Saturday, September 28, 2019

Year 3: September Update

Brady Bunch Trading Card
For the blog the big thing this month was, of course, the Dreamcast coverage. Unfortunately, I don't think it drew in too many new fans/followers. This is the third time I did nearly a week's coverage for Sega and it will probably the last time I do that for any topic/theme. It's always a lot of work to put so many posts in a row together and none of them have been too popular. Not that they need to be as I do this for fun and to hopefully bring some enjoyment to others. However, as I've said many times in the past, I'm just not great at getting the word out there. In nearly three years I've never reached 20 followers on Twitter or 30 on Facebook! That's disappointing but what can you do. I actually thought those platforms would have more reach than YouTube and yet that's not the case at all.

After the Dreamcast anniversary passed I needed a rest so I've not done a whole since then. I continue to play less and less new games too though I did manage to finish Remedy's latest game Control. It's an interesting game that frustrated me on more than a few occasions. Sometimes it was due to my poor navigation using the in-game map, other times it was being sent back somewhat far when having to respawn, and there were times I was simply confused. It took me a while to figure out what to do with the upgrade system too. This is a game with a lot of materials spread throughout the world to collect that likely need to be read to get the full story. Due to a lack of time and having a hard time reading the text (I have poor eyesight and a 42" TV) I didn't look at too many of them. Compared to other Remedy games, I didn't find the characters all that intriguing, like Max Payne and Alan Wake, plus I did have more fun with Quantum Break as well. Unfortunately, it is another M-rated game which seems to be what I mostly play. It probably could have gotten away with a T-rating simply by removing the strong language.

The Sega Genesis Mini released this month though I don't know that I'll get a chance to play it. I can't spend $80 on it even if it does look nice and has received great reviews. Nintendo announced a new fitness device, sort of like a Wii Fit for Switch I suppose. It's called Ring Fit Adventure and includes a plastic ring that holds one Joy-Con controller with the other Joy-Con being strapped to a leg. It's not far off with a release date of October 18th; it will cost $79.99. Also this month Nintendo released the Switch Lite and a Mario Kart game for mobile devices.

There was a Star Wars event this past week that showed off a lot of new products and a trailer for the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order game. In other Star Wars news, Aspyr published the old Jedi Knight II game (without the multiplayer mode) digitally for Switch and PlayStation 4 at a price of $9.99. No idea how it holds up but it was certainly a great game back in 2002.

I did get a request to play a couple Commodore 64 games. While I don't own Thrust, I plan on getting a One-on-One video up on YouTube this weekend. Thanks for reading the blog and watching the YouTube videos and following everywhere possible and providing feedback!


Gaming Ads: Tengen

In 1984 there were two Atari companies, Atari Corporation which handled the home games and hardware, and Atari Games which managed the arcade business. Atari Games later decided it wanted to enter the console games market but couldn't use the Atari name so Tengen was created in 1986. Best known for its arcade ports, Tengen would develop and publish games for a variety of systems but it began with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) where it ran into a few problems. There is some contradiction on the order of things regarding two lawsuits with Nintendo. It appears the first legal battle is over the console rights to Tetris which both Tengen and Nintendo claimed to have had. Nintendo won in court and depending on the source, that led to the cancellation of the publishing contract Tengen had for the NES.

Tengen still wanted to make NES games but Nintendo had a lock-out chip built into cartridges as a way to prevent all publishers from releasing more than five NES games per year. Eventually Tengen did find a way around the lock-out but, of course, once it released unlicensed games, including a version of Tetris, Nintendo sued. Nintendo eventually won forcing Tengen to recall all of the unlicensed cartridges which was a significant financial loss. In 1993 Time Warner purchased a controlling stake in Atari Games and a year later the Tengen brand was discontinued.

Tengen albums: Facebook - Google Photos

Sunday, September 22, 2019

[YouTube] Rambo Action Figures (1986)

The movie First Blood, which is based on a novel written by David Morrell in 1972, released in theaters in 1982. It stars Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a Vietnam War veteran suffering from PTSD and struggling to readjust to civilian life. This film is quite different than what followed as it has a serious tone and is grounded in reality. However, when Rambo: First Blood - Part II released in 1985 Rambo became an unstoppable killing machine that catapulted the character into an iconic action hero for the '80s. Although neither movie, nor the additional sequels that would follow, are appropriate for kids, the popularity of Rambo led to the cartoon Rambo: The Force of Freedom.

Rambo: The Force of Freedom began as a mini-series in 1986 and received a full season of 65 episodes but was not renewed for a second season. In the show Rambo (voiced by Neil Ross) and five other fighters are members of the Force of Freedom commanded by Colonel Trautman. They battle the evil S.A.V.A.G.E. (Specialist Administrators of Vengeance, Anarchy, and Global Extortion) that is lead by General Warhawk. Of course, being a cartoon in the '80s it needed a toy line and Coleco obliged. Coleco released 12 series one action figures in 1986 and six series two figures in 1987. There are also a variety of accessories that include eight weapon-related items, four vehicles, and an enemy base.

Although the show and toy line weren't around too long the series one items are common and rather easy to find loose but series two figures are rare, especially carded figures. During the brief time that the toys were on store shelves, the War Resisters League protested them and the cartoon for promoting violence among children, and also claimed both were racist and sexist. Coleco didn't seem bothered by most protests though it did feel the pressure from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee which led to the discontinuation of the Nomad action figure.

I've got seven series one action figures and some of the accessories (with some broken parts). Two of the series one figures are versions of Rambo: one being the iconic movie look while the other has him wearing a sweatshirt with the Force of Freedom logo. My only other good guy is Trautman who, unfortunately, broke a leg but it is possible to snap it back in to stand him up. For the bad guys, I have four figures.

The Force of Freedom


Fire-Power Rambo

Colonel Trautman


General Warhawk

Sergeant Havoc


Black Dragon


10/26/2019 UPDATE: I was digging around in the basement and found part of an action figure's packaging. The front doesn't show much so I only scanned the back which I suppose isn't too unique either. It's an image of all the action figures.