Monthly Archives: September 2012
This is the one I wanted to talk about very badly cause as I’ve mentioned before it’s one of Atari’s biggest pet peeves in the gaming market. Why such the fuse? well, let’s talk about its history first and then some criticism. The 5200 was first released back in November 1982, just 5 years after the 2600. After some competition from Mattel’s Intellivision, Atari needed to come up with a successor to the 2600. So they came up with this one with similar hardware found in personal computers from Atari’s other electronic products. The console seems to be on the right path, until it was tested by a customer audience. The first thing that made it insufficient is it’s not backwards compatible to any 2600 games, though they did made an adapter that allows you to play 2600 games which makes up for the insufficiency in the first place. While the controllers that first came with the system didn’t work at all, meaning they had to be replaced with newer models from third-party companies. Proove to show that they didn’t test them out before shipping them to the market. On IGN, the Atari 5200 controller was ranked 10th worst controller of all time. Despite the system had more advance graphics, it performed poorly at various stores. There was a lack of new games that came with the console, which was a result of poor funding towards the 5200 and Atari only focused on making more games towards the 2600.
Now for the commercials, I’m going to mention three I find to be either memorible or humourous. The first one I found has to do with a Narrator informing people that the 5200 games don’t play on a Colecovision which surprises random people at a mall. Even surprises them more when the graphics on the 5200 surpass a Colecovision’s graphics as well as the 5200 games not being compatible towards the Colecovision’s adapter which allowed a Colecovision to play 2600 games. But that’s a story for another article. So the Narrator then concludes the commercial that you’ll find games like Pole Position and Centipede on the new 5200. Then some random guy asks “Are they hard to find?” only for the Narrator to say “They’re everywhere” which lead to the guy feel spook by faintly saying “Everywhere?” If it’s a new system sold in every store why would it be hard to find. I don’t know maybe the mall shopper isn’t too knowledgable about video games. The second commercial involves two bikini women wearing air line shades one holding a portable radio the other a handbag. This attracted three guys on the beach as 80’s as they can be. One of them I swear looks like Peter Brady. So they break into a cliché 80’s like song(tell me it doesn’t sound like any other average song from the 80’s) and follow the women. The spread out a blanket and the one with the handbag takes out an Atari 5200 and plugs it right into the sand. Which instantly made the whole sky a giant screen displaying various Atari 5200 games. This amazed other beach goers and they all ganged up to watch the games on the “giant screen” in the sky. The main theme for the commercial is hot babes and hot games cause supposedly the 5200 is supposed to be the best thing to experience during the summer. Though how much would you bet that this lead people to believe that they could hook up a 5200 in a sand and instantly see a giant screen in the sky displaying the game. Only to discover that sand can ruin the system itself if the wiring was damaged. The last one to mention involves Victor Caroli as the Narrator who informs us how the 5200 has arcade quality games. We see some guy testing the system out in a white lit room and is able to play it fine despite that the controllers he’s using wouldn’t work in real life. I guess they had to create the illusion that they do work when obviously they don’t in real life in order to sell the system. Plus Victor Caroli probably wasn’t informed that the controllers don’t work hinting he informs how advance the controllers are.
Sometime after the 5200 was released, Atari had plans to release a cheaper and smaller version to the system. A common practice that would follow for later consoles in which smaller size consoles means a whole lot more convinces. This planned system would have been called Atari 5100, cause it’s smaller so it’s logical for it to be a 100 minus the 5200. The one significant feature that would have been removed was the storage bin which took up a lot of room for the 5200 and was meant to be a storage bin for the controller. However the bin confused gamers on its purpose. James Rolfe found the only purpose for the bin was to store his extra beer bottle. The other name for the 5100 was 5200 Jr. since it was meant to be like a younger version of the bigger counterpart. However only a few prototype 5100s were made until it got cancelled. By May 21, 1984, Atari announced plans for a Atari 7800 which replaced the spot the 5200 originally had. The production of Atari 5200 consoles was discontinued on that very day, while its library of games ended within two years later with only a total of 69 games. Just a size of a spec compared to the massive 2600 game collection. Only one million consoles were sold during those two years. Such a tragic thing to happen to a video game console when it wasn’t loved by many gamers.
Since its demise, the 5200 is now looked upon as a history subject to video game historians. As well as a good moral on how if you’re going to make a more advance console you gotta be sure there isn’t any technical issues that could backfire upon selling it to the market. Atari had to learn this lesson the hard way by making it up with a better console the 7800, the last console they made with a number in the title. We’ll discuss more about that thing next week. For now enjoy these commercials below.
After doing that Pole Position article, I decided to do some articles on all of the Atari consoles. Or in this case, commercials that just talk about the product but have no gimmick to them. I’ll exclude doing Atari’s handheld systems which I’ll review another occasion. So to start things up I’m going to talk about Atari’s first console which landed them in the video game console business in the first place. Which is the 2600, the most nostalgic and recognizable console from Atari’s category. While I only played a few of the games made for it, I do understand that it has a long fan following to it. Even James Rolfe a.k.a. the Angry Video Game Nerd has praised it for having the most memorable games of the early 80’s. So sit back and be prepared for an article that talks about the console as well some of the commercials for it.
It was first placed into the market back in October 14, 1977; Europeans had to wait a whole year for their stores to have some in stock. While Japan waited 6 years to have their own version in stores. Except in Japan it was renamed the Atari 2800. It never caught on to the Japanese gaming market cause the Nintendo Entertainment System’s Japanese counterpart the Famicon was a bigger seller. Originally the 2600’s original name was the Atari VCS, however after it’s successor was released the console was renamed the 2600 in order for people to not confuse it with the 5200. I’ll talk more about the 5200 for next week. The number 2600 refers to the console’s part number CX2600. During the 80’s the console became so popular people always refer to it in general when mentioning Atari, it’s also the symbolized image for video game consoles for the next two decades. Cause whenever they depict fictional consoles in cartoons it’s always depicted as something from a 2600 or one of its successors. This practice was done to a point when it was a stereotype to show modern video games using joint stick controllers as oppose to analog stick controls, wireless remotes, or Microsoft’s Kinect for XBox.
Now with the history outta the way let us talk about the commercials it was associated with, the oldest one I can find is one involving hundreds of 2600 consoles selling out at a department store. Remember before Gamestop was established, that the only way to by video games was at a department store, toy store, or an electronic store. Boy times have changed. We see a middle age man trying out the new games at the display console, which the guy at the counter isn’t too happy about his presence hinting that George comes to the Atari section of the department store. George would play all of the games being displayed which he would express how fun they are which also interrupts the salesman’s sentences when he’s trying to tell people what the 2600 has to offer. By the end of the day, all 2600’s have been sold out except for the one on display. A woman was interested in it, except the salesman says it’s only a display model. George proclaims that it’s his, but the salesman corrects him and says “No, it’s mine George!”. This lead to George weep in tears and collapses in front of the store front upset that the only Atari 2600 he can get close to is not for him to play all the time. Poor George he must not have anything better to do if he can’t afford to buy an Atari 2600. The other memorable commercials involve the guy who asks for everything an atari 2600 has only to get all the accessories and hundreds of games and is informed that that’s all there is for now. While other commercials involve a catchy Atari song that is changed in most commercials but has the same lyrics. Always concluding with “Have you played Atari today?”, which in the words of James Rolfe: “Heck ya I have!”.
The Atari 2600 came to an end by New Year’s Day 1992, a ridiculously long life span for a console in today’s standards. It out lived all of it’s successor consoles combined, all which you’ll hear me talk about the following weeks. The Atari 2600 had a huge library of its own titles, really massive if you include the homebrew games made by independent companies with no association with Atari. Even after the Atari 2600 discontinued, homebrew games were still being made even to this day for those who own an Atari 2600 at home. The console was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York in 2007. In 2009, the 2600 was named the second greatest video game console of all time by IGN, who cited its remarkable role as the console behind both the first video game boom and the video game crash of 1983, and called it “the console that our entire industry is built upon.” So enjoy whatever commercials I have for the 2600 and for next week I’ll review the 5200. Atari’s first pet peeve in video game consoles.
Like my article on the Rudy & Gogo Show, this also counts as a show rather than an advertisement. But when will there ever be a DVD or Blu-ray release on this when you’re able to watch most of the Looney Tune shorts on DVD and Blu-ray. So I made up my mind to do an article on it, cause it had plenty of promos and it’s something that you won’t find on todays Nickelodeon. Anyways with that said if you were a 90s kid like me, and remembered everything that aired on Nick during that decade, then you’d most likely remember this one. While being categorized as a show, it’s one of the handful of Nick shows that is compiled of short films to fill up a half hour slot on the channel. That’s right there was a point in time when Nick had the rights to air certain Looney Tune shorts on their network. The same goes with the UPA cartoons, the makers of Mr. Magoo. For those who don’t remember this, be prepared for a long lecture on this show. For those who remember it be prepared to feel nostalgic.
This show first aired on Nick back in 1988, back then Nickelodeon was a completely different channel back then. They didn’t have their own brand of shows so the majority of what they aired was nothing but cartoons made from different companies as well as Canadian & UK cartoons. It was only two years before they established their own animation studio to produce and over see their own cartoons. But until then, they only had these cartoons for now and despite that they don’t bear the Nick logo a lot of them were really memorable for their time. If memory serves me correctly, I think this channel was how I was exposed to Looney Tunes in the first place. Or it could have been the old VHS tapes I watched multiple times until I was able to reenact them by heart, or one of the other channels that aired Looney Tunes at the time. This may sound crazy but back then there were multiple channels that aired Looney Tune shorts. The only channels I recalled watching Looney Tunes other than Nick was ABC, TBS, TNT, WB & Cartoon Network. Each network either had privileges to certain categories of the Looney Tune category or had access to all of the short films except for the ones you can’t air on TV including the Censored 11 & any of the short films that depicted racism or alcohol. Luckily some of them were able to air some of the good ones intact as oppose to how ABC heavily cut up the really good shorts cause they were sensitive on the use of violence.
Let’s talk about the openings for the compiled show. These openings are how we know it’s for Nickelodeon cause it has Nick written all over it. Only two were made from my knowledge, the first one was made up to some point in the mid 90s while the other one was used for the rest of the decade. It’s basically a remix version of the Merry Go Round Broke Down theme that is played in almost all of the Looney Tune short films. The theme that will make people say “That’s Looney Tunes!” whenever they hear it. While the majority of it is clips of various Looney Tune shorts with the Nick logo placed in the background. The one thing I like to point out is that this intro was played back when this show aired Bosko short films. Who’s Bosko you might ask? Well no one special other than the first Looney Tunes character who predates Bugs, Daffy, & Porky all together and only appeared in a total of 39 short films excluding the MGM own short films that are more politically incorrect than Warner Bros’s Bosko. Which was one of the reasons why Bosko was banished from TV in the first place. Course Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising, both categoried him as an “Ink kid” and not a black kid upon his creation. But that statement wasn’t good enough, not when Bosko did some skits that are straight from a minstrel, and it’s not wise to air a cartoon with any association with minstrel for all of the kids to see. Bosko’s films weren’t anywhere near being categorized in the Censored 11, cause those cartoons are more obscured in comparison when it comes to stereotypes. How ironic that Warner Bros’ first cartoon character is a forgotten one and is in the dark while Bugs Bunny holds the glory. Imagine if Mickey Mouse was forgotten and got replaced with a different character. Then again Mickey was no stereotype to begin with.
So some point in the mid 90’s Bosko ceased to show up on Looney Tunes on Nick, I was probably the only kid at school who actually knew who Bosko was. Then again I was also the only kid who knew who Buddy was, who was refer to as the white version of Bosko but despite how he’s less of a stereotype for a cartoon character, Buddy never out lived his Looney Tune successors and was placed in the forgotten bin for being too bland. Even his cartoons cease to air on Nick either cause he was bland or cause his short films were never colorized. The majority of Looney Tunes that were in black in white were colorized on certain channels. It’s interesting to see what color my favorite black and white characters are, but I usually prefer the B&W mode cause that’s how they were originally intended back in the day before color was cheaper to use in cartoon films. Anyways I talked about two forgotten Looney Tune characters, now let’s talk about the second and last intro and the issue of censorship on these beloved classics.
The second intro is the one most people would know about cause it’s the last version of the show to be used. For this one it’s a different remix on the Merry Go Round Broke Down theme and different clips of various short films. That includes Bugs having a seizure, Daffy scolding Elmer for not knowing what a Rabbit looks like, Foghorn play an accordion with Bawnyard Dawg’s head inside it, Road Runner scaring Wile E. which sends him into the air, Daffy shouting “Juronimo!” and an explosion where we see Bugs falling in the sky with ship debris. And yes folks, no Bosko in sight for this intro. As evidence that Nick wanted to erase his existence from this show to begin with. It wouldn’t be another decade until people are able to see certain Bosko shorts on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection. I have my fingers cross he’ll appear in the Platinum Blu-ray Volume 3 collection. Anyways for this article I like to discuss the issue with censorship on Looney Tunes. At an early point in my life I actually seen several of these Looney Tunes short uncut on TV. I’m dead serious, cause I know what ones I’ve seen on video and what ones I have seen on TV. I’m guessing the whole censorship thing didn’t come to effect until the mid 90s cause a majority of the ones I seen uncensored can’t be aired on TV period either due to the usage of drugs, racism, or violence. If you haven’t notice most of my screenshots on this article are either depictions of violence or a stereotype. That is because I like to show all of you photographic evidence that these edits that have occurred are real and the uncut versions of these shorts are nothing like the ones on TV. I know prejudice is a bad thing for our culture, but I like to make it clear that I love these cartoon shorts for the way they are and the original directors of the shorts worked hard in making them possible. And the fact that half of them are effected by censorship is a real crying shame. Specially with the decades worth of hate crimes, suicides and mass shootings in America have prevented them from ever airing on TV uncut. If you take your mind off of those issues, these cartoons are really worth watching. See them all in their entirety if possible, cause do what I do and say no to censored cartoons.
By 1999, Nick abolished their own Looney Tunes show and since then they never aired any Looney Tunes on their network again. By that time, all of the shows on Nick were produced and supervised by Nickelodeon themselves. It was a sign of the times cause practically all of the channels abolished Looney Tunes from their own air waves. All except for Cartoon Network which is the only American channel to air Looney Tunes today. The shorts are aired with that new Looney Tunes Show which is a TV episode series with all of the recognizable characters drawn in a more smooth designs. I only seen clips of it, and it’s OK from what I’ve seen of it. My main complaint is that all of the stuff the made the originals classic are absent from the series. While kids who watch it will be surprised how the original short films are actually censored for TV. The only way you can ever see uncensored Looney Tunes is by DVD or Blu-ray. But make sure it’s a set that has the uncut versions as oppose to the censored sets that try to fool you into thinking it’s the uncut set. That’s all there is to say about this show, it’s a compiled show so there’s not that much new material to go by other than shorts that were created 50-40 years prior. Enjoy the intros and promos below and for the rest of September will be nothing but Atari console articles.