Saturday, March 18, 2023

Tetris-Related Ads

As noted in the first of three Tetris posts this week on Sunday, the Tetris film was debuting at a film festival this past Wednesday. This one is a compilation of ads, some of which I've already posted on the blog in the past under the publisher ad posts for Bullet-Proof Software, Nintendo, Spectrum Holobyte, and Tengen. They can also be found in said publishers' ad albums on Facebook and Google Photos, though one Game Boy ad below hasn't made it up anywhere else yet as it's a more recent acquisition that I need to add in a backfilling post. I'd assume not everyone visits the Facebook or Google sites though and because I wanted to have three Tetris posts this week, I'm putting all the ads from the various publishers I currently have that relate to Tetris, its sequels, and other puzzle games by Alexey Pajitnov all in one place. Some of the ads are for multiple games but if one of the Tetris games appears in it then I'm including it.

Bullet-Proof Software



Spectrum Holobyte



Wednesday, March 15, 2023

GamePro Special Feature: Bullet-Proof Software

As mentioned in the first Tetris-related post this week on Sunday, here is the brief GamePro article about Bullet-Proof Software (BPS). BPS is the publisher founded by Henk Rogers, the man who helped bring Tetris to everyone outside of the Soviet Union. The article is from GamePro's December 1990 issue and there are only a few paragraphs about the company itself. It also includes coverage of the Game Boy versions of Pipe Dream, which is a port of Lucasfilm Games' computer game, and Hatris.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

VG&CE: Alexey Pajitnov Interview and Game Reviews

A Tetris movie is going to be shown on Wednesday at the SXSW Film Festival and debut on Apple TV+ at the end of the month. It's actually more about Henk Rogers than Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov. Rogers, who founded Japan-based Bullet-Proof Software in 1983, traveled to the Soviet Union in 1988 and helped bring Tetris to the world. However, this post is primarily about Mr. Pajitnov. It features an interview with Alexey Pajitnov from Video Games & Computer Entertainment (VG&CE) magazine, along with the magazine's reviews of Tengen's NES Tetris, and the computer versions of its follow-ups, Welltris and Faces. In the past I've played the original Tetris (Commodore 64) and Tetris Effect (PlayStation 4) on the blog's YouTube channel, and I also own the Game Boy version and have tried a variety of Tetris releases but I never did play Pajitnov's other puzzle games. I'll add a couple similar posts during the week, one with a brief article about Bullet-Proof Software from GamePro and I'll put all the Tetris and related game ads I have into one post. The Tetris review is from the July 1989 issue, Welltris is March 1990, and the interview and Faces review are from November 1990.


Saturday, February 25, 2023

A Question of Control (Video Games & Computer Entertainment - August 1989)

Here's an article from Video Games & Computer Entertainment all about game controllers in 1989. Back then there were a large variety of of joysticks being released, especially for home computers. Today most games play best with a gamepad and PC gamers can be found using the latest PC compatible Xbox and PlayStation gamepads. There are a lot less third-party controller manufacturers these days too, resulting in the most popular gamepads being from Microsoft and Sony. The one drawback of this article is that it does not have enough photographs. More than 20 companies/controllers are mentioned but only six images are included. I've used a few of these and that first image of a joystick from Wico is one of them. While I didn't own any Wico products, my neighbor had some for his Commodore 64 (C64). I did own a couple wireless Freedom Sticks from Camerica for my C64 but I think they both broke from the rapid back-and-forth movements needed to run fast in Epyx sports titles.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Kenner's Starting Lineup (White's Guide to Collecting Figures - November 1996)

This is a rather late post that sort of ties into the Super Bowl that airs in a few hours. I couldn't come up with anything else and I didn't have time to play a football video game for the YouTube channel so I scanned a couple magazine articles from White's Guide to Collecting Figures about Kenner's Starting Lineup toys. I'm not sure if I'd call Starting Lineup toys action figures since they aren't very poseable; they are simply mini plastic statues with moveable arms and heads. They launched in 1988 and I collected them for a while, maybe even a decade, though I did open them for a couple years. As the second article below mentions, they were a hot collectible back then, selling for double or more than the MSRP on the secondary market initially, but I don't think they do today. I've not looked too deeply into the current market so perhaps there are still some standout pieces, however, I believe most sell in the $5-10 range which is what they would have been priced at 30 years ago. Trading cards were included with the toys and at least one year they came with coins too. Previously I mentioned the figures and have a photo of a few baseball athletes in the Starting Lineup Talking Baseball post.

The first article is about the 1996 football series that focuses on the players appearing for the first time in "action figure" form. Some of those first-timers didn't succeed in the NFL, some had decent careers, and Isaac Bruce was the most successful of the bunch.

That was my weak tie-in to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, there aren't any Chiefs or Eagles mentioned and it's not the most interesting of articles so I also scanned "Starting Lineup's Greatest Moments" in the same issue where the magazine details the top ten most significant happenings for the toy line up to that point. Joe Montana in his Kansas City Chiefs uniform does make an appearance. That was a convention piece which I don't have as I never attended conventions. The 9th entry is about the collector's club that I did join for a few years. I also remember the Grant Fuhr figure being a big deal but cannot recall if I have one or not. 

I'm planning on watching the Super Bowl and have made a few predictions on the blog in the past in other toy and video game Super Bowl-related posts. I'm usually wrong though and I'm not a fan of either team but here is a guess: Chiefs 38-34.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Phantasy Star Series Reviews

Below are scans of magazine reviews and one preview covering the first four games in the Phantasy Star series. However, most of the coverage is of parts two and three as I've only got one review for the first game and one for the fourth. It's a significant series for Sega and the early days of Japanese role playing games (JRPG), specifically the first one that features a female protagonist. Phantasy Star is often overshadowed by similar games from the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest (Dragon Warrior) series that appeared on the more popular Nintendo consoles.

Personally, I've only completed Phantasy Star II which I did a couple times in the early '90s. On the Master System I never had Phantasy Star because it released around the same time as Miracle Warriors, another Sega RPG that I got instead. While I also own Phantasy Star III on the Genesis, I never completed it and the fourth game released during my college days when I wasn't spending much time or money on video games. There were a couple of Game Gear Phantasy Star games too but those only released in Japan and one was not a RPG like the others: Phantasy Star Gaiden and Phantasy Star Adventure. After Phantasy Star IV Sega moved away from the single-player only format to Phantasy Star Online during the Dreamcast era.

Some of the reviews had to be edited to fit on one image. Video Games & Computer Entertainment's reviews can sometimes be split between multiple pages and with Electronic Gaming Monthly I like to line up the "Review Crew" next to the review (otherwise it only appears at the start of the magazine's review section). I'm also adding a video on the YouTube channel this week that looks at the Phantasy Star II package and the opening as well as the ending of the game. 

Phantasy Star

Phantasy Star II

Phantasy Star III

Phantasy Star IV