ColecoVision 1983 TV ad for George Plimpton's "Video Falconry" game

[Video Link, from NewGrounds via Jesse Thorn]


  1. I had assumed that recent references to George Plimpton’s Video Falconry were a joke. This is not a joke?

    1. Hugh, what youre seeing is ‘what should be called something like the internet effect or rule 33 or something’

      Jon Hodgeman on the Judge Jon Hodgeman podcast made some riffs to imaginary terrible video games. Someone on the internet has made a video of these games. See the Pixar Huggy bear commercials from Toy Story 3. I do not think there was ever such a game.

      In other words, I think I can see some pixels. I have seen many a shop in my time.

      But that ‘Trial and Error’ Game? Totally real.

    2. Not at all. While the ColecoVision game is fairly obscure, there was an updated TurboGrafx-16 version in 1991 with (IMHO) poorly-implemented 3-D graphics. As with Mike Tyson in the “Punch-Out” franchise, the company dropped the Plimpton endorsement in favor of “Frederick II Hohenstaufen’s Palermo Peregrine Party” (trying to rope in the younger generation, I guess. At least it wasn’t as embarrassingly patronizing as the 1996 “Hoodz + Jessez” for the Atari Lynx.

        1. Woo-hoo!

          Also, thanks for mentioning that book. Looks like I’ll have to track down a copy.

      1. I found this on Wikipedia, just wanted to add it for the sake of completeness:

        Five Digit Flyer was a branded video game released by the U.S. Postal Service in 1988 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Zip Code. The game was contracted out to LjubljanaSoft, a one-man Yugoslavian software company whose CEO/CFO/chief coder, Janez Novak, ended up spending his $5000 advance on bootleg blue jeans and slivovitz. Ultimately, the week before the project was due he reskinned the 1983 ColecoVision game Video Falconry in a single 48-hour coding session and submitted it to the USPS, which promptly paid him the remaining $25,000 of his contract. Mr. Novak was found dead three weeks later by his landlord, a victim of plum poisoning.

        The game received 4 out of 5 stars from both Home Gaming and Neither Hail Nor Sleet magazines, but sales were poor due to 3 main factors:

        1) Although Mr. Novak replaced the falcons with the USPS eagle and the target animals with various zip codes, he neglected to remove the skulls and crossbones, which led to a number of returns by concerned parents.

        2) Mr. Novak rewrote the existing text in the game with the help of a pirated copy of the original Apple II Oregon Trail, a grade school Slovenian-English dictionary, and The Great Austro-Hungarian Encyclopedia of 1879. Consequentially the game text included references to the U.S. being composed of 38 “provinces”, the plentitude of passenger pigeons and ivory-billed woodpeckers, and the constant dangers of cholera and the player’s raft tipping over.

        3) Due to poor research by the USPS’s project manager, he game was only released for the ColecoVision system, which had been discontinued three years prior. A port to the Fairchild Channel F was proposed but never implemented.

  2. If someone finds and ports this game, I will love them forever. Possibly sexually.

  3. In you’re going to create fake commercials for fake George Plimpton games…why wouldn’t you make it a fake Intellivision game?

  4. [SPOILER]
    Ah! It really looked like a real commercial! the VHS effect was strangely believable, but after watching it for a second time I spotted the pixels and the perfect stillness of the pictures in the gameplay scenes, digital video editing was out of the question back in the 80s. Anyway, the guys at Newgrounds are great!

  5. The voice over is pretty fake sounding. Plus the “(c) 1983 newgrounds,” the newgrounds symbol, fake (to) looking TV Fuzz, and the fact that the ColecoVision is ripe for ridicule.

  6. Wow. The Colecovision was the first real console system in my house (Pong doesn’t quite count).

    1. You know, it took me until your comment to realize it *wasn’t* Bill Plympton. Sigh.

  7. Personally I’m just reassured that it’s still the “Only game console I’ll ever need”, it means that I can continue to put off upgrading my CalecoVision.

  8. If they wanted to fool me, they’d have used:

    * Intellivision instead of ColecoVision, because Plimpton endorsed the Intellivision in real life. (This is why other commenters are bringing it up.)

    * If they’d used more of Plimpton’s footage from the Intellivision commercials, probably with him comparing his game to an inferior Atari 2600 one.

    * A better voice actor. Plimpton had a very distinct voice, and one of those academic accents where you can’t tell if he’s British or just Ivy League.

    * Graphics accuracy. Even Colecovision games generally didn’t have that much text in a splash screen, or lowercase letters for that matter.

  9. Ahhhh right. Funny, I even heard that JJH episode, and then failed to make the connection. There’s just too much satiric retro media discourse in my life to keep up with all the references.

    Also: what is it with commenters like pentomino? The this-isn’t-perfect-therefore-I-take-umbrage-at-its-existence level is on the rise in the BoingBoing comment threads. Influx of cynical Brits diluting the california moonbeams perhaps?

  10. It’s a Colecovision game because that’s what Hodgman said it was. Just ’cause you (and I) remember Plympton endorsed Intelivision doesn’t mean everybody does.

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