YouTuber Pop Culture Detective has a lovely video essay up on 1980s movies that shaped our humanity, and he chooses five often-overlooked favorites of his. What films would you list? His choices are: Read the rest
Red Giant's chief creative officer Stu Maschwitz used Adobe After Effects to painstakingly create Tank, a fantastic tribute to 1980s vector graphics videogames like Battlezone, the Vectrex system, and the original Star Wars coin-op machine. Below, "The Making of Tank."
The Internet Archive has an incredible free collection of 1980s handheld game console emulators. In 1978, my brother and I played the hell out of Coleco Electronic Quarterback. It's amazing how compelling and addictive a flashing array of LED dashes was back then, and still is. From the Internet Archive:
This collection of emulated handheld games, tabletop machines, and even board games stretch from the 1970s well into the 1990s. They are attempts to make portable, digital versions of the LCD, VFD and LED-based machines that sold, often cheaply, at toy stores and booths over the decades.
We have done our best to add instructions and in some cases link to scanned versions of the original manuals for these games. They range from notably simplistic efforts to truly complicated, many-buttoned affairs that are truly difficult to learn, much less master.
They are, of course, entertaining in themselves – these are attempts to put together inexpensive versions of video games of the time, or bringing new properties wholecloth into existence. Often sold cheaply enough that they were sealed in plastic and sold in the same stores as a screwdriver set or flashlight, these little systems tried to pack the most amount of “game” into a small, custom plastic case, running on batteries.
They also represent the difficulty ahead for many aspects of digital entertainment, and as such are worth experiencing and understanding for that reason alone.
Inspired by DEVO, Memphis musicians Tony Thomas, Sam Shoup, and Tom Lonardo took a break from the weirdo jazz fusion jams of their "real" trio create Dog Police. Dig the lyrics:
The boys in blue had my baby on the floor, They were asking her if she wanted some more. They pulled out a net, they pulled out a leash, They said they were the... Dog Police!
The resulting video was a big hit on MTV's "Basement Tapes" DIY music video contest and later on Night Flight:
In the spring of 1990, the video’s popularity also led to the creation of a TV sitcom pilot called “Dog Police,” about a trio of psychic doggy detectives from outer space who wear fedoras and beige trenchcoats and grumble their dialogue to each other like they’re all channeling Humphrey Bogart.
Comic actor Adam Sandler made a cameo appearance in the pilot (which possibly was never aired more than once), and the show was to also prominently feature Jeremy Piven as a beat cop. (Clip below.)
Some debate surrounds "The Jordache Look," a 1984 advertisement for the iconic brand's jeans. The proposition: that it is "the most 80s advert ever." If the presence of "ever" permits adverts from beyond the 80s to still be "80s," then I'm afraid there's no beating The Ambassador's Reception, shot by classy chocolatier Ferrero Rocher for screening in post-communist Eastern European markets, but so successful it ended up on British TV.
This woolen Pac-Man sweater, an Icelandic peysa, popped up in my Facebook feed on Wednesday and it made me squee with delight. It's the handiwork of my friend Christine Clarke.
"I told him that if he designed a sweater, I'd knit it for him. But since he never knitted before, it was really difficult to implement his original design, so I ended up making a lot of modifications that didn't really affect the look but made a huge difference in how easy it was to knit."
And knit it, she did...
Christine told me she has been working on the sweater on and off for months, "I started it early February of this year, and of course I only finished it now."
If you'd like to knit one for yourself (and you're roughly the same size as Doc Pop), they've been kind enough to share the pdf pattern with us. Download it here. Christine says spent about $80 on yarn "because I had to get all the different colors, so even for a small accent (like the white), I bought a whole ball of it, so I'll have to think of a different project for all the leftovers."
Can't wait to see what's next!
photos by Christine Clarke and Doc Pop Read the rest
On Monday, redditor smulz shared this video of himself as a child receiving a Nintendo Entertainment System as a gift in May of 1988.
He writes, "I present to you my greatest shame. When my parents surprised me with a new Nintendo."
Whoa, whoa, hold up. There's nothing to be ashamed of here, sir. Your video is an amazing glimpse into suburban eighties life, from the guinea pig cages to that giant TV on wheels to your striped alligator shirt and thick glasses to your kid brother repeating, "I don't want to play with it." That part where you freak out and cry over getting an NES? Pure gold.
Please thank your mom for us for pulling out the camcorder to mark this important moment in your childhood, if for no other reason that we can enjoy it some nearly 30 years later. Read the rest
In 1987, Jim Henson produced and directed this pitch reel for Inner Tube (aka IN-TV), a cyberpunk, culture-jamming series that just wasn't meant to be but did inform The Jim Henson Hour's MuppeTelevision segments. From Jim Henson: The Biography:
(Muppet Wiki and r/ObscureMedia)
At the heart of IN-TV was a clever concept; each week, a live guest star would get sucked into the television set and would have to work his way back out again, usually by moving from one bad television channel to another. It was a fun idea, giving Jim an opportunity to satirize the seemingly endless parade of upstart cable channels and lame public access shows that were common in the early days of cable.
Watching this video makes the 1980s seem like a long, long time ago.
One night back in August 1987 after a party at Disney's Vista Village (before Vista Way), I went out to the 7-11 with a video camera and a couple friends to see what people purchase at 2:30am. In this particular video, my buddy Ken is behind the camera. I'm the guy with the Orange Slurpee.
If you're looking for an over-the-top '80s "party dance band" with all the bells and whistles (and little red track short-shorts), FlashPants is the one for you. I just learned of them from their explosive, perfect-score appearance on The Gong Show, but seems they've been doing their thing for a while now. They claim to be the "most booked band in California," playing at over 200 gigs a year.
For their win on The Gong Show, they took home a check for $2000.17 and a glorious trophy:
Coming soon for the SNES Classic Edition?
Chris McVeigh of Halifax, Nova Scotia builds all kinds of cool things with LEGO. Recently, he's been creating kits that showcase obsolete office technology. This particular kit, which he calls "My Old Desktop: DOS Edition 2.0," features a few reminders of the 1980s office, including a rotary-dial desk phone and a beige desk computer that can be partially fed one of the miniature 5.25" floppy disk replicas.
I lived through the eighties and I approve of Trixi Studios’ "Take On Me" iOS (proof-of-concept only) app which turns your surroundings into a pencil-sketched, a-ha-style music video using augmented reality. The Chicago-based team created it with Apple's ARKit, which is a suite of developer tools launched in June that adds AR to apps.
Here's a-Ha's original music video, in case you're feeling as nostalgic as I am: