Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What is this strange "jumping" of which you speak?

My birthday was on Sunday, which I spent sicker than a dead dog at a plague convention. That was partially my fault though, as I spent the previous evening attending an awesome wrestling extravaganza. That only aggravated the illness I was already suffering from. But this post isn't about the TNA house show. Maybe I'll write that one tomorrow.

Instead I want to tell you about the killer present I got from the team of my sister and my mom. They went into cahoots. Sis got me an Atari 2600 console in great condition and mom got me a box of old cartridges, almost all of which have their boxes and documentation intact. It's a sweet set-up for some crappy old videogaming. I've mostly been playing Space Invaders (Which I adore. One of my oldest webpages is a tribute to that game.), direct descendants of Space Invaders, and Pitfall! It's been probably 20 years since I read the instruction booklet for Pitfall! Dig these excerpts:

Whoa! Hold up there a moment, Tex! How the hell am I supposed to use the button and the joystick at the same time?! I'm not some sort of supernerd who devotes his entire waking existence to mastering such complicated videogaming techniques!



Also, Demon Attack has the best cover art and promo blurb ever invented.

Marooned on the ice planet Krybor,
you watch legions of
eerie creatures scream overhead.
They hover ominously.
They give you no quarter.
Attack and destroy them--or be destroyed!
Armed with your Laser Cannon,
you confront the
ultimate challenge: Survive!

Is it just me, or would "They hover ominously" work as a band name?


  1. That cover is awesome. Giant metallic space lizards with x-wing fighters shoved up their ... afterburners. With missiles! I started to wonder why the big one there is belching stars, but then I realized if I had been forcibly mated with a starship I'd probably be screaming stellar novae too.

    Great post Jeff, brought back a lot of memories. I always sucked at Pitfall! but it was a cool game. River Raider was my favorite, and Asteroids. I couldn't get into Space Invaders, the music was too ominous. Screaming hordes of laser-crapping aliens I can take, but the music apparently was just too much for my young ears.

  2. Being sick is no fun, unless you get "cash-sprouting fever", in which cash bursts from painless rashes that smell like ice cream. Did you make it to Free RPG Day on Saturday?

  3. Anonymous5:50 PM

    My half-birthday was on Sunday, which I spent sick but not that sick. Maybe half-sick.

    I sent a photo of my > 20,000 Pitfall! score to Activision more than 20 years ago. Still waiting for my Explorers' Club membership emblem.



    Their voices came unbidden into my brain.

  5. That's not a rocket. That's an AIM-54 Phoenix missile.

    I also think that's an AIM-9 Sidewinder on the wingtip, and an AIM-7 Sparrow underneath it.

    Yes, I am a big ol' war nerd.

  6. Erin, I had that same conversation Saturday.


  7. Anonymous12:58 AM

    Retro love aside, those games are totally shitty, dude. There's just no two ways about it.

  8. Retro love aside, those games are totally shitty, dude.

    I think we've established by now that it's a missile.

  9. Retro love aside, those games are totally shitty, dude. There's just no two ways about it.

    O RLY? I never owned or played Demon Attack as a youth, so I can hardly chalk up the fun I'm having with it as rosy nostalgia.

    At my wife's last family reunion I organized a Pong tournament. Should I ring up all my in-laws and tell them that they weren't really having fun, after all?

  10. Interesting note, the designers of that Atari Flashback from a few years back left a nifty secret in the product: there are connections on the board that, if you are so inclined, allow you to wire in a 2600 cartridge slot and use it as a full-on Atari 2600.

  11. I played the Intellivision version of Demon Attack. It had great music, including an interlude of "Pomp and Circumstance" if you defeated the boss level. I loved that game, but not nearly as much as I loved their Atlantis.

    - Brian

  12. Man Pitfall and Demon Attack! Some great games. You got a waay more awesome birthday stuff than I did. (Currently my presents consist of a single birthday card. Woo.)

    I note lots of groovy old school Battletech boxes there too.

    Now you just need H.E.R.O., one of the best and least known Activision classics. (Though its better on the C64.)

  13. I had the patch for Pitfall 2. Earning it was the high point of my life at four.

    And, you know, now...