That's Incredible! Video Game Invitational (1983)

Along with Ripley's Believe It Or Not!, the early 1980s television show That's Incredible! had a big influence on me, with its coverage of an eclectic mix of curiosities, oddities, strange phenomena, stunts, and unusual people. Over at Dangerous Minds, Tara spotted this great moment from the "That's Incredible! Video Game Invitational." Tara says, "They're so serious!" Damn straight. "'That’s Incredible' Broadcasts History’s First Video Game World Championship (1983)"



    I loved video games as a kid (okay, okay…I still do, it’s true!). My mom forbade me from entering the local arcade, COSMOS, but I went anyway. I remember being GLUED to the television when this aired, in all my nerdy splendor.

  2. “Darren is an accomplished outer space sharp shooter…” “He picked up some bonus fuel….” “The pace is fast and furious….”

    The Burger Time dialogue is legendary…

  3. Did the presenter really kiss a sixteen year old in the end?

    Nowadays she’d get arrested for that.

  4. @Mellowknees:

    The local arcade where I always immersed myself in electronic bliss was also called Cosmos. In Hillsboro, OR.

    As for the video, that was quite exciting.

  5. OK, there was no Cosmos in Cincinnati, Ohio, but I did hang out at Jupiter & Beyond. : )

  6. This “It’s Incredible” episode is featured shortly in the documentary “Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade” which is all about 1980’s competitive arcade gaming, the heroes and where they are today:

    Watch it and then watch King of Kong. Brilliant stuff.

  7. Ah, That’s Incredible. You can’t claim to have grown up in the 80’s unless you have witnessed the magnificence of Yogi Kudu getting twisting himself in to the plexiglass box.

  8. Tod only came in second, but at least he got to have Fran Tarkenton hug his waist for the last 30 seconds of the show.

  9. Man, those were the days. I never missed an episode. I miss all those “G” rated television shows. I think “Real People” came on after that.

  10. Hey, they left off the best (and when I say “best,” I mean worst) part of the show.

    As I recall, every damned teased-to-the-max segment concluded with the zombie studio audience reciting in an infomercial/sect-like way the central eponymous incantation to the show:




  11. I was a player in one of those Twin Galaxies national tournaments in 1983. I held the Pac Man record for about a year, though now people have beaten it by playing perfect games. Mine was not perfect because I ran into the death screen without getting all points. That was my first all-nighter as a junior in high school.

    While I was decent at playing video games, this guy named William Lee was a great video game player. He held records in multiple games and was better than me at Pac Man. Like me, he left gaming and didn’t leave much of a permanent trace, unlike guys such as Donald Hayes and Billy Mitchell.

  12. I grew up in Dallas, Ben Gold taught me to play Dragon’s Lair at the TILT in Prestonwood Mall

    Those were the days…

  13. Dorothy Hastin,

    You are just another one of a million girlfriends who moaned, “Will you stop playing that videogame so we can go to the mall?”

    You all lost. The geek inherited the Earth. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs each make more than their corresponding High School Quarterbacks.

    The world did not stop where your understanding of it did.

  14. @27

    Of course, that’s also why I only drink water. Even with such drinks as juice, milk, beer, wine, and so on, it only serves to keep away that thirsty feeling and keep you alive for a little bit longer. Variety is for the birds.

  15. Dorothy @27: You have clearly never played any form of RTS, other strategy game, or puzzle game. Ever heard of Portal, for instance? No “blowing things up to score points”, and it’s one of the most highly-acclaimed and popular games of recent years.

  16. Its funny how the audience is a bunch of (really old) adults. Apart from the teens relatives, what adult in 1983 liked video games…and on top of that the competition of video games.

    Well its spliced of course- as they are able to skip through the uninteresting parts, and give you a recap of what they are doing rather than a second-by-second play. Perhaps the audience part was just for a few minutes, and then let them go after they filmed them applauding.

    At any rate, shows like this paved the way for competitions, Halo Fests, and STDs (Smash Till Dawn)

  17. You know Darren, Ben and Todd got all the single ladies after this.

    My favorite parts were seeing these guys (attempt to) run from one machine to the next. What a great display of non-athleticism. :)

    Alas, I too can remember being glued to the TV watching this in all its geeky splendor. Its amazing that they dedicated nearly nine minutes to this.

  18. @Dorothy

    I’m quite certain that sitting in front of a screen
    playing video games all day doesn’t make one
    LESS obese

    Neither does posting four times in a thread about a subject one claims to find uninteresting.

  19. LOL..I can’t help but laugh my heart out after seeing this video. It’s so old school! Maybe because I grew up playing those “modern” video games, MMOs like grinding wow gold on WoW and now, anticipating to earn as much aion kinah as I can on the upcoming Aion: Tower of Eternity which will be released this month.

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