Saturday, December 25, 2021

Year 5: December Update

It's Christmas today: Merry Christmas! I had hoped to get this month's update posted yesterday but I had a fever and couldn't get myself to do much. Lately I've mostly been playing Everybody's Golf and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The PlayStation 4 golf game is four years old and part of the Hot Shots Golf series. I did post about it in 2017 but recently got back into it. I've only had Animal Crossing a week and while there is more to it than the original on GameCube (the only one I played a lot of), it hasn't exactly changed too much. It seems like most of the fish are the same, there are still fossils to dig up and bugs to catch, all the same fruits, and Tom Nook needs to be paid back for more than one loan.

The video game awards took place earlier this month. I'm not interested in awards shows as it doesn't matter to me who wins but this show is more about trailers and unveiling new games than the awards. If you like Star Wars, Star Trek, and The Expanse sci-fi movies/shows, those all have adventure games in development. Some other announcements included a Sonic the Hedgehog "open-zone" game called Sonic Frontiers and a Wonder Woman game being developed by Monolith. There doesn't seem to be official screenshots for most of these yet so I grabbed some images from the Star Trek and Sonic trailers.

Something you may have noticed is I turned web ads back on (briefly tried them once before) but only a single one on the bottom of the sidebar so they shouldn't be obtrusive. My only concern is trying to keep off non-family friendly ads as I did notice an ad for an M-rated game appear. The reason I turned them on is that the blog is connected to my Adsense account as if it is the primary business linked and Google kept giving me warnings that I'd have to resubmit an application if I didn't have them on. If it was just this blog on the account that would be okay since it won't make any money, though I also have YouTube connected to the account and my Video Games 2020 channel does generate a little revenue. Basically, I wasn't sure if not turning on the ads here would somehow have a negative effect on the whole account so rather than risk it I turned them on.

Thanks for reading and happy holidays!


Sunday, December 19, 2021

[YouTube] The Smurfs Toys (1970s/80s)

Belgian Pierre "Peyo" Culliford created The Smurfs (Les Schtroumpfs) in 1958 for his Johann and Peewit comic strip. In 1959 The Smurfs received their own series and would later become quite popular in North America thanks to the cartoon that debuted on NBC in 1981 and aired more than 250 episodes over the course of eight seasons. The toy figurines from Schleich began production in 1969 and from what I can gather, new figures were only created through 1981 but must have been manufactured for longer to be sold in the U.S. Smurf toys returned in 1992 and have been produced every year since as The Smurfs franchise continues to thrive with new cartoons, movies, video games, etc.

I've got a variety of the standard figurines from the 1970s/80s that are typically about two inches tall. Many of the characters are performing some type of action or dressed in a unique way to indicate their role, such as a cowboy, superhero, or cook. A few are also riders/drivers of some sort and are supposed to be attached to a horse, car, or bicycle, though I've only been able to find horses in my collection. In the photos I included duplicates to show different angles of a few figures.

Not all of the characters are Smurfs either as there are a few humans and a cat but they are only slightly taller than the Smurfs when they should tower over them. Gargamel and his cat Azrael are the antagonists that are always causing trouble for Smurfs. Sadly, my Azrael hasn't made it through the decades unscathed as a family dog chewed on it, damaging the legs and tail. The Smurfs' friends Johann and Peewit also received the toy treatment.

There were a few accessories available at the time as well, of which I own the main house and a pack of items that included a bench, table, stools, and cart. There was also a small house with a green roof and a windmill, plus some smaller items like a wishing well, boat, and gate. Unfortunately, the house I have is a bit warped so I cannot get the door on and I broke the base when trying to bend it back into shape. I'm also missing the window item and a few small accessories from the aforementioned pack.

Of course, any popular cartoon in the early '80s received a multitude of branded products beyond plastic toys, such as books, stickers, school supplies, plush, board games, jigsaw puzzlesShrinky Dinks, Colorforms, and plenty of other items.

In the video I mentioned visiting the Facebook page's activity album for pages from the coloring book. You can still do that, however, I decided to post all of the same pages here too.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

TV Guide's Holiday Buyer's Guide (December 1989)

Like the previous post, we're going back to 1989 for this one. I've scanned a short article from the pages of TV Guide magazine that aimed to help parents shop for video games during the holiday season. The writer Howard Polskin grades a bunch of new games for a few platforms on a scale of "A" to "F" but never uses "F" and only rates two a "D." While ratings are always subjective, I'm surprised he gave Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) an "A" and Super Mario Land (Game Boy) a "C+." Also, referring to Dragon Warrior as a "maze game" is unusual. I suppose the exploration may feel like navigating one giant maze but Dragon Warrior is a role-playing title whereas something like Pac-Man is a maze game.