The Worst Video Game Ever Made [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Nov11

The Worst Video Game Ever Made [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]

With Halloween now safely past us, we’re officially into the holiday shopping season. Many Christmases ago, a big name video game was rushed to store shelves and officially became the biggest video game flop – ever! The production cost was so high; it nearly bankrupted the huge company behind it and ripped apart the video game world for years! In June 1982, Steven Spielberg released his mega blockbuster hit, E.T. into theatres. The film was the first to surpass Star Wars as the highest grossing film at the time and is ranked as one of the greatest science fiction films ever made. At the same time, the Atari Corporation was experiencing great success with their Atari 2600 video game console. The unit had been on sale since 1978, but now thanks to large demand lowering the cost, it was becoming more affordable for the masses. Millions of units had flown off of store shelves the previous Christmas. Americans were eager to plug this magic box into their TV and turn their home into an arcade! The Atari was the officially known as a “video computer system.” Up to this point, only single novelty video games were available for the home, with the most famous being Pong. Players loved being able to play video table tennis without having to drop a ton of quarters at the arcade and were hungry for more. Atari answered with their new console, the Atari 2600. It connected to a television set with a single cable that would be inserted to an exterior switch box, mounted on the back of the set. That switch box would change between the antenna and the game. If Atari would have included one of these in the box, it would have really saved a few trips to Radio...

Tim Mitchell Sold His Soul to Halloween [Fierce Anticipation]

FIERCELY ANTICIPATING: HALLOWEEN I’m a horror film fan — of course I’m looking forward to Halloween! This is the one time during the year where many of the things that make my freak flag fly–ghosts, skeletons, giant spiders, zombies, tombstones, and haunted houses–are not only considered acceptable decorum in both public and private settings, they are actively encouraged. I’ve lost track of how many spur-of-the-moment stores I’ve seen pop up this time of year to sell masks, costumes and all sorts of props, and some companies have even launched lines of Halloween tree ornaments, which opens up all sorts of new possibilities for eerie self-expression. It’s almost as if the horror sections of bookstores, libraries and video rental businesses break out of their (ab)normal dwellings and seize control of the public sphere for a few weeks. It’s glorious. (Of course, I never let seasonal restrictions stop me from indulging in ghoulish glee. My wife and I put up two gargoyles in our front lawn for one Halloween. Not only did we never take them down, we went out and got four more, and our gaggle of gargoyles is still on display to this day. I also picked up some eyeball ornaments but since we don’t put up our tree until December, they go up with the rest of the ornaments then. Thus, if you ever see our Christmas tree, don’t be surprised to find it staring back at you.) No one is required to subject themselves to anything scary on Halloween, but to me there’s something very refreshing and genuine about a holiday that openly combines fear and fun. We live in a scary enough world as it is, and sometimes the best way to cope with that is to actively engage the most...

You DON’T need a break. [On The Contrary] Sep07

You DON’T need a break. [On The Contrary]

The point of Labor Day weekend has always flummoxed me. Why do we need a holiday weekend at the end of August? Presumably we’ve been taking our vacations sometime over this period, and enjoying those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Yet apparently we need a break after all of that, a break that completely robs the week we now find ourselves in of any momentum. In school, we’d often start classes the week before Labor Day, only to immediately go into a 3-day weekend, completely throwing off class schedules right when they should be getting started. I’m not against holidays, and certainly not against the labor movement that this most recent holiday commemorates (unions helped put food on my table throughout my childhood). But there does seem to be a prevailing notion in our society that encourages us to take breaks more often than we need them. Advertising constantly encourages give ourselves a break, or have a treat. Self-help books and novels encourage us to find ourselves on vacations—to escape from the stress of our busy days. But how busy are our days, really? Certainly there are those out there who work 60 hours and more a week, who struggle through multiple jobs to support family or maintain a decent quality of living. But those people probably aren’t taking breaks—they can’t afford to. For the rest of us who work closer to 40 hours (or less) we probably tend to give ourselves too many breaks. Ok, I give myself too many breaks. I’ve never found it difficult to stop working and take it easy. It’s getting going again that is the real difficulty. There is nothing I have found that is more addictive than complacency—it’s really the root of all continuing bad habits....