Saturday, April 18, 2020

Year 4: April Update

As I noted last month, I try not to write anything negative here but the pandemic continues and the area I live is largely shut down through April. It feels as if nothing will ever return to the way it was but hopefully things will improve soon. I continue to work from home and have been going through some stuff to get rid of, and really haven't been gaming too much at all. Last weekend I completed the Fisher-Price video and aim to get some more "Let's Play" videos done next week.

Conventions continue to be canceled and video games keep getting delayed, such as The Last of Us Part II and Wasteland 3. There have been some new announcements too, like compilations of previous BioShock, Borderlands, and XCOM games releasing for Switch in May, and a new standalone XCOM game for PC coming April 24th. As much as I enjoy XCOM 2, I don't own its War of the Chosen expansion and I'm not sure if I'll grab this new game either. It's mostly about the time commitment as I know I'll lose many, many hours if I do start another XCOM. Currently the Switch and physical copies of Final Fantasy VII Remake have been hard to come by so if you're looking for one of those expect to see ridiculous prices. Just be patient as they'll be restocked eventually. In other game news Sony showed off the PlayStation 5's controller a couple weeks ago that is named DualSense.

Something I spent a few hours trying to get to work recently so that I could make a video is The Sims 2. There is an old project I'd like to show off but I just cannot get the game to run on Windows 10. Compatibility problems with old computer games is always such a hassle. My attempt was with the DVD release and I'm wondering if the digital version might be worth trying or if it would be the same. I do have old parts that would allow me to build a Windows XP or even Windows 98 machine, however, I don't want another computer and am trying to find where to unload old motherboards, processors, etc. The project was a video game neighborhood that I never completed but I think it's still worth sharing. I'll post a couple of screenshots I have of it here. Looking at them now I see things I could definitely do better and I didn't use mods so I just had to get the closest matches I could from the base assets.

I forgot to mention in March that Nintendo is working with LEGO on some unique Mario-themed sets. They aren't standard LEGO toys with mini-figures, instead the figures are larger and the sets have interactive parts with sound effects. The starter course is expected to release in August for $59.99.

If you have kids to entertain or just want some simple entertainment for yourself, I've continued to add many scans to the activities album on the Vault 1541 Facebook page. It's not all my typical favorites either, like Batman, Star Wars, and G.I. Joe. There are also Smurfs, Care Bears, Garfield, Woodsy Owl, and many other characters featured, and I have more books I'll get to when I have time. Thanks for reading and please continue to stay home and stay safe.


Sunday, April 12, 2020

[YouTube] Fisher-Price in Outer Space

From about 1975-1984 Fisher-Price released a series of toys called Adventure People. As the title to this post suggests, I'm focusing here on the space-themed items. Unfortunately, I do not have any of the boxes or catalogs, just a couple sets of instructions. I used the Fisher-Price Collectors Club (FPCC) website as a reference to refresh my memory and match up the correct figures and vehicles. That site has images of the carded figures which I will link to but it does not have images of the complete boxed sets, only descriptions. While I do own many of the space-themed items, the carded figures I do not own include OpticonX-Ray ManX-Ray Woman, and Brainoid.

Some of my items aren't in great condition. Firestar lost a couple stickers, Alpha Star's electronic parts don't work, and Alpha Probe is rather dirty though the spots seem to be permanent.

Space Commander
Space Commander is the most basic of the space-themed action figures. It's a senior officer in a red outfit. I've got two of them so I put the front and back in the same photo.

Clawtron is a robot that was not included with any sets. The helmet piece appears to be the same as the Land Speed Racer pilot.

Alpha Pilot
The Alpha Pilot resembles the action figure included with the Alpha Star though it is a different color and was only sold carded.

Astro Knight
The Astro Knight link goes to the blue figure though it was also sold in yellow (FPCC says it is tan) as well, and apparently it was sold with or without a glider. It doesn't make sense to have sold the figure separately from the glider because it doesn't have much mobility and is designed to attach to a glider.

Alpha Probe (1980)
The Alpha Probe looks a lot like NASA's space shuttle. It includes both male and female astronaut action figures. A variation exists with the female character as sets were packaged with either one that has brown hair or one with blond hair. It's also packaged with a smaller ship that can be launched and a cable that attaches to the shuttle and a figure. One of the highlights is that it has two lights and three buttons that trigger sound effects that are powered by one 9-volt battery.

Firestar I (1981)
This one has a variation and two names. Based on the packaging images I've come across I believe I own the Firestar I which is black with gray trim. There is also one that is gray with black trim called Alpha Star I. It includes a cable and one alien action figure.

Alpha Recon (1982)
This is a small orange rover vehicle with a silver satellite attachment and includes one astronaut action figure.

Alpha Star (1983)
This might be the best known space toy from the Adventure People toy line. It's a large white rover vehicle that can be driven manually or powered by two "D" batteries. The front half pulls a trailer and has a detachable cockpit. On the back half is a ramp that lowers to deploy a robot and there is a cage that holds an orange alien creature. An astronaut action figure is also included.

Light Speed Fighter (1984)
The Light Speed Fighter (LSF) is a white ship with a rotating, detachable top piece. This is an "Action Model" version of the Alpha Interceptor that required kids to assemble it using a small, flat metal screwdriver. The LSF is black where the Interceptor is blue and where the LSF is yellow the Interceptor is black. There was no figure packed with the LSF but the Alpha Interceptor did include an astronaut and came already assembled.

As I did with the Millennium Falcon a couple years ago, I made a space image by piecing together individual photos and using Photoshop. My Photoshop skills are not amazing and I really don't know how to work with lighting. I'm posting two nearly identical images, the only difference is one has flames emitting from the Firestar I. I'm not sure if a fictional ship should be able to produce flames in space though fire typically doesn't exist there due to the lack of oxygen (or an oxidizer) but I thought it might look cool and I spent a lot of time trying to make the flames which really don't look that great. I'm also not too sure how the Astro Knights glide in space but whatever, it's all for fun! The land vehicles are sitting on crumpled packing paper (blank newspaper) and I added a few real rocks.