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Friday, 7 September 2012


Looking at old sci-fi movies from the 1950s, I wonder how people could have taken those cheesy special effects seriously.  Yet they did.  You brain runs on autopilot and use its imagination to compensate for any lack of realism.  Once your brain has become acclimated to more realistic technologies, it can't go back in time and automatically compensate for antiquated effects.  Does this make sense?

The same principle holds for video games.  I loved these old games from the early 1980s, and could become fully immersed in them.  However, the graphics by today's standards are woefully poor, and I find I just can't go back.  I can appreciate them for nostalgic reasons, but full-on immersion simply ain't gonna happen.

And before you get too cocky, remember that as technology continues to improve, our current movies and video games will seem just as ridiculous and cheesy in the coming decades.

Let's look at a bunch of video game ads from old magazines, shall we? Let me know if you remember any of these...




One thing you'll notice is that the advertisements typically focus on an illustration or some graphic other than the actual video game screen shots, which were generally quite shitty. Unlike today's games, which proudly display their graphics - indeed, the amazing graphics are their selling point.  Back in the eighties, it was probably best to sell your game based on two roller-babes rather than spoil the interest with your lousy screen shots.


This is basically the same marketing layout as the first ad in this post.  At least in the Spider Man game, the dude had a girlfriend - this guy is just freaking scary.  Here's a better Jedi Arena ad from a different magazine...

Ahhh. Now that's better.  I actually played this game.  It was basically Pong, with a barely detectable Star Wars element.  Terrible graphics even for its time.


I played Dungeons & Dragons around the same time PC video games were becoming popular. I wanted so bad to like them, but they were so clunky, awkward and frustrating, they were impossible to enjoy.  If they would've be a tenth as good as the packaging promised, we would've been in paradise.


Do you realize how ubiquitous Jack Davis' artwork was?  His stuff was in MAD, on the cover TIME and TV Guide, Slim Jim ads, movie posters, album covers, comic books..... the guy was prolific, to say the least.


If memory serves, Intellivision was a step-up from the standard Atari 2600.  It was more expensive and the games were marginally better.  Coleco-Vision wasn't long after, and it had even better graphics and was more affordable. Intellivision soon went bye-bye. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Never played this one.  Does anyone remember the old box for Corel Draw (or was it Photoshop?) that had King Tut on the cover? I've Googled it, and came up empty - but I distinctly remember it and it's driving me nuts.


I enjoyed the TRON arcade game.  The lightcycle and spider levels were cool.  The TRON home game - not so much.


Bally-Midway was smart enough not to include any screenshots of the actual game.  I remember playing it and hating it almost as much as the infamous E.T. Atari game.


I guess you could say I was a jittery child.  I used to have mild heart attacks playing Perfection - when that timer ran out and the pieces exploded in your face, it took years off of my life.  The same was true for Frogger.  I would inevitably get to that last log and 'croak'.  Infinitely frustrating.


OHH YEAH!!

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