Before Peloton, there was the Nintendo/Life Fitness Exertainment bike

In 1994, exercise equipment maker Life Fitness partnered with Nintendo on the Life Fitness Exertainment System with games designed for the Exertainment bike. Above is a promotional video for this short-lived product.

The footage shows how the system works and also alludes to Tetris and Pac-Man being made for the system as footage was even shown, but the only games to come out for the system were Mountain Bike Rally and Mountain Bike Rally/Speed Racer combo for the Lifecyle 9XS gym version.

And here's a description of the the Exertainment System Mountain Bike Rally/Speed Racer cartridge that now sells for more than $1300 on the collector market:

Welcome To The Exertainment System Game Pak! In this one Game Pak you can select from three exciting game titles: Program Manager Your Very Own On-Screen Trainer! Life Fitness Program Manager is your electronic personal trainer. It sets your personal workout goals and retains personal workout information for up to four members of your family. Program Manager is perfect for motivating you to get in shape and for tracking workouts - all while you're having fun on the Exertainment system! Mountain Bike Rally Wow! What a ride! Hop on your Lifecycle trainer and race against riders bent on winning at all costs. Watch out for punches and strike back at those cycling foes. But keep one eye on road obstacles. They're at every turn. Quick, choose the ramp routes and leave your opponent in the dust! Speed Racer Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.

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Trailer for "Insert Coin," a new documentary about the creators of the biggest videogames of the 1990s

"Insert Coin" is a new documentary about Midway, the Chicago-based videogame developer that transformed the industry with Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and other coin-op classics. Director Joshua Tsui funded the film via this Kickstarter and will premiere at the SXSW Film Festival later this month. From the film description:

Eugene Jarvis, the creator of 80s classic videogames such as Defender and Robotron, returns to the industry in the 90s. In the process, he assembles a team that pioneers the concept of bringing live-action into videogames, kickstarting a new era in the arcades.

The technology mushrooms into massive hits such as Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam and soon the team begins to conquer the world. What began as a small tight-knit group begins to deal with success and eventually the rise of home consumer technology.

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"Myst" co-creator, Rand Miller, tells "War Stories" about pushing the hardware envelope while developing this classic 90s computer game

I love the Ars Technica "War Stories" series where they interview designers of some of the most iconic and popular computer/video games on the challenges they faced.

This episode features Rand Miller, one half (with brother Robyn) of Cyan, Inc. creators of the early 90s puzzle adventure game, Myst. The game was developed on hacked, maxed-out consumer-grade Macs using the HyperCard program. Myst would go on to become one of the most successful and inspirational games of all time.

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Logos of videogame consoles from then and now

Graphic designer Reagan Ray compiled more than 100 logos of videogame consoles from 1976 to 2017. (Just a handful seen above.) Oh how I miss the days of the, um, Fairchild Channel F and the Bandai Playdia. Ray writes:

This list covers the second (1976) through eighth (present) generation consoles. According to Wikipedia, there were 687 first-generation consoles produced, so I decided that was a rabbit hole I didn't want to enter. I had fun designing the page to look like an old video game ad or one of those posters that came in Nintendo Power. The TV screen borders even made me nostalgic for playing games on an old crappy 19-inch TV.

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Comparing the exciting cover art of Atari 2600 games with screenshots of the games

Geek.com has a nice gallery of Atari 2600 game cartridge boxes and screenshots of what the games actually looked like. Read the rest

A brief history of the bizarre, unholy offspring of Tetris

In 1984, Alexey Pajitnov, then working for the Russian Academy of Sciences, completed his masterpiece, Tetris. It was perfection and, sadly, could only go downhill from there, as the inimitable videogamedunkey explains in this delightful video above.

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Remember the Vectrex videogame system from the 1980s? It had a little brother

For those who don't know, the Vectrex was Milton Bradley's videogame console with an integrated vector graphics display that was introduced in 1982. As cool and unique as Vectrex was, it was only on the market for two years before succumbing to the video game crash of 1983. A few years ago, photos turned up revealing that Milton Bradley had apparently prototyped a more portable version of the console. Other than what was seen in those images though, there was little-to-no information about the actual system, like whether it actually worked or was just a mock-up. Until now. The National Videogame Museum has actually acquired one of the working prototypes!

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PlayStation sneakers from Nike

Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star and retro-videogamer Paul George worked with Nike and Sony on a new pair of PS1-inspired sneakers. Due out December 1, the PG 2.5 x PlayStation design follows on the heels (sorry) of the black PG2 x PlayStation sneakers that were released in February and sold out in a hot minute.

"For those who know me, gaming is a big part of who I am – I love the fans and I love this community, so it was amazing to see the gaming and sneaker worlds collide with the original PG2 collaboration," George writes. "This time around, I wanted to take the design old school, back to my earliest days of gaming. For me – as I’m sure many of you can relate – those memories date back to the original PlayStation."

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Play Bubble Bobble, Wolfenstein, and 13,000 other Commodore 64 disks free online

The Internet Archive now offers in-browser emulation of more than 13,000 Commodore 64 floppy disks. The Sentinel, Paradroid, Oregon Trail, Wasteland... they're all there, waiting for you.

Software Library: C64 (Internet Archive)

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Teaser for Castlevania series on Netflix

With the classic 1980s Nintendo Entertainment System continuing to rack up extra lives thanks to the retro videogame resurgence, the thirty year-old game Castlevania has been ported to Netflix with a new animated series. Warren Ellis wrote it, which almost guarantees that it will be the best TV program based on a videogame ever, and that includes Hanna-Barbera's Pac-Man.

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How the Nintendo NES Zapper gun worked (and why it doesn't on today's TVs)

My 10-year-old son Lux is a retro videogame historian who collects and studies 1980s consoles and games with the gravitas of a PhD student working on his thesis. Last year he acquired Nintendo's NES Zapper gun controller from 1984 that was used to play shooting games like Duck Hunt. (Below, a TV commercial for the NES Deluxe Set including the Zapper and R.O.B. The Robotic Operating Buddy.) Unfortunately, the NES Zapper doesn't work with modern LCD televisions. The video above from "Today I Found Out" explains the clever technology behind the NES Zapper gun. And here's a great text explanation from How-To Geek about why it doesn't work on non-CRT screens, something my son already knew but, of course, wanted the Zapper anyway for, er, display purposes:

First, it requires extremely precise timing between the trigger pull on the Zapper and the response on the screen. Even the slightest difference (and we’re talking milliseconds here) between the signal sent to the NES and the signal displayed on the screen can throw it off. The original timing sequence was based on the very dependable response time of a CRT hooked up to the analog NES signal. Whether the old tube TV was big, small, cutting edge or 10 years old, the speed of the signal via the CRT display standard was reliable. By contrast, the latency in modern digital sets is not reliable and is not the same as the old consistent delay in the CRT system. Now, this doesn’t matter in most situations.

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