Monthly Archives: May 2013

MCI Phone Co. with Star Trek Actors

This here is an old commercial due to it featuring Deforest Kelly & James Doohan still alive. May those two rest in peace. The MCI Phone Company was a phone company that was established in the year 1963. It was the second largest long distance provider in the USA until it was purchased in 1998 by WorldCom and became MCI WorldCom. The company’s name disappeared when Verizon bought it back in January 2006. So the commercial you’re about to see is something you won’t ever hear being utter by word cause today no one knows what MCI is unless you were alive when it was still an active company.

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DirectTV with Kirk, Spock, & Chekov

With the new Star Trek in theaters, I decided to do one month of Star Trek commercials starting with this one. Back in the day, DirectTV used to do these movie theme commercials where they actually hired the actual actors for whatever movie they were in and are used as a theme for the ads. Here’s how the ads go, it starts off with a clip or reinactment of a movie we all know and then we immediately know it’s a bogus clip when one of the characters starts bragging about DirectTV and what it has to offer. So now for the summary of the commercial.

We start with the Enterprise in space being pursued by a Klingon Bird of Prey. We cut to the interior of the Enterprise to see Captain Kirk entering the bridge. Pavel Chekov suggests to Kirk that they raise shields. Kirk however tells Chekov to take it easy and expresses how he should relax and enjoy the new HD input they put into the Enterprises’ view screen. As we see the Bird of Prey firing up its laser on the screen, but we never see the ship fire the Enterprise so it was probably a misfire. Then he leaves the bridge suggesting that Starfleet should tone up the HD processers on all Starfleet ships otherwise it be illogical to not do so. Spock didn’t like how he didn’t get to say his line, and Kirk all goes “What I can’t use that line?” as he goes down the elevator. Yeah it’s all cool if Kirk doesn’t see hostile Klingons to be any threat to the ship. Then the commercial ends with the theme of the earlier Star Trek movies being played.

This commercial takes place somewhere between the second movie and the six movie as hinted by the red jacket uniforms that the characters wore in their later years in Starfleet. Not many of the original cast members are seen in this commercial either due to pay check issues or didn’t want to wear the uniforms again. This is probably the last time that William Shatner will portray James Kirk, as the role of the character was taken over by Chris Pine for the Star Trek reboot franchise reintroducing the franchise to a newer generation and paying tribute to the old series. Keep in mind that this commercial aired in the mid 2000s, so it was slightly before J.J. Abrams came along to revive the series with a movie the borrows elements from the original series but present it in a whole new way. Those movies are really good so far, as it makes me curious what future movies or shows it will bring about. For me, I’m most interested in seeing if they’ll do a series of Next Generation movies after they finish up with the original Star Trek movies for the reboot franchise.

3DO

And now I present to you the main course of the “Obscure Game Consoles”: the 3DO! While not as bad as the CD-I, it still had some pet peeves of it own making it obscure in its own right. The 3DO was released back in October 4, 1993. Unlike its competitors, the 3DO was manufactured by different companies during its years in production. Like the CD-I it was $700 at average retail stores, so it was not a big seller as no gamer would pay that much when a Genesis & Super Nintendo were more affordable. Despite the high price, the 3DO did show case some really cool games that put the CD-I games to shame in comparison. While the main reason the console didn’t catch on was the lack of third-party game company support. And we all know that the only way to survive in a video game market is by having a lot of friends that will help you out in a rough spot. While the game Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties was deem as one of the worst games on the console when it hardly plays like a game and it’s plot is too weird to watch like a movie.

The 3DO was only in the market for three years with over 300 games to choose from. It had plans for an online service feature which never got made due to the lack of good sales on the console. A successor console was in the works called the M2 but it was scrap way before the 3DO’s production line ended. So after the 3DO bit the dust, it later became an interesting piece of history to game historians and younger gamers who are interested in learning about past game consoles. And I’m sure it makes a great history lecture, teaching us that high price game consoles don’t do well in a game market. So this concludes the five-part obscure game console articles. Tune in next week for a special month of a particular theme commercials.

Philips CD-I

The Philips CD-I also known as the Philips Compact Disc Interactive. Was an interactive CD player developed by the Philips company. The product’s intension was to provide more than what a CD player or video game console can provide by making it as functional as a personal computer. It was cheaper than a computer as well due to the fact that it lacks the basic features of a computer as all you need is a TV and controller in order to use it. Besides the games it also had educational and multimedia reference titles like encyclopedias & virtual tours. This was before the internet was more commonly used in public. The CD-I was first in development back in 1984, and was first announced to the public back in 1986. It wasn’t until October 1991 when the first CD-I was sold in the market. At $700 as the common retail price which is way to high for any gamer to pay for even though the product wasn’t branded as a game console in the market due to it having non-game products.

The console wasn’t a favorite among the gaming industry as all of the games made for the console were memorable and really bad. The games that CD-I was most infamous for was their own line of Nintendo related games. When Nintendo originally had plans to do a CD add-on for Super Nintendo it was going to be developed by Philips. That product never got made but Philips did get permission to make some of their own Mario & Legend of Zelda games. Which are Hotel Mario, Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, & Zelda’s Adventure. The animation sequences & game play in all four games were declared the absolute worst by gamers all over the world. The games did so bad that Nintendo doesn’t acknowledge their existence whenever they make a list of every Mario & Zelda game. By 1998, Philips announced that they put an end to the production of the CD-I with only 570,000 units sold. And after that the Philips company had no involvement with the video game market for the rest of time.

Nothing good has ever been said about the CD-I, it was more criticized than the Atari Jaguar & the Sega 32x. That’s quite an unworthy accomplishment if the Philips company managed to rub gamers the wrong way by selling a product that no one would by cause the game developers clearly had no idea what people want in a “CD interactive” product. Luckily after the CD-I vanished from the face of the Earth, came much more successful CD interactive products even products that don’t require discs for game play. That world of gaming has changed and it’s proof that the CD-I didn’t accomplish anything while it was still available in the market. Check out my fifth article on the 3DO.

Turbo Grafx 16

Here is the least competitative console of the 90’s: the Turbo Grafx 16. While Nintendo and Sega were competing in the market during the 90’s, the Turbo Grafx didn’t bother to try to out match either of them so it just sat in the corner with no worries. That’s cause it was the first “Fourth Generation Console” in the market so it was already in stores before Super Nintendo and Genesis were around. The console was released back in October 1987 in Japan known simply as the “PC Engine”. It was released in America two years later, and a year later for Europe. It uses “HuCards” for its games which is different from the common cartridge games used at the time and it also had a CD add-on for its own CD game library. While it did well at first during its early years in the market. The console suffered during the later years due to the lack of third-party game company support. The same problem would occur for the Atari Jaguar. And thus by December 1994 it discontinued production in Japan and the following year in America. Years later various Turbo Grafx 16 games would get re-released on the Nintendo Wii so as off today the console’s own games are available to the public interested in playing one of the first Fourth Generation Consoles. Enjoy the commercial below and check on my opinion on the Phillips CD-I.

Intellivision

Like the Colecovision, the Intellivision was another console trying to beat out Atari back in the 80’s. The console was first developed back in 1978 by Mattel a year after Atari introduced the 2600. It was first tested with the market back in 1979 and then was commercially by 1980. It’s similar to the Colecovision with the similar concept of graphics excluding them both having the word “vision” in their names.

Fortunate for Intellivision it did not receive any threats from Atari as it did not try to rip them off by making any Atari 2600 add-ons to the console(excluding making fun of Atari in the commercials). Instead they presented an add-on that was really unique at the time. That product is called the “Intellivoice Voice Synthesis Module” an add-on that allows players to hear “voices” which at the time was a new thing to actually hear a voice on a home console. However the voice for the add-on is a scratchy computer like voice that has been lampooned by James Rolfe in his Intellivision review. While the product was only compatible with only four games: B-17 Bomber, Bomb Squad, Space Spartans, & Tron: Solar Sailer. Voice work in video games would not be a common thing until at least another decade.

By the time the video game crash occurred, Mattel was giving out massive layouts to the Intellivision game designers and after receiving a 300 million dollar loss in the sales of the console, Mattel decided to give the Intellivision the ax. Making it the first console to become victim to the video game crash. With only 125 games made for the console and only 3 million units were sold. Making it’s life span as short as the Colecovision ironically both consoles bit the dust with no or few successors in plans. The Intellivision would go on to be known as the 14th best game console on IGN’s website and a majority of its games were re-released on various modern-day consoles. With that said enjoy the commercial and check out my next review on the Turbografx 16.

Colecovision

Happy 100th Article!

A hundred articles have been made up to this point and it was worth it. Like for my 50th article I present to you a five-part article on five separate ads. Or in this case, five commercials advertising five games consoles. These are dubbed as “the Obscure Game Consoles” cause all five of them either did not last long or had no successors. Starting with Atari’s competitor the Colecovision from 1982. The console was released back in August of 1982 and had 12 titles to choose from at its launch date. It offered near-arcade-quality graphics which at the time to own a console with the same graphics as an arcade cabinet was revolutionary at the time. The idea would eventually lead to better consoles that are capable of featuring actual duplicates of various arcade games. The console did really well at the market as it sold more units than Atari’s 5200 console(which we all know it was due to the bad controllers and wiring problems). It sold over a million units until the day of “Video Game Crash” occurred in 1983. Because of that tragic era, the Colecovision sales decreased and by summer of 1985, the Coleco company withdrew from the game market like other companies were doing at the time. By October 1985, the manufacturing of the Colecovision was officially discontinued with only a 145 games in total for its own library of games.

The Colecovision had some interesting add-ons to it such as a steering wheel, dual joint sticks, a trackball, and an add-on to convert it with an Adam computer. Though the one add-on I like to comment on is the one simply called the “Expansion Module #1” which is a device that allows players to play Atari 2600 games on a Colecovision. This device immediately lead to Atari trying to sue Coleco for marketing a device that allows people to play Atari games on Colecovision without any written permission. However Atari lost at court cause the parts used in the Expansion Module were off the shelf parts that are not found inside an Atari 2600 so Coleco was allowed to still sell the Expansion Module for their own console and they even had the freedom to create an Atari 2600 clone console called the Coleco Gemini. This lead to Atari kicking themselves in the but for being ruined by a company that has rip them off. This kind of thing would never happen today, or as James Rolfe has said in his AVGN episode of Colecovision: “It be like if Sony decided to make an Expansion Module for the PlayStation that allows you to play Xbox game, there will be law suits stack up left to right!”. How right he is, this situation would go much more chaotic in today’s standards than back in the 80’s.

The Colecovision had a good run despite that it only lasted for two years in the markets and made an enemy with Atari. The console never had a successor excluding a duplicate console made in 1986 by the Bit Corperation called the Dina sometimes called the Telegames Personal Arcade. I think the latter sounds more plausible for a console name cause it’s unusual for a game console to have a girl’s name. IGN.com ranked it as the 25th best console in existence during their 2009 run down on top video game consoles. Anyways that’s all there is to say about the Colecovision, next up is the Intellivision.