gone and so much was taking place in then modern times so any old style monster had to adjust I suppose. Whether this updating worked or no ultimately depended on the script. Whereas something like Fright Night for me was a solid film because despite the initial appearances the vampire turns out to be a monster which is how it should be. The Lost Boys seems to have vampires as misunderstood youths or bad boys depending on your view, but either way these vampires seem to be more sparkle and polish than downright evil monsters. Looking back at vampires in the decade as a whole they often had times fitting, but the decade did see a few good vampire films pop out.

1980’s science fiction action films

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So it’s 1980’s sci-fi action film week here at my blog with two reviews down and two more to come. Having been born in 1970 I was growing up in the 80 and spent my teens in that decade so I watched a lot of films. I was already into science fiction by the time the 80’s rolled. Sci-fi films from other decades certainly had action, but the action genre got bigger and more spectacular plus even more over the top in the 80’s. Other genres like sci-fi caught on to that trend and brought some of those elements into science fiction films. Films like Predator, Road Warrior, Escape from New York and many others had sci-fi elements like future dystopias, aliens and other ideas as the heart of their plot. Yet brute force, weapons and explosions became important means to solve these situations. The best films of this style managed a certain balance between plot, action and some type of thinking to accomplish getting past the hurdle of the story. However like any other decade there were film makers with less money and less ideas that wanted to cash in so we got a lot of cheaper copies through out the decade too. That can be fun to an extent. Any of you that are of a certain age may recall going to a video store between say 1985 and 1992 strolling over to the sci-fi section and seeing these colorful boxes of films that immediately came across as being “inspired” by the Road Warrior, Escape from New York, The Terminator and others. These films may not have had anyone you ever heard of it but some of them had some decent action and others were just what you’d expect them to be. The 1980’s was far from a perfect decade for this type of film, but many of those films were fun and there are certainly some classics from that time as well.

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Growing up with the Planet of the apes- a short history

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Take your eyeballs off me you doggone dirty human!

Monkey Business week rolls on here at my blog.

My earliest memory of the Planet of the apes was not of any the movies, but rather the short lived tv series that ran in late 1974. I have just brief memories of monkeys and people running around. My dad wasn’t a big sci-fi fan so either my brother begged to see it or there wasn’t much else on at the time. Someone bought me a Planet of the apes play set around then that had plastic apes, Army soliders for some reason and some plastic trees with a connecting bridge. I am sure that I played with it until it fell apart. For years my only memories of Planet of the apes were that toy set and a few images of the show. In the early 80’s we had a channel that showed a lot sci-fi and horror films in the afternoons. Vincent Price movies and Ray Harryhausen films were common place as it seemed like Mysterious Island and Theater of blood were on almost every month. Then they showed what I thought were Planet of the apes movies. I liked them and they were about two dudes and their chimpanzee buddy running from the mean gorillas, kind of like the Dukes of Hazzard only with more hair and no cars. Wait, two guys? How could that be? Well what I didn’t know at the time was that in the early 80’s someone had the bright idea to reach back and grab those tv episodes from 1974 and put some together and call them movies for the sake of showing them on tv. It would actually be another ten years until I saw a real made for the theater Planet of the apes movie. Flash forward to Halloween 1992 I was a freshman at college and it was Friday night. All my friends went drinking and I  just wasn’t into it. So sci-fi nerd that I was and still am I went to the films the college was showing for Halloween which was a double bill of Fantastic Voyage which I had seen many times and the 1968 Planet of the apes which I had yet to see. I was thrilled by Planet of the apes as I watched it in awe, if I wasn’t an Apes fan before I was now. It would be another six years until I saw the other four films. AMC showed them over and over for a few weeks and I watched and taped them. My interest in the Apes was even stronger after that. Since that point I have bought all of the movies on DVD plus the show, the cartoon (one day to be reviewed here) and the two other films one of which stunk like stink has never stank before (thanks, Tim Burton) and the 2011 film which was pretty good. There you go.

Hope to review Conquest of the Planet of the Apes on Thursday to keep Monkey Business week going.

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Humans suck!

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Raise your arm if you’re sure.

Star Trek V-The Final Frontier

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1989

Who’s in this?

Outside of the regular Enterprise cast we have…

Laurence Luckinbill as Sybok, Spock’s long haired, smiling, God-seeking half-brother. He worked in TV and made for TV movies quite a bit in the 70’s and 80’s.

Out of the rest cast I’d say the ones that deserve being mentioned most are these.

David Warner as St. John Talbot the Federation representitive who gets pulled in by Sybok. Warner was a very accomplished British character actor even by this time. He was in the Omen, the Titanic, From beyond the grave, tons of cartoon voices and he would be back as different character in Star Trek 6 and in STTNG.

Rex Hollman as J’onn the bald, messed up teeth dude who followed Sybok and is in the opening sequence. He was Morgan Earp in the Spectre of the gun episode of the original series. That was no stretch and he was in various episodes of numerous 60’s westerns. He actually clocked in over 100 credits with this one because the last one listed at IMDB.

The Klingon couple Todd Bryant as Klaa and Spice Williams as Vixis had both some experience as stunt people by the time of this film. Both have continued in that field and had steady work as stunt people in films and are both still in that line today.

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Maybe if we shove Shatner out and leave him here he’ll never direct another film.

What’s this about? So check this out. Spock has a half-brother and he wants to go look for God because he thinks God is hanging out on this planet far, far away. The Enterprise is in crap shape and Kirk is wearing a silly t-shirt, but they are still sent to stop Spock’s half brother. Yet they instead let the Enterprise get taken after Uhura lures guys in by being naked, Spock neck pinches a horse creature and Kirk wrestles a cat woman. Oh and there’s this Klingon captain who looks like he’s into weight lifting and 80’s hair metal and like he’s out to make a name for himself by going after Kirk as well. There’s some parts with the big three around a campfire and Kirk saying he knows that when he dies he’ll alone and that theme is sort of throughout the film somewhere between all the crap bits jammed into this thing. Spock’s half brother Sybok can take pain from others and that’s mainly how he gets followers. He’s kind of a rebel for a Vulcan and shows emotions so we can all laugh at Spock acting stiff as he cringes at people knowing about his  hippie brother. Eventually Kirk is pretty much always right in this one as he wins out over the fake God, Sybok’s quest and the pretty boy Klingon gunner/Captain. Roll the credits and put your face in your hands.

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I could shoot you, but maybe I should shoot that Shatner guy for making this movie.

The negatives-The main problem here is the story. It’s kind of like The way to Eden from the sereies which is a bottom five episode with elements of the first Trek movie too. It’s maybe worse here as Sybok’s character seems to get everything going but he’s taken in by what he eventually finds even though we all see it coming a mile aways. The Enterprise crew all seem to fumble more than they ever have and it’s not to all to blame on the troubles the ship is having. In the end this all comes across as a rather cheap, flimsy attempt to fit into the Trek universe. The effects are sub-par too.  I saw this opening weekend in 1989 and walked out thinking oh man they just made something worse than “Spock’s Brain”.

The positives-I kind of like the campfire scenes even if they are a bit too silly. They have Sulu and Checkov hiking which results in another silly joke, but it was nice to see them doing something as friends. It’s also implied that Scotty and Uhura were doing things maybe as friends or maybe as more than friends-either way I liked that it was mentioned. most of this is early on and after this anything positive for the the supporting crew is gone. The parts with Spock coming to terms with Sybok are okay, but don’t totally fit and they fail add a whole to Spock’s character.

This is a terrible film overall, the worst of all the Trek films. Someone needed to take a better look at that script and point out lame it was and how did so much damage the good that previous films had done for these characters. It was a joke and a bad one. The concept of looking for a higher power had been done in Trek and it could have been done here in a better way had they limited the humor, not made Kirk being the only being correct and have the concept of finding God be not so physical. Finding a floating being on an isolated planet seemed really limp and made Sybok look even sillier. Thinking about this film makes me want to quote a character from another scifi show…”oh, the pain, the pain”. Sybok should have taken away the pain I had after I saw this movie.

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Star Trek week continues on Tuesday with a much more upbeat topic-my history with Star Trek although it may only interest me.