New Things.

Today, aside from becoming the proud owner of a new blog, I also became the proud owner of one of these. It's not the sweet woodgrain one that I would really have liked, but it was the first person to actually get back to me when they posted one for sale on kijiji. It came with 22 games, though not California Games, or Asteroids, so I've still got some things to hunt for. And there were some games, like Circus Atari, that I had never played before but am already a big fan of.

It got me to thinking about the packaging for Atari games though. Take the Asteroids cartridge above. As you probably know, Asteroids is a game where the player mans a triangle shaped "spaceship," flying around and trying to blow up large, blocky "asteroids." It's really not unlike a number of other games for the system, which really follow some pretty standard archetypes. You've got your shooting games, and games where you collect things, and a couple of other variations, but, as Jenna is discovering, a lot of them are very similar, and very annoying. So you've got Asteroids, a triangle and some blocks, and you need to market it. So you give the cover a really sweet illustration that really has nothing to do with the actual look of the gameplay, and then you throw it on the shelf, and then the kids eat it up. That's genius marketing, the games images may be boring, but the box images certainly are not. And it lead to some really cool covers for sure, like the sweet, dreamy sci-fi scene from Defender which is, of course, just another game with a spaceship blowing shit up.

It's beautiful really. They would give basically the same thing a new story, an awesome illustration, and throw it on the shelves. It makes me think of old school sci-fi novel covers as discussed in Fortress of Solitude. I'm not going to explain what I'm talking about because you should just go out and read the book anyway, a definite top 3 for this guy, maybe, maybe even a number 1. So much stuff going on in that one.


From Neatorama: Scary Science That Humans Have Follishly Embraced including mass marketed Opium and Heroin. That includes Heroin lozenges, awesome.


Was listening to Rancid's Let's Go on my way to Elmira to pick up the Atari earlier. Came upon the song "Burn" which includes the line "We don't need no water let the motherfucker burn," and got to wondering just where that line originated, since you hear it around a fair bit. Turns out it comes from a 1984 single by Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three, called, not surprisingly, "The Roof is on Fire"


Oh yeah, and this is awesome.


< /first post >


Anonymous said...

Those handheld homebrews kill me. I wish I had some electronics know-how. I saw a homebrew SNES handheld a while ago and it blew my friggin' mind.

Booya. Good luck on the bloggin', chum.

Jon Johnson said...

I gotta keep an eye out for more of them!

Thanks guy!

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure we had one of those wood grained atari's when I was a kid. I think my dad had it. Maybe. I seem to remember that, and shooting things as a triangle. I wonder what ever happened to it...