Saturday, August 26, 2023

German Game Magazines - October 2002

This post is a little different than the usual since it features magazines I cannot read and are beyond the year 2000 cut off I use for most of my magazine coverage. However, I was trying to think of a games magazine post I could tie into current events and this week the Gamescom video game convention kicked off in Cologne, Germany, and I just happen to own a couple game magazines from Germany. I've been following the news and have watched some video coverage, as well as took part in the Xbox Fanfest trivia contest in which I did quite poorly. I've not noticed any huge game announcements at the show as most of what I've seen is more detailed looks at upcoming games we were already aware of, release date changes, and interviews. 

Getting back to the magazines, my father had a business trip to Germany in October 2002 and asked if I wanted anything so I said how about some video game magazines. He picked up Germany's version of GamePro and one simply titled PC Games. I do not know any German and hope I'm not posting any adult language here but I thought it would be fun to take a brief look at the two magazines anyway, though primarily just at some of the ads. The ads can vary completely from those found in the U.S. or they can be nearly identical. I did also scan a few pages from the review sections of each issue. When seeing the magazines in person one thing that is immediately apparent is that they are taller than U.S. magazines. Both are approximately 11.75" long and 8.25" wide while a U.S. issue of GamePro is 10.75" tall and 8.5" wide. The spines are very tight which did lead to the edge of some ads being blurred or cut off slightly. 

This magazine includes a DVD I never attempted to watch. From what I can gather there are no demos, just news, previews, trailers, and some bonus materials, like footage from an Xbox event and something to do with Nintendo. For this one I scanned the page featuring the review staff and three pages of reviews. Some of the magazine's reviews are up to four pages but I stuck with the shorter ones. A few notes about the ads: Pro Tennis: WTA Tour is known as WTA Tour Tennis in the U.S., Shadow of Memories is known as Shadow of Destiny in the U.S., and the TimeSplitters 2 ad is six pages that I am posting in two parts (first two open to reveal a four-page spread).

PC Games
This magazine comes with a CD containing demos, videos, and even game patches. It doesn't put the review staff on one page, instead it has a small photo of the writer with the review. The reviews are also divided by genre with the genre page featuring a short interview and a top 10 chart. I only scanned two genre pages and one review here. You can probably assume from the ads (and the covers of both magazines) that first-person shooter and real-time strategy were among the two most popular types of PC games at the time. Aside from games, this magazine has a bunch of Internet service and hardware ads too. In both issues I did not scan every ad as I avoided M-rated games and some less interesting ones.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

[YouTube] Play-Doh: Cowboy & Strawberry Shortcake Sets

Play-Doh is one of those toys that just about everyone knows of and has likely played with at least once as a kid and maybe as an adult too. I'm going to quickly summarize its history from an article you can find here: Smithsonian Magazine. It began life as wallpaper cleaner from Kutol Products, a Cincinnati-based company founded in 1912. During the '50s Kutol began struggling financially as the need to clean wallpaper declined thanks to oil, gas, and electricity replacing coal as a heating source in homes. That led to the idea of turning the wallpaper cleaner -- that some had already been using for crafts projects -- into a children's toy. As a subsidiary of Kutol, the Rainbow Crafts Company began selling Play-Doh in either 1955 (according to Kenner) or 1956 (according to the Smithsonian article). General Mills purchased Rainbow Crafts Company in 1965 and later merged it into Kenner which it acquired in 1967. After Kenner changed hands a couple more times, Play-Doh became a Hasbro property and still is today.

Although I believe I did own a Fun Factory and some other Play-Doh toys at one time, all I have remaining is my sister's Strawberry Shortcake set from 1982 and the Cowboy Set that was first sold in 1975 I believe. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have the Cowboy Set's mat any longer. I did find another mat though I'm not sure if it was part of a set; I'd guess it was simply sold with cans of Play-Doh. The yellow tool has multiple names, sometimes the packaging refers to it as a trimmer and other times it says trim knife, and the wooden cylinder is a roller. Play-Doh sets have featured a variety of licenses in addition to Strawberry Shortcake, such as Star Wars, M.A.S.K., Care Bears, Sesame Street, The Flintstones, and the Real Ghostbusters. As you can see on the items I'm showing, there was a blond boy featured on most Play-Doh products. He became the mascot in 1960 and was known as Play-Doh Pete but Hasbro phased him out in the early 2000s. 

1981 Cannister

1984 Cannisters

Cowboy Set
This set included three cans of PlayDoh, six molds, a wagon, trimmer, roller, and 14" x 20" mat. The molds can be used to create three people, a horse, fence, hat, and cactus.

Strawberry Shortcake Play Set
This set included three cans of Play-Doh, two molds, a trim knife, mat, and what Kenner calls a vehicle. Kenner did produce another Strawberry Shortcake set before this one that has a lady bug vehicle instead of a butterfly and a strawberry scented mat. Strawberry Shortcake herself must have been a mold in the first set but also appears to be one of the characters here. I think the others are Lemon Meringue, Apricot, Hopsalot, and The Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak.

Some old creations from the '80s that are now hard and discolored.

1976 Booklet Piece

1987 Booklet