Sunday, March 31, 2019

[YouTube] Hot Wheels U.S.A. Builder Set

Hot Wheels U.S.A. Builder Set was released in 1981 as part of a series that includes two Starter Sets and a Deluxe Set that bundles all three other sets together. The Builder Set has a bridge with ramp, ferry boat, three freeway sign posts, four figures, four sign posts, one double lane road, one single lane road, dock playset, town playset, and bridge playset. I don't own the Starter Sets but from what I can find those sets include two playsets and one road piece each. All of the sets feature the same street connections so that they can interlock together to form one large town. My photos are lacking most of the figures and small sign posts as I've been unable to locate those and one that I have is broken. My box is in rough shape as well after it got wet recently. Also, the set does not include any vehicles, I added those.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Gaming Ads: Rocket Science Games, Rockstar Games, and Backfilling #8

Rocket Science Games was founded in 1993 with a goal of making cinematic video games. It hired people from the movie, comic book, and computer industries but its games tended to review in the average range and they did not sell well. Only five of its games were released before it closed in 1997.

Rockstar Games in this case refers to the publishing label Take -Two Interactive created in 1998. Founded by Sam Houser, Dan Houser, Terry Donovan, Gary Foreman, and Jamie King, Rockstar Games has become one of the most popular companies in video games and its name is often associated with high quality games, most notably the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) titles. Today many of its games are developed by Rockstar North, formerly known as DMA Design, the Scotland-based company Rockstar Games acquired in 2002. However, it has published games from many other developers in the past such as Max Payne (Remedy Entertainment), L.A. Noire (Team Bondi), Smuggler's Run (Angel Studios), and State of Emergency (VIS).

I only have two ads each for Rocket Science and Rockstar so I'm backfilling a few more this week; two for Acclaim and one for Accolade.

Rocket Science Games albums: Facebook - Google Photos
Rockstar Games albums: Facebook - Google Photos

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Year 3: March Update

As I've probably said a few times by now, I've been working on Sega coverage for the upcoming ads post. I have everything written but I've still got to get three videos filmed before the second week of April. A couple days ago I posted a "Let's Play" video of the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection and will have a C64 game on Sunday and then another Thursday for baseball, and hopefully a toy video the following Sunday.

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection
SNK 40th AC (Psycho Soldier)

The SNK collection has a lot of information and 24 games, though many are shooters. It's nice that it has the option to play the Japanese or U.S. releases, and arcade or console versions if both exist. Since last month I also completed Metro Exodus, Far Cry New Dawn, and Onrush. Onrush is a year old and while I had tried it back then, I stopped playing until my nephew started playing it recently as it was a free PS+ game at some point. It's fun in short bursts but it doesn't have much of a story or ending as is typical of racing games. I did give Anthem a try since I needed to get some gameplay screenshots (those don't look great, it's hard to keep them from being blurry) and it certainly looks nice and plays fine. It doesn't really interest me though; I certainly would have preferred BioWare make another role-playing game instead.


If you have a Uplay account from Ubisoft you've probably received an email earlier this year and another one recently about points expiring but here is another reminder in case you didn't. Only the points that were earned on or before March 31, 2017 will expire on March 31st. I've played a lot of Ubisoft games and never used any points so I had close to 3,000 that were to expire. It's not likely I'll ever use all of these rewards I've unlocked but it is possible to unlock rewards in games you don't own so might as well spend them in case you might play one of those games some day. Some games have music tracks you can spend points on and then download them to your PC. The games I've found with music rewards include Assassin's Creed Unity and Syndicate, Far Cry 2, 4, 5 and Blood Dragon, Watch Dogs 2, For Honor, Tom Clancy's The Division, Rocksmith 2014, Zombi, Werewolves Within, and Trials of the Blood Dragon.

Game Developer's Conference (GDC) took place this past week and the big news was Google's Stadia unveiling. It's a streaming service that will require a great broadband connection; mine is average so I doubt I could run games at 1080p/60fps through it. There was no price or release date announced other than it is coming this year. Other news from GDC is the Microsoft-published Cuphead will release on the Nintendo Switch and at some point might support Xbox Live achievements. Epic's game store continues to get a lot of PC exclusives, many of which are for one year I believe.

I try to find some toy news too when I write these updates but I never have very much. LEGO seems to be the one that announces the most new products that I notice and it did unveil some new Disney minifigures and a Steamboat Willie set ($89.99) releasing April 1st.

Thanks for visiting,

Gaming Ads: Revell and Ripcord Games

California-based Revell set out to make plastic model kits of automobiles when it was founded by Lewis H. Glaser in the 1940s. The hobby took off in the '50s and the company expanded by opening a subsidiary in Germany. It was in 1993 that Revell released two computer games that were bundled with model kits and allowed users to disassemble cars within the game: European Racers and Backroad Racers. Both games were developed by Atlanta-based FLOYDesign and are only for MS-DOS despite one of the ads stating it is available for Sega CD. I remember seeing that ad and looking for European Racers at Electronics Boutique a few times but it never released. In 1995 Revell surpassed five million model kits sold with the most popular one being of the Titanic which has sold more than two million. Revell was purchased by Hobbico in 2006 and after Hobbico declared bankruptcy in 2018 it was acquired by a German investment group known as Blitz.

Ripcord Games was initially created as a publishing label for Panasonic Interactive Media in the mid-'90s and is best known for the squad-based shooter series Spec Ops. In 1999 the division was sold and it became a privately owned publisher but ran into funding issues not long after. In an attempt to turn things around, the computer game publisher attempted to get into console games but only managed to publish one Spec Ops game for Dreamcast before closing its offices 2001.

Revell albums: Facebook - Google Photos
Ripcord Games albums: Facebook - Google Photos

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Gaming Ads: Renovation Products

Founded in 1989, Renovation Products was the North American publishing subsidiary of Telenet Japan (1983-2007). The majority of its games were released for the Sega Genesis with a few for Sega CD, and it appears only one (Doomsday Warrior) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Renovation was acquired by and folded into Sega in 1993. Telenet is known for a number of well known games, such as the Arcus and Valis series. Its internal studio Wolf Team developed Arcus and is also responsible for the Tales series that is now owned by Bandai Namco.

Like Camerica, Renovation used what it refers to as professional gamers in some of its ads. I'm not sure someone could make a living playing games in the '90s though they surely could have won some prizes at competitions. Camerica had Thor Ackerlund promote its games while Renovation heavily promoted Gaiares with Jamie Bunker, and David Izat appears in at least one ad for Arcus Odyssey.

Renovation Products albums: Facebook - Google Photos

Friday, March 15, 2019

Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II

Ironsword, the sequel to 1987's Wizards & Warriors, is a Nintendo Entertainment system game developed by  Zippo games (which at the time of release was then part of Rare Ltd. I believe) and published by Acclaim Entertainment in 1989. Having never played the game I don't know too much about it other than who appears on the game's box cover and that's actually the reason I'm posting this today. It's a bit of a stretch I suppose since he had nothing to do with the actual development but today is Fabio's 60th birthday. Fabio Lanzoni is a model/actor who became well known in the '90s for appearing on the covers of numerous romance novels, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter commercials, and an unfortunate roller coaster accident with a goose. He dressed up in classic warrior attire to grace the Ironsword box cover and that's also the cover of the first issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) that I purchased so it tends to be rather memorable for myself.

I've got scans from EGM #2 (which I acquired a few years ago) and the aforementioned issue #3. The second issue has the game's review where the four members of the review crew scored it an 8, 8, 7, and 7. It was named game of the month in the third issue by The U.S. National Video Game Team and received a three-page article.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

[YouTube] Colorforms

Colorforms were created in 1951 by Harry and Patricia Kislevitz of New York. If you're unfamiliar with Colorforms, they are a toy where users build a scene with plastic pieces that stick to a plastic-coated cardboard background. In 1957 the first set to feature a licensed character was released; that was Popeye and many, many more followed. Colorforms boxes are usually around 8" x 12" while there are some larger deluxe sets and other variations. The Colorforms brand has changed hands a few times and is currently owned by 9 Story Media Group.

All the images below basically show everything you can see in the video so if you just want to see the sets you can skip the video. Also, there are a couple repeats as I've shown The A-Team and Batman Colorforms previously though I did take a new photo of each. One thing I forgot to mention in the video was Presto Magix. Although it is best known for its products where you use a pencil to permanently attach pieces to a scene, it made a similar product to compete with Colorforms. Presto Magix had some great licenses too, like Star Wars and Transformers.


Dress-Up & Traditional Sets

Stand-Up Play Set

I do have a few unopened sets from the '90s as well that fit into some of my collections. Ren & Stimpy is a bit odd for myself to own since I've not seen much of the show but I did read a few issues of the comic book. The others are comic book related as I did collect Batman and X-Men things during that decade.