Wednesday, August 26, 2015

5 Video Game Systems From The 80's & 90's That You've Forgotten About

video game systems of the 80's

When we think about the last 20 years of video gaming and gaming systems our minds always revert back to Atari 2600, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sony PlayStation, Sega ect...  But since the mid 80's there have been many video game systems that have tried for their piece of the video game pie.   Too bad, that they just didn't make it though...   Here's 5 video game systems that you may have forgotten existed in the 80's and 90's....

atari 7800

Atari 7800
Desperate to re-vitalize their brand in the sonic boom of the Nintendo system coming to the US market in the mid 80's, Atari re-designed their original 2600 system and came out with a 15-20 new titles that included Pole Position II, Joust, and One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird.     Hell, Atari 7800 even licensed and released their own version of Super Mario Bros. for the inferior system.    The Atari 7800 sold modestly from 1986 until 1991 before discontinued, and along the way many that bought it had expressed numerous complaints about the lacklustre graphics and poor sound.  However, one upside to the Atari 7800 system was that it would also afford its owner the ability to play their own 2600 gaming cartridges on it--being, quite possibly, the first video game system ever made outside of the home PC to allow multi-system interchange.


Turbografx 16
Anyone remember Bonk?    While Bonk might be one of the most common games from the 80's available through a hodge-podge of emulators today, the TurboGrafx-16 Super System did not fair well on the market in the era of Nintendo either.     However, it did have the edge of Nintendo's 8-bit gaming with it's wonderful 16-bit graphics, but the downfall of TurboGrafx-16 was the fact that NEC and Hudson Soft, the makers of the system, never developed enough games up against the advanced graphics to keep consumers satisfied.   TurboGrafx-16 hit the US market in 1989, and it wasn't look before it was discontinued due to the overwhelming sales of Nintendo and Sega.   And the fact that TurboGrafx-16 had horrible support and assistance from various software developers didn't help it out either.

Amiga Cd32

Amiga CD32
The Amiga CD32 system was the first 32-bit CD-ROM console released in the United States.   It hit the shelves in 1993 and it was made by Commodore--no stranger to the game system.   It was designed to work like a computer, and it was possible to upgrade the system, making it into what would effectively in 1993 become the home desktop computer.   It was supposed to be the wave of the future in gaming when it hit the shelves, in fact, the system was even installed in cars as an extra feature to entice buyers into the most recent vehicles available, but these never came up for sale to consumes themselves.   The system came along in a time when the "first-person shooter" game was just starting to gain popularity in popular culture, and the Amiga CD32, being more computer like was unable to handle the processing requirements for such games like Doom and Virtual Fighter.    Also, the system had terrible sales when it hit the market, and within seven months of its unveiling, Commodore filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 


Designed by Electronic Arts and released in the US in 1994, the highly-promoted 3DO Interactive Multiplayer system hit the market and disappeared in late 1996.   What made it a cool console was that it was a sort of PlayStation before the PlayStation.   The problem?  When it was first released in the United States it was $700.00.    As one of the first CD-ROM systems it capitalized on games that cartridge systems could not play like Alone in the Dark, Myst, and Star Control II.   And many of the faithful 3DO fans around today still insist that its Street Fighter II Turbo game was the best ever released.

Halycon Space Ace Dragon's Lair
The Halycon game console was released in 1985 and at a whopping price of $2500 dollars per console.  These 30 years later, no-one is certain exactly how many of the Halycon units were actually sold and shipped, but it's suggested today by game historians that fewer than a dozen consoles are known to exist in the United States.     The Halycon system was made up of a laserdisc player which was attached to a home computer system, and it was the size of mid '80s VCR unit.    There were only ever two games ever made for the Halycon system:  Thayer's Quest and L.A. Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers, a NFL Football game.      While the system was too pricey for most homes, elements of the technology from the Halycon system found it's way into arcade machines.  Most famously, Space Ace and Dragon's Lair, were two games that used the laserdisc video gaming technology.   Everyone remembers those two games, even if you've never heard of the Halycon console.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Challenges of Making Sequel

In Hollywood, when a movie becomes a box office hit, odds are a sequel could be in the works. Take for example the out of nowhere box office smash hit Paranormal Activity. The movie was low budget no one expected it to be the hit it was. But in the end three more movies were done, and another could also be made. Yet, it was always debatable whether the films that followed were as good as the original. This is just one example of how they didn't plan on a sequel but Hollywood wanted one syndrome. These sequels can either be a hit or a major miss, why, because no one was planning on a sequel and the challenge of making one that measures up to the original can be a challenging task. Yes, films should stand on their own merit, but let’s face it, the films will be compared, from their quality to their overall box office totals.

Perhaps films that go into it planning a sequel fair up a bit better. There's no dispute that Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of Tokkien's The Lord of the Rings in three epic films was a crowning achievement. But then Jackson went into it filming all three movies at same time, which probably led to the seamless approach. Also, Jackson had novels to help him map out the story. The same could be said of the Harry Potter books and the Hunger Games books. But do all movies based on book series successful and do the sequel stories live up to the original film? Sometimes yes, but sometimes not so much. An example of this would be the adaptation of CS Lewis classic children books The Chronicles of Narnia. Of the seven books three have been adapted onto film, but only one the first story The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe was a box office smash hit. Anyone, who has read Lewis books would understand why. This was the book in the series that was perfect for film adaptation. There was the classic story of good versus evil, the epic battles, the drama, and great screen effects. The two films that followed Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Threader had to undergo a rewrite to even be half way ready for the big screen and still didn't fair up too well. So, maybe having a book series to work off of can be a hit or a miss, it might come down to the quality of the work itself.

Then there are the superheroes, need I say more. Right now in the box office Batman, The Avengers, and Superman have all had a revival, along with sequels and now Ant Man hopes to also join the rankings. These films seem to work because kids love super heroes, it’s just the way it is, for some critics there aren't much story here, but the box office still comes and so do the sequels.

Yes, some movies over time were huge box office success when it came to sequels, The Godfather saga springs to mind as does Star Wars, which will have yet a seventh film coming out later this year. Perhaps the thing that is most challenging about a movie sequel is to think about the general audience and what they want to see. Star Wars is getting a whole lot of hype right now for bringing back to original cast, now whether this sequel lives up to the overall hype given to it is the real challenge here.

Monday, August 24, 2015

10 Movies That Have Inspired Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino

We live in the post-modern post-modernist internet era where everybody steals from everyone and while some are afraid to admit it, there are others who openly do.   Quentin Tarantino is one of those artists who has openly admitted to borrowing from the movies that he loves. Even though he hasn't been so open about it in the past.     When his film RESERVOIR DOGS first hit the scene, like a tidal wave in 1992, he claimed to have never seen Ringo Lam's CITY ON FIRE [1987]--a film that was clearly his inspiration for the plot for his own film.    Likely, it doesn't matter whether you think Tarantino is a rip-off artist or the second coming of film--we can all agree that he makes some pretty bad-ass movies.

Here are some shots from Tarantino's movies and shots from the movies that inspired them.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Fascinations with Anime

Anime has grown increasingly mainstream over the years, thanks in most part to the growth of the internet and how it provided a larger fan base. What was once strictly the purview of die-hard fans swapping low quality fan subbed VHS tapes with one another is now a hobby open to anyone thanks to streaming sites offering legal alternatives to watch your favorite show, sometimes mere hours after it had concluded broadcast in Japan. That's quite a difference from how it once was where the market was at the mercy of a license to slowly bring a complete show out over the course of some months, sometimes years.

It's entirely unsurprising that today's generation would be fascinated with the medium. It offers a plethora of genres with a wide range of appeal. The varied subject matter helps distinguish itself from most Western animation, in particular anime that handle more mature themes. Adult animation is nearly all comedy with very few exceptions to the rule. Those looking for a more mature story that's animated can readily find that in anime.

Another reason today's generation might enjoy anime is a rather obvious one: they might simply enjoy the animation. Action animation coupled with more mature themes can create an engaging product are not easily found in Western animation anymore. Korra and Avatar exists but they've both long since been the exception rather than the rule in this matter.

Beyond that, there's also the culture surrounding the medium. Conventions, online communities, local clubs, or even just watching with some friends give the hobby more of a communal aspect than it ever had previously.

There's more reasons beyond those listed above and many combinations of such will lead to why an individual enjoys the medium as they do. It's easy to see that while anime may not be as profitable as ever, it's certainly more popular than ever as it slowly re-enters the mainstream with this new generation of fan.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Star of '80s Cult Classic BMX Movie RAD Bill Allen Talks with TV Store Online

Bill Allen Cru Jones Rad

Actor Bill Allen (Amazing Stories, Streamers, Born On The 4th of July) talks with TV Store Online about the 80's BMX movie Rad, his book My Rad Career, and his new film Heroes Of Dirt.

Bill Allen Rad My Rad Career
TV STORE ONLINE:    I just ordered a autographed copy of your book, My Rad Career, from your website this morning.   I'm really excited to read it!   I know that we're almost at the 30th anniversary of the release of Rad (1986)--writing the book, were you surprised at how much you remembered all these years later about the shooting of the film when you actually sat down and started writing?

ALLEN:  You know, it wasn't too surprising to me.   I was up there poking around in the attic if you will.  When you do that--things start falling out even though you had put them away.  My wife, who is an author as well, pushed me into the writing of the book.  She said, "you need to write something for your fans..."  I knew that all the stories that I had about the making of Rad wouldn't fill up an entire book so I combined those with others that encompass my career as an actor.

TV STORE ONLINE:   I have a rule when it comes to doing interviews...1.)  Always ask my interview subject about Robert Altman if they have ever worked with him.   2.)  Always ask my interview subject about working on Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories (1985-87) if they've had that experience as well....

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Five Comic Characters That We'd Love To See Have Their Own Origin Story Movie

God, what is it about good triumphing over evil?   We're a bit sick of it here and we're wondering why there isn't more attention shown to our favorite comic book baddies?   Wouldn't you just love to see an origins movie about Green Goblin?  We would!   Or how about a weekly series on Fox or some other network about Mystique?    For whatever reason, historically, comic book-related television series have often failed miserably over the last twenty-years on big networks.  This is why we'd rather see a franchise built on some of our favorite bad characters from some of our favorite comic books.  

Okay, let's extend this idea a bit more...

We'd like to not only see some of our favorite comic book villains get their origins stories up on the big screen but also, how about the slew of characters that hasn't even done so much as appeared in a cameo on the big screen in films like The Avengers yet,  for example?  

black panther the avengers
 Black Panther

We hear that there is a feature film in the works about Black Panther, and all we say is that --It's about damn time!   You would've thought that he would have at least had a small cameo in any of the last Avengers films but apparently that just wasn't in the cards for Panther.  

Black Panther has always been one of our favorite comic characters since he first popped up in the pages of Fantastic Four.    This kick-ass vigilante is on a mission in the comics to take right the wrong of the death of his dad, who was the king of a tribe.     Panther comes from "Wakanda"--the country where the material that Captain America's shield is made out of is sourced FYI....

jennifer lawrence mystique


Is there any other comic character that is as sexy as Mystique.    Certainly Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (O'Connell) set the bar fairly high when she covered herself in blue body paint for her appearance in Bryan Singer's original X-Men movie, but since then Mystique has grown in popularity amongst comic fans and superhero movie lovers.   So much so that actress Jennifer Lawrence has signed on to play her next.    We would love to see her give her own origin movie, perhaps, seeing where she came from and how she got to us!

lex luthor movie

Lex Luthor

Yes, we know--this one is a fairly obvious pick, but damn, isn't high time that Luthor got his due?   In the wake of the Batman villains, Luthor is probably the best-known, most-notorious comic book villain in the history of the 20th century--so why not give the guy his own film?   If you were traumatized like us after seeing Kevin Spacey take on Luther (we miss Gene Hackman), then no doubt casting a young hot actor in an origins story, or hell, even bringing Gene Hackman back, at his age, would make for an totally amazing feature film around the Lex Luthor universe.

dr. doom origins movie

Dr. Doom

Making a feature-length Dr. Doom film might be really wonderful.   A Doom feature film, at this point, would have to be better than 2015's Fantastic Four movie wouldn't it be?    It would be a special effects CGI fiesta, as Doom is not only one of the coolest and most iconic comic villains of all time, the inspiration for Mad Lib's MF Doom hip-hop alter-ego, but a wizard as well.    With a Doom movie could be filled with apocalyptic damage on the world, the design of Doom is believable enough that Victor von Doom's mask could be out of actual metal and worn by the actor who is cast to bring him to life on the big screen.     A origin story with Doom could be epic on the big screen.  We could see his rise and fall into darkness.  That would be exciting and set up a franchise that could afford it the opportunity to cross over into Fantastic Four meets Dr. Doom feature length films.   That would be A.M.A.Z.I.N.G...

magneto movie


This one is again, a pretty obvious pick--but why not?   Give me Ian McKellen as Magneto in a origin story feature film any day over another X-Men movie.    Magneto was one of the first mutants to walk the planet Earth, so it seems only fair that he should have his own film, or hell, even a weekly television series.   A weekly television series with Magneto could be epic.    We could see him travel the globe,  become disenfranchised, meet Professor Xavier for the first time.. etc.     It's really a no-brainer.       Can't you just see it?    Magneto: Origins?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Top 5 All-Time Episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is wickedly entertaining. It’s the kind of show that makes you feel guilty for even watching it, very guilty! The subject matter makes you wince in shame, and if you don't remind yourself to breathe, the laughter will quickly stop oxygen from getting to your brain! The main characters are Frank, Dee, Dennis, Mac, and Charlie. Cricket, a recurring character, is in love with Dee, and who left the priesthood for that reason. Frank is the dubious father of Dee and Dennis. Mac and Charlie are friends of Dee and Dennis from childhood. They all own a bar together in Philadelphia called Paddy's Pub. The show really couldn’t be funnier, and the story-lines are legendary.

The first of the great episodes is "Charlie Gets Crippled" in Season 2. After Charlie gets lots of attention, at a strip club, because he’s in a wheelchair, Dennis, Frank and Mac all get in wheelchairs, looking for attention. Charlie ends up in the wheelchair because he’s run over accidentally by Dennis. Dee also dons some handicapped equipment, and Mac and Dennis find her at the mall, feigning a disability, watching as people laud her efforts to help herself! Mac and Dennis are at the mall, in their wheelchairs, looking for attention. Frank, the wealthiest of the gang, gets a motorized wheelchair, which he heads back to the strip club with! There are so many wrong things in this episode, you can't even think about it!

Season 2 delivers another excellent episode with "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom." Mac goes to Dennis' mother's house looking for Frank's toupee, and he subsequently services Frank's soon-to-be ex-wife. Frank needs his toupee for a date with a woman he knew in high school, who was wild then and wicked boring now. He quickly ends the date, citing the fact that she has kids and a dead husband as a total bummer! Dennis is dating a clinger, who’s also the waitress, which upsets Charlie, who loves her. Meanwhile, Dennis' mom is keeping sex with Mac in perspective by reminding him not to bring his feelings with him to their outings. Dennis, upset about Mac's tryst with his mother, goes to Mac's mother to see if she’ll have sex with him. Mac's mother rejects Dennis' pursuit! 

"The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby" is another crazy episode. Frank, because of his divorce, is now living with Charlie, in a tiny apartment, and they’re sharing one bed. Charlie thinks Frank is his father, after its revealed Frank had an affair with Charlies' mother. Meanwhile, Dennis, Mac, and Dee are trying to figure out what to do with a baby they found in a dumpster. They try to get the baby a modeling contract, but when they find out that Hispanic babies are more popular for contracts, they attempt to paint the baby so as to score a contract, so they can make money! Dumpster Baby is eventually picked up by child services, but on our way to that episode-closer, there are tons of laughs as Dee and Dennis try to capitalize on this child!

Season 3 also brings "Sweet Dee is Dating a Retard," where Mac, Charlie and Dennis are convinced that Dee's new boyfriend is a guy they all went to high school with, and who’s retarded. Dee continues to date him, trying to figure out if he’s retarded or not. They all keep ruminating over some of his mannerisms, trying to create a composite of the individual that creates a basis for determining if he’s retarded, or not! 

The entire best episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is the Season 9 finale "The Gang Squashes Their Beefs." There’s just one hysterical scene after another as the gang attempts to put an end to feuds with all those invited to dinner. Cricket, the former priest who left the priesthood because of his love of Dee, makes an appearance, as does Frank's landlord who’s owed money by Frank, which Frank refuses to pay until the heat’s fixed. Ponderosa, who put bath salts in the punch at Liam's wedding, leading to him losing his eye, shows up. They also accidentally invite a guy whose car they blew up! Dennis and Mac try to talk Cricket into giving them his only working eye, which they want to give to William. This episode ends in a fabulous food fight, and there’s no reconciliation of any feuds in sight. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia takes humor to an entirely new, and very entertaining level, as is showcased with this episode.

This show is a work of creative comedic genius. Sometimes things just come together perfectly, and the cast and storyline for this show couldn’t be better. Although you question your ability to find some of the subject matter funny, you just can't help yourself! This is indeed very good stuff.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Family Guy's Political Humor

"Family Guy" is a popular animated comedy, touching base on many different issues, including mocking political views pointed towards real name politicians. Lately, the series touches base on the political arena and the cast aren't uncomfortable inserting views, some of which has made some viewers write into the show, stating their unhappiness with these views. These far-reaching political views come from the show's producer Seth McFarlane, which he responds that he’s certainly in his right to air his personal political humor within the show's domain and the Fox network supports his right to personal opinion.

McFarlane has proven repeatedly that it does not matter if he wrote some off color statements into the show or someone else came up with the hum Dinger, he supports and approves of this type of satire. This leaves the viewer a bit disgruntled, yet viewers keep tuning in to see what dumb, stupid show the writers come up with the next week. 

Sarah Palin, prior Governor of Alaska sends to the public down to earth, no nonsense political views. This caused her to become the brunt of many comedy shows, including "Family Guy". On this episode, Brian and Mart, Goldman a neighbor finds themselves transported to Nazi Germany. In order for these three to blend into the crowd, they wore Nazi uniforms, but had a McCain and Palin button pinned to their lapel. Of course, during that time no one knew who Palin or McCain were, so this left the three scratching their heads. 

Since "Family Guy" aired, it has turned out to be a show that’s not afraid to state provocative ideas, concepts and weird satire in its mood. Staff and network are fully aware that the show can be and is vile on many matters, but this is the gist of "Family Guy" and this is what creates "Family Guy" what it is today; a stupid appearance, with stupid writers, developing dumb, stupid comments on everything, including stupid political views. The writers who’re just plain dumb, yet stupidly smart and brilliant, keep the show's popularity on top.

Another episode again picks at politicians such as, George W. Bush, in the White House on the staircase trying to send a slinky downward and he could not quite get the gist of this old toy. Finally, George sends it flying the way slinky was meant to careen down steps. This is when he yells to Laura to come quickly and see what he accomplished. 

In spite of the twisted humor in this show, it remains popular with viewers. In the early days of "Family Guy", many a parent banned this show from their children, not allowing their children to watch the satire that makes this show so popular today. Now, the show has a sort of inappropriate appropriateness. Since that time, many families have loosened their grip on disallowing "Family Guy", in their home. "Family Guy" is one of those shows that the viewer just has to watch in spite of every wrong connotation stated, and then the viewer simply forgets what they heard.

When dumb, stupid political views stretch to the limits, it leaves no options for the viewer, except to become angry and then laugh. "Family Guy" is about twisted humor, proving to be bad, not at all funny per say, shameless, dumb, stupid, ignorant, uncaring of other people's views, and for whatever reason mockingly popular.