The Sony PlayStation prototype sold for $360,000 to Pets.com founder Greg McLemore

This prototype Sony PlayStation, the result of a failed Sony and Nintendo collaboration in the early 1990s, sold Friday for $360,000 in a live online auction. Background here. While Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey was thought to have made the winning bid, the winner was actually Greg McLemore who made a fortune in the first dotcom gold rush as founder of Pets.com and Toys.com. McLemore is a an avid videogame collector and historian who runs the virtual International Arcade Museum. From Forbes:

According to a profile in Robb Report, money from those early dot-com ventures helped (McLemore) start a 20-year journey collecting video game memorabilia, from strength-testing machines of the 1880s, to prototypes of coin-operated mechanical horse rides in the 1920s, to the first commercially sold arcade game Computer Space from 1971...

I'm looking to not have this machine just buried in a closet somewhere," McLemore told Forbes, saying he wants to take his collection—which he estimates includes over 800 coin-operated machines and countless other smaller games, trade magazines and original art—and build out a permanent museum.

Working his way toward that prospect, he's beginning to develop exhibitions with outside partners to display the items, including an upcoming run with the University of Southern California Pacific Asia Museum in spring and summer 2021 illustrating Asian influence on the video game industry; the Nintendo PlayStation will be included.

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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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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.

Video Game Console Logos (ReaganRay.com) Read the rest

Mario says "Fuck you!" to Luigi on "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!" (1989)

My 13-year-old son showed me this and we couldn't stop laughing. How dare Mario be so rude to his brother!

The 1989 TV series "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!" starred wrestler Lou Albano as Mario, Danny Wells of "The Jeffersons" as Luigi, and Jeannie Elias as the voice of Princess Toadstool.

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Atari Centipede commercial with bad 1980s TV rap

Enjoy this 1983 television commercial advertising Centipede for the Atari 5200. Read the rest

Fantastically deep history of plug & play videogame consoles

Back in the early 2000s, cheap plug & play videogame consoles became ubiquitous. I remember spotting them for sale everywhere from toy stores to Walgreens. Self-contained systems, they integrated one or many games instead of allowing users to swap in cartridges or CDs. Today, Frank Cifaldi of the Video Game History Foundation shares the deep and geeky history of plug & play as a launching point for his research on the TV Guide Quizmaster, "something so rare it might not even exist." Below are a few bits from the thread. See the whole thing on Twitter!

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Fantastic Atari commercial from 1982

This outstanding 1982 TV commercial makes me want to play my son's collection of vintage Atari 2600 games. Except, of course, for Pac-Man.

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Nintendo Switch Lite finally unveiled

Nintendo finally unveiled the long-rumored Nintendo Switch Lite. Besides the compact size, the biggest difference is a classic D-pad control. Due out in September, it will retail for $200. From The Verge:

Nintendo says the Lite features “slightly” improved battery life — the company wouldn’t get any more specific than that — due to a more power-efficient chip layout, as well as the lack of additional batteries in the built-in controllers. The Switch Lite also does away with the device’s controversial kickstand...

The Lite comes in multiple colors at launch — yellow, grey, and turquoise — as well as a special light grey Pokémon Sword and Shield edition, and they all have a pleasant matte texture that feels great to hold....

The new device has a 5.5-inch touch display, compared to 6.2-inch for its predecessor. If you take a single Joy-Con off of an original Switch, you’ll have a good idea of the size of the new version.

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Whinefeld: the bizarre Seinfeld parody clip from the Stay Tooned! videogame (1996)

The clip above is from Stay Tooned!, a 1996 computer game developed by Funnybone Interactive. From Wikipedia:

The player takes the place of an ordinary patron living in an apartment. The player starts off simply channel-surfing with a TV remote and watching short cartoons and commercials that parody real-life shows (such as Seinfeld, which is parodied as Whinefeld). One channel even has the game's chief programmer providing hints on how to play the upcoming game. Several cartoon characters either forbid or encourage the player to push the red button on their remote as the player surfs the channels. When the player pushes the button, the cartoons break out of the television set, steal the remote, and cause the entire apartment complex to go into animated form. The player must recover the television remote, which is the only thing that can zap the escaped toons and send them back to TV Land, the fictional toon world found within the depths of the television.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Fantastic TV commercial from Mattel Intellivision (1982)

This excellent 1982 TV commercial for Mattel's Intellivision game console features a "computerized" futuristic newscast that predates both Max Headroom's cyber-pisstake on the media and A-Ha's rotoscoped classic "Take On Me!"

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Xbox-branded deodorant and other personal hygiene products

Microsoft and Unilever's Lynx brand have partnered on a line of Xbox personal hygiene products including deodorant, body spray, and shower gel. Whatever gets them to use it, I say. Unfortunately for now, the products will only be available in Australia and New Zealand. From Gamespot:

The official description is simply delightful:

"Lynx Xbox is a fresh scent of pulsing green citrus, featuring top notes of kaffir lime and winter lemon, aromatic herbal middle notes of mint and sage, and woody bottom notes of patchouli and clearwood. Containing a range of natural essential oils, the Xbox Lynx range comes with a sleek new look and features a body spray, deodorant, and shower gel."

Xbox ANZ boss Tania Chee said in a statement that users can spray or wash themselves with Xbox Lynx to "power up" before heading out the door in the morning.

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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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Fantastic Super Mario Bros. stop-motion paper animation in a notebook

Kisaragi double 6 created this fantastic hand-drawn stop-motion animation of the Super Mario Bros (1985) World 1-1 level.

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Archival music collection from June Chikuma, composer of the "Bomberman" videogame soundtracks

June Chikuma is the Japanese composer behind the beloved soundtracks to Nintendo’s Bomberman series and countless other videogame, TV, and film scores. Now, Chikuma's 1986 album "Divertimento" has been expanded into a new edition titled Les Archives, available from the Freedom To Spend label. The vinyl edition of Les Archives also includes a limited 7" with tunes from the era that didn't make the original Divertimento release. The above video, "June Rebuilds," was directed by Amanda Kramer and features the track "Broadcast Profanity Delay" from Les Archives. From the release announcement:

While Freedom To Spend’s reinvented edition bares little visual evidence of its origins in the composer’s name, title, or sleeve design, the album, a whooping gonzo of synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, and a mysterious string quartet, remains as vibrant now as it did when released on Toru Hatano’s Picture Label as Divertimento in 1986. In fact, the music of Les Archives now glows with a different purpose; one that revises the past while maintaining, and finally elevating, its hidden influence.

A woman of multiple disciplines and identities, June Chikuma (竹間 淳, Chikuma Jun) has composed for TV, film, and video games over the past thirty plus years. Her proto-techno and drum and bass soundtracks for Nintendo’s Bomberman franchise in the 80s and 90s is an oeuvre unto itself. In more recent years her musical focus has turned toward classic Arabic and Egyptian music. Chikuma studies Arabic nay, playing and performing with Le Club Bachraf ensemble. In a melding of June’s contrasting, colorful worlds, Le Club Bachraf composed part of the original score for the 2007 video game Sonic and The Secret Rings.

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Why video games are made of triangles.. smaller and smaller triangles

The power is in the polygons.

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Play HATETRIS, the most frustrating version of Tetris ever

According to its infernal creator, HATETRIS "is bad Tetris. It's hateful Tetris. It's Tetris according to the evil AI from 'I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream.'"

Background, hints, and links to others' prior work here.

(via Kottke) Read the rest

Four or five people 'floss' in Times Square for New Years

Streaming sensation Ninja attempted to lead a very wet New York's Times Square mob in a million person 'Floss.'

Ninja and his wife gave it their best and got soaked in the attempt. Apparently, support for the Backpack Kid crushed the crowds enthusiasm. Read the rest

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