Saturday, July 25, 2020

Video Games & Computer Entertainment: Taking a Spin With Don Mattrick

This post features a couple scans from Video Games & Computer Entertainment's July 1989 issue. The magazine calls it an interview with Don Mattrick but it's more of a brief article about the original Test Drive game. Test Drive released in 1987 for home computers and the series is still around today as a new Test Drive Unlimited was recently announced that is in development at Kylotonn. Mattrick created the game with his company Distinctive Software that would later be acquired by Electronic Arts (EA) in 1991 and subsequently renamed EA Canada. While Mattrick worked at EA until 2007, he is probably best known for his time at Microsoft where he helped develop the Kinect Sensor for Xbox 360 and took a fair amount of blame for the poor reception of the Xbox One at the console's launch. He left Microsoft in 2013 and spent two years at Zynga after that.

Year 4: July Update

I only managed four posts in June and July has been busy so I might not be able to even match that. A large part of my time has been dedicated to the Video Games 2020 project that I keep thinking about quitting. I'm currently playing games released in June for that so I am still more than a month behind. Other than that I'm just busy with life, working, sorting stuff, listing items on eBay, and doing yard work at two properties.

LEGO unveiled a new Star Wars item coming September 1st but it is part of the LEGO Art line rather than the standard vehicles and play sets. On September 1st you'll be able to purchase a 3-in-1 Sith-themed art set for $119.99 that features Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and Kylo Ren.

There has been quite a bit of video game news this month and one game that has peaked my interest has not been officially announced yet. It was in the first week of July that I received an email at work from a distributor listing a new G.I. Joe video game that is coming October 13th! It's titled Operation Blackout, will cost $39.99, and be released in stores for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch. While it was the Australian game rating board that outed the title, I shared what I knew with G.I. Joe fansite HissTank and I believe that was the first place you could learn much of anything beyond the title. Gamefly later posted the same details with a placeholder genre and someone on Instagram recently acquired the box art from somewhere, most likely an obscure retailer. We don't know the developer but there is good reason to expect mediocrity due to the publisher being GameMill Entertainment. I'll hold out hope that it will be fun though and if you want to refresh your memory about previous G.I. Joe video games check out one of my earliest blog posts: G.I. Joe: The Video Games.

If you're a Karate Kid fan you might be more interested in the other GameMill game coming in October: Cobra Kai. It's the same price and on the same platforms as Operation Blackout but I don't know the genre of either game at this time. Intellivision Amico continues to promote its October release as well with a special presentation coming August 4th. Atari has been making news too with its VCS that releases in December. Both are expensive with the VCS costing from $249.99 to $399.99 depending on the model and if you want a bundle with controllers, while Amico is $249.99 which includes two controllers plus six games. Although not direct competitors to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the release timing certainly isn't great. Four new systems within a three month span is a lot even if they appeal to different audiences.

Intellivision Amico
Atari VCS 

Ubisoft and Microsoft both had presentations this month too. There isn't much worth noting from Ubisoft since it primarily showcased games we were already familiar with. Microsoft showed quite a few games over an hour, including more on Halo Infinite, Psychonauts 2, and Grounded. Plus many new games were announced, such as State of Decay 3, Forza Motorsport (no number in the title), Fable (again, the same name as the original), Everwild from Rare, and Avowed from Obsidian Entertainment. Brief trailers were shown for most games with little actually being said about them. Some of the third-party titles on display were S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis, Tetris Effect: Connected, and Tell Me Why from Life Is Strange developer Dontnod.


Baseball season actually started two days ago and while I didn't have a post ready, I did post something back when the season was originally going to begin: Delay of Game. In the grand scheme of things sports aren't important right now and shouldn't be taking place. It's possible the 60-game season will fail to finish too but I'll it enjoy it while it lasts. Take care of yourselves.


Saturday, July 18, 2020

Gaming Ads: Game Magazines

This ads post is a bit different than most of the others in that it's not about the games but rather the magazines most of the game ads are from. Magazines were a significant part of gaming in the late '80s and early '90s because without the Internet this was the way to learn about a game outside of a brief television commercial or reading a game box while at the store. Not all of them are only about video games though, as some are computer/tech related too. I've got more than 200 ads of this type and just over half of those are from Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) as I opted to scan the contest pages it ran each month. If you've been reading the blog since it launched then you've probably noticed I read a lot of EGM and Video Games & Computer Entertainment, plus a fair amount of GamePro in the early '90s. I also have a handful of old issues of Game Player's, Game Informer, and Commodore Magazine. In the late '90s I primarily stuck with Next Generation and some magazines dedicated to specific consoles.

Game Magazines albums: Facebook - Google Photos

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Star Wars: Jabba the Hutt Throne Room Model Kit

This is an "It's a Snap"model kit from MPC of Jabba's throne room as seen in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Users are meant to paint all of the characters and set up a scene from the movie though I've never painted them so they look like pieces of chocolate in the photos. There are quite a few pieces too but no rancor since that was located below the throne room. I'm unsure if it included any instructions as I don't have any. However, there isn't a whole lot to it and the image on the box displays how it should look when displayed. It's also quite tough to get the corner doorway to attach to the walls so I didn't push those pegs all the way in for fear of breaking them off.