Random Youtube find:  in 1986, the city of Cleveland launched 1.5 MILLION balloons into the sky simultaneously, setting a world record.

You would NEVER see something like this happen today, as launching 1.5 million nonbiodegradable balloons into the atmosphere is so ridiculously terrible for the environment.  In fact, in various pictures of the event, you can actually see that hundreds of thousands of the balloons were deflated by stormy weather and landed in the lake (Lake Erie?) next to Cleveland.

So…yeah.  That’s not exactly good for the environment.  But the sheer spectacle of the event is truly amazing.  All of the balloons being released at the same time looks like a giant monster or creature slowly moving throughout downtown Cleveland.


Yo MTV Raps documentary

Cool documentary on Yo! MTV Raps.

Old Magazines: Gamefan, July 1995

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Another fantastic issue of Gamefan.  July 1995.  This one featured Nintendo’s ill-fated Virtual Boy on the cover.  This issue is also significant because it’s the first gaming magazine that featured Sony’s Playstation prominently.  The first one I’d ever seen, at least.  I’d barely heard anything on the Playstation before this issue, but there’s a HUGE write-up in this issue of the 1995 E3, at which Playstation was unveiled.

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To give you an idea of the point in time that we’re in, here are the Top 10 games of the moment (they’re all 16-bit games aside from one 3DO game and two—count ‘em, TWO—Jaguar games).  To the right are the top 10 most anticipated games.  Note that the Nintendo 64 was still being referred to as the Ultra 64 (LOVED that name, and really wish Nintendo would’ve kept it), and that Chrono Trigger wasn’t even out for the SNES yet.

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The review section.  This is earlier in Gamefan’s life, before they had a whole slew of reviewers.  The 16 bit game reviews this month are pretty piss poor, though that Batman and Robin game is significant in that it’s the final 16 bit game I ever bought (more on that later).

Apparently, the Saturn had just launched, because the second page of reviews is of the Saturn’s launch titles.  Never owned a Saturn so I can’t really comment on whether these reviews are accurate, though I did play Panzer Dragoon in Toys-backwards R-US a few times and really enjoyed it.  But it always bugged me that the game was called Panzer Dragoon, with two o’s, instead of the traditional spelling of dragon with one o.

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Page one of the E3 coverage.  Steven Spielberg and Michael Jackson in the house.

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First four pages of Playstation e3 coverage. The sheer breadth of awesome-looking Playstation games that were shown in this feature was incredibly impressive at the time.  All of these games pictured looked light years more advanced than anything that the Super NES or Genesis had.  Just an astronomical leap forward in terms of technology.

The original Twisted Metal is shown on page 3…still one of my favorite games ever.  ESPN Extreme is also shown—the first game I ever bought for my Playstation.  That was a really fun game.

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The final page of Playstation games, coupled with the first page of Jaguar games.  Pretty weak showing for the Jaguar.  Defender 2000 looks like the only intriguing game, but you had to buy the Jaguar CD add-on to play it.

And Christ Almighty, that Fight for Life game in the corner look like the worst fighting game ever.  Just did a search and found out that Fight for Life was the final game released for Jaguar.  Kind of interesting.

Here’s a youtube video I found of the gameplay.  Yep.  It was pretty bad.

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Nothing too spectacular on the second and third pages of the Jaguar coverage.  The VR headset is kind of cool, but it was never released.  No clue why Atari focused so much on releasing add-ons for the Jaguar core system (Jaguar CD, Jaguar VR) instead of focusing on games.  Apparently, only two working Jaguar VR prototypes are known to exist, and one just sold on ebay earlier this year for almost $15,000.

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The 3DO recap from e3.  Pretty weak sauce on 3DO’s part as well, though much better than the Jaguar’s showing.  I always thought that Captain Quazar game looked super cool, but never got a chance to play it.

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The two-page review of Batman and Robin.  As mentioned previously, this game was the final 16 bit game I ever bought, so it holds a special place in my heart.  This also may very well be the most-difficult game I’ve ever played.  This game was INSANELY hard, one of the few games I owned that I couldn’t beat no matter how many hours I devoted to playing it.

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The feature on the Virtual boy.  The VB lasted for all of a month before it just disappeared.  The Amiga CD practically had a longer shelf life than the Virtual Boy.

It’s kind of neat to re-read this article, and Nintendo does deserve props for at least trying something different.  I played a few of the VB games at a Sears one time and thought it was somewhat cool, but never had any desire to own one.

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Slam n Jam B-ball.  LOVED this game in the arcades.  Instead of having a license with the NBA, this game featured a whole league of made-up players and teams.  Off the top of my head, this is one of the last sports games I can remember that was successful without having a license with a pro sports league.

I played this thing constantly in the arcade.  The view was from behind the backboard, which was actually a pretty neat perspective, and the graphics were phenomenal for its time.

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Other Stuff.  Always my favorite feature in Gamefan.  It was full of various rumors and innuendo about upcoming games and systems, and even if %90 of the stuff reported on was most likely completely fabricated by the Gamefan editors, I still loved reading the rumors (the internet really hadn’t caught on just yet, so this was my only real pipeline into the video game gossip scene).

I don’t know what ever happened to that Robotech game featured on the right side of the page, but that looks incredibly cool.  Too bad it never saw the light of day.

This edition of Other Stuff covers a lot of rumors about the upcoming Ultra 64, including the somewhat interesting tidbit that the Super Nintendo version of Goldeneye has been canceled to focus on porting it to the Ultra 64 (that would’ve been nothing short of devastating if Goldeneye had come out for the Super Nintendo and not the 64).

Also of note is a top-secret, yet-to-be-announced game named EA Basketball Legends, in which you can play as players from previous eras (Dr. J, Larry Bird, etc), AND the game includes a feature that allows you to create your own dunks.  The obvious question is WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THIS GAME?!?!  You can play as old school players AND create your own dunks?  Sounds like a dream game.

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Yes, it’s this contest/scam yet again, which has been featured in this issue and this one, too.  You’ll notice that the next-gen systems aren’t yet featured in the contest this time, so the grand prize is significantly less appealing (winning a Jaguar, Sega CD, and 32x just doesn’t have the same WOW factor as winning a Playstation, Saturn, and a Nintendo 64).  It would suck to actually win this contest at this moment in time and get stuck with all of these old, shitty systems, when you could have won all the next-gen hardware had you won the contest only a few months later.

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A random ad of a company offering import games from Japan.  It’s crazy that import Super Nintendo games sold for upwards of $130 and import anime VHS tapes (in the upper right corner) were going for almost $200 (!).

All in all, this one’s a pretty good issue of Gamefan.

Old Magazines: Electronic Gaming Monthly, 1995 Buyer’s Guide

Sometime during the first few months of every year, Electronic Gaming Monthly would release a buying guide for the year that had passed.  These issues basically took every game review that EGM had published during the previous year and accumulated them in one issue.   They’d also give out a few end-of-year awards and run some features on the most-popular games of the year.  All in all, the buying guide issues were great summaries of the year in gaming that had passed.

I was able to uncover my 1995 and 1997 versions of these issues (I know that I have more issues somewhere, and one day I will find them).   But the two issues I was able to find are really great, and it’s pretty interesting to see how greatly the video game landscape changed in the two short years between 1995 and 1997.

First up, we’ll look at the 1995 issue, then the 1997 one.  Note:  The 1995 issue covers games released in 1994, and the 1997 one covers all games released in 1996.

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There’s the cover.  As you can tell from the games pictured, this issue is almost entirely focused on 16 bit.  The major 32 bit systems hadn’t yet been released, so this issue was from the last true year of the dominance of the Genesis and Super Nintendo.

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The first two pages of the game of the year awards.  Donkey Kong Country was awarded both Game of the Year and Super Nintendo Game of the Year.  Earthworm Jim won Genesis Game of the Year, a choice I have no problem with whatsoever (I absolutely loved that game).

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A list of the games of the year for the major systems at the time, and the games of the year in a few popular genres.  I love how there’s actually an award for Sega CD Game of the Year AND an award for the CD-I Game of the Year.  I’m sure all three people who owned those systems were on the edge of their seat waiting to hear what games walked away with those crowns.

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More award winners, accompanied by a full-page ad for Beavis and Butthead the video game.

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The final page of awards.  I’m pretty sure the 3DO, the Jaguar, and the Phillips Cd-I all launched in 1994, so it’s saying something that the Jaguar beat out the other two for the Worst System Launch award.  I would’ve probably gone with the 3DO as the worst system launch.  It had much better games than the Jaguar, but the people at Panasonic had to be delusional to think that people would spend $700 on that system at launch.

Also, I love the final line in the little write-up under the picture of the Jaguar:  “It was a slow start, but the Jaguar is roaring now!”  Um, ok.  Sure, EGM.  Whatever you say.

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Reviews of all of the current systems by the four Review Crew members.  The Super NES walks off with the win, while the Sega 32X and Neo Geo CD pull off the upset by tying for second place.

I have no idea who “Danyon” is, but I think the guy is crazy.  He gave the 3DO a 9 and the CD-I an 8.

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Here are more system reviews, and the reviews on this page raise a single question in my mind:  What in the HELL is the Laseractive?!?  Is this a real thing?  Video games were basically my life at the time that this issue came out, and I have never heard of a Laseractive.  According to the Wikipedia entry for the machine, it was a system that cost $980 and played games on laserdisc.

So, actually, that’s kind of cool.  Laserdiscs rule.

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The final page of system reviews, and these reviews beg another, similar question:  What in the HELL is an Amiga CD?!?  I haven’t heard of this system, either.

Some digging around on the internet reveals it to be a system that was released abroad in Europe and Japan but never made it to US soil due to how poorly it performed.  This is a pretty hilarious review of the game packaged with the system.  The best part?  The review absolutely roasts the game, and the review was written for the OFFICIAL AMIGA MAGAZINE.  The first sign that your system sucks is when the official magazine dedicated to promoting how great your system is can’t even fake a positive review.

Also, you know that this is an old ass magazine when the freaking original NES is featured in the system reviews section.  Low marks for the NES, unfortunately.  It even lost out to the Amiga CD.

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A comprehensive list of what scores practically every game for the major systems received from the Review Crew.  I took a highlighter to all of the better reviewed Genesis games for some reason.

Sadly, no Amiga CD games are reviewed in these pages.  I’m sure “Danyon” would’ve given them all 10s, though.

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Special feature on the arcade version of Primal Rage.  Anything involving dinosaurs is cool in my book (particularly when the dinosaurs have grenade launchers strapped to their back), but a fighting game featuring a bunch of giant dinosaurs really is one of the better ideas ever.  The game was pretty successful, and even spawned a sequel that was never released (in which you could fight as either giant humans or giant dinosaurs (!!!)).  But I feel like Primal Rage should’ve been so much more, like a series that’s still having games released for it today.  Is there any way that an Xbox 360 version of Primal Rage wouldn’t be absolutely incredible?  Super-realistic, 3D dinosaurs fighting each other to the bloody death?  Sign me up.

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One of the finest games of the 16 bit era:  Pitfall.  It’s a remake of the 2600 game (which in turn was one of the finest games that system had).  This game had a ton of secrets and hidden passages and it was a true blast to play.

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NBA Jam.  Legendary.  I was able to name 49 out of the 54 players featured in the game (their grainy pictures are on the right).

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The back cover of the issue is a cool ad for a WWF Raw game.

And that’s it.

Old Magazines: Electronic Gaming Monthly, 1997 Buyer’s Guide

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Just two short years after the 1995 issue of EGM’s year-end Buyer’s Guide was released, the 1997 issue came out.  A LOT changed in those two years.  Whereas the 1995 issue was entirely focused on 16-bit systems, this issue is largely devoted to the 32 bit and 64 bit systems.  With good reason, too—the N64 had just been released, the Saturn hadn’t died off quite yet and was still getting a steady stream of quality games released for it, and the Playstation had an incredible year with a whole slew of awesome games released for it (Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Twisted Metal 2).


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This issue opens up with a really sweet print ad for the original Resident Evil.  That game was SO hyped, and was one of the few games that lived up to the expectations.  A truly incredible, revolutionary game at the time.


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A variety of hokey awards were given out.  Interesting to note that the 3DO was pretty hyped up in the 1995 Buyer’s Guide (even receiving an overall score of 9/10 from one reviewer), and all but declared obsolete by the 1997 issue.  The Playstation basically murdered the 3DO upon release.


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Each major system is reviewed in a full-page spread, accompanied by a picture of someone who works at the magazine superimposed over that system.  Some of them are pretty cheesy.


First up is the brand-new Nintendo 64 machine, which gets stellar reviews despite having been out for only a few months when this issue came out.


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The Playstation.  In barely a year, a ton of killer games were released for it, many of which are shown at the bottom of these pages.


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The Saturn.  The machine hadn’t quite been killed off yet but the Playstation had started to distance itself from the Saturn.  The reviews didn’t blast the machine but they weren’t overly kind, either.


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Reviews of Portable Gaming Systems.  The Virtual Boy with horrendous reviews.


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The Super NES with strong marks.  Surprising that Donkey Kong Country didn’t make the top 10 games list.  I would’ve also had the Contra game higher because I absolutely LOVED that game.  I also would’ve had the Zelda game on here.


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The Saturn had been out for two years and the Genesis was basically dead by this point, and these reviews reflect that.  Also, Howard Grossman looks like the coolest person alive.


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Reviews of a whole bunch of various accessories and controllers for the Saturn and Playstation.


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Lists of the top 10 reviewed games for each system in the previous year.  Surprising that Tomb Raider didn’t make the Playstation list (seeing that Gamefan named Tomb Raider game of the year for this very year).  Can’t really argue with any of the games on the Playstation list, though.  It’s nice to see X-Com UFO Defense getting some love!  Of all the games I owned, I probably devoted more time to X-Com than any other game.  Such a fantastic, underappreciated game.


Also, eight of the top ten Sports games are Playstation games.  That’s the real reason the Playstation won out over the Saturn and N64, in my opinion…so many fantastic sports games, between the EA Sports line and the ones that Sony themselves came out with.


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Once again, this awesome contest/scam is featured in an ad in the back of a gaming magazine.  I’d still give anything to win this.

Old Magazines: Eastbay Mid-1994 (I think)

If you wanted any sort of sporting paraphernalia in the pre-Internet age, you were basically stuck with whatever was in stock at your local mall.  Being that I grew up in a small town in Iowa, my options were extremely limited.  For this reason, my friends and I absolutely LOVED Eastbay magazine.


It was a bi-monthly catalogue that was usually around 200 pages in length, chock-full of pages and pages of every sporting accessory and clothing item you could ever want.  Eastbay was nothing short of the Holy Grail for my friends and I, and whenever a new issue was released, we’d devote hours upon hours to scouring through the pages to find the latest in sports fashion and accessories.


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I uncovered this gem in my parents’ home the last time I visited, and had WAY too much fun flipping through the pages.  There isn’t a year or month on the cover of the issue, but it does feature Reebok’s third generation of Shaq shoes, so I’m gonna guess this is from around 1994 sometime.


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Unfortunately, the scanner cut off part of these pictures, so you can’t see the full two page spread.  But what we have here is the beginning of the basketball shoes section, headed up by a variety of Champion-brand shoes.  I don’t think anyone under the age of 50 ever owned a pair of Champion shoes…and for that matter, few people over the age of 50 did, either.  With good reason, too—these shoes are ugly as hell.


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Next up are the Nike basketball shoes.  VERY weak ass selection of Nike shoes.  The one knock against Eastbay was that they rarely carried Nike’s best styles of shoes.  I don’t know if Foot Locker and the other retail stores had some sort of exclusive on those, but it was pretty rare to find the high-end Nike basketball shoes in the pages of Eastbay. Although I do think those yellow Force ones are kinda cool.


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Converse and Reebok basketball shoes are up next.  Pretty weak sauce here, too, though neither company was ever really known for making good basketball shoes.  The Larry Johnson Converse shoes (easily Converse’s best line) are on the far left, but unfortunately the picture got cut off.


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Here we have an entire line of Patrick Ewing-brand shoes.  I knew that Ewing had his own brand of shoes, but I never knew there were so many different designs.  I always thought there was just a white pair and a black pair, but as you can see in this picture, there were not only a variety of colors, but also a variety of different designs and models.


I honestly wonder how much Ewing made by releasing his own line of shoe.  Did having his own line earn him more or less than he would’ve made had he just signed a $3 million a year deal with Nike?  I can’t imagine these shoes sold too well, as I not only knew exactly zero people who owned a pair, but can’t ever recall so much as seeing a random person wearing a pair during a basketball game or on the street.


On the second half of this page are a few Fila shoes.  I believe this catalogue was released right before Fila signed Grant Hill and the brand kinda-sorta blew up for a few years.


Also on the Fila page are a pair of British Knights basketball shoes.  Yes!  I wonder if this pair in the picture is the pair that they’d always give away on Double Dare.


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The various pages of Eastbay were littered with t-shirts that had “motivational” and “funny” sayings on them in funky typing.  The quotes are necessary in the previous sentence, because most of the sayings were just cheesier than all hell.


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A whole page of Dr. Marten boots, which were the height of fashion at the time.


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This is the fashion section of Eastbay.  It’s a little terrifying to think that people used to dress this way and think it looked good.


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Boom.  Here we go.  Starting to get into the really good stuff.  Here we have a few pages of Starter Jackets.  The first pic is interesting because the guys in picture E are wearing Starter-branded half-zip Starter jackets.  No team logo or name on the pouch.  Just the word Starter.  That’s honestly about as awesome as it gets.  If I was ever walking down the street and saw a guy wearing a Starter-branded Starter jacket, I’d walk up and shake his hand.  Then offer him a million dollars for his coat, and once he sold it to me, I would proceed to take over the world due to the sheer awesomeness of my Starter-branded Starter jacket (which I would wear every day of my life, even in the summer).


The second page is of the pro-sporting-team-affiliated Starter jackets that basically ever kid in the USA owned at the time.  The half-zip jacket with the name of a team embroidered on the front pouch and the team’s logo on the back.  An iconic artifact from the 90s.


I personally preferred Pro Player’s jackets to Starter’s, and I owned a Golden State Warriors version of that Yankees one in the left corner.  Still probably the greatest Christmas present I’ve ever received from my parents.  My face practically melted off from excitement when I unwrapped that thing on Xmas morn.


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For some reason, there is an abundance of Looney Tunes sportswear throughout the pages of Eastbay, and it’s all absolutely hideous.  The highlight of this page is the guy in picture D, who appears to have an unhealthy obsession with the Tazmanian Devil.  According to the description for the shorts he’s wearing, they’re actually Tazmanian Devil boxer shorts, but the guy in the picture has what appears to be a backpack slung over his shoulder, as if he’s walking to class.  So I’m confused.  Regardless of if they’re boxer short or regular shorts, they’re horrible, particularly when you pair your Tazmanian Devil shorts with a Tazmanian Devil t-shirt, as the individual in this picture has opted to do.


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Here are some dreadful pants and shorts branded with various pro and college team logos.  In the lower right are some comic-book-style t-shirts for individual players.  I always liked these shirts (I owned the Alonzo Mourning one), but seem to remember there being far, far more versions of the shirt than the eight that they have listed.


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More hideous shirts.  Jesus, the ones pictures in ‘C’ on the left side are just awful.  Also, on the right side, there’s more fucking Looney Tunes stuff.  Bastards.


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The replica player jerseys!  These collections are always fun to go through.  Also, these jerseys are accompanied by a picture of a guy with possibly the worst form on a jumpshot that I’ve ever seen (the guy in C, the one in the Syracuse jersey).


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And we end with even more ugly ass clothing.  The guy on the left side in picture E takes the cake here.  That hurts my eyes just looking at that.


In a perfect world, Eastbay would still have some gigantic warehouse that’s overflowing with all of these old styles of clothing, just a huge collection of whatever didn’t sell back in the day.  And in an even more perfect world, they would start reselling all of this stuff for a fraction of what it’s listed for in this issue of their catalogue.  If that happened, I’d probably empty out my bank account loading up on stuff.

Old Magazines: Inside Sports, December 1993

Here’s another gem from my old magazine collection:  The December 1993 issue of Inside Sports.  Cover story:  What’s Hot and What’s Not in the NBA.


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The first ad you see upon opening the magazine is this:


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An ad for a replica Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl ring.  Cost:  $138.


I find this to be incredibly cool.  I have no clue if they still release replica rings for sports championships, but if they don’t, they should.  $138 might seem like a bit of a steep price to pay for something that’s a knock off, but I feel like you could have tremendous amounts of fun with a replica Super Bowl ring.  You could wear it out to the bar and try to pick up women with it, give it to a friend for his birthday and try to convince him that it’s authentic, maybe even convince some clueless pawn shop owner that’s it’s authentic and sell it to him for thousands.


I feel like a fake Super Bowl ring could be the focus of a really funny Youtube series.  Just set the thing on the sidewalk of some busy street, and secretly film people’s reactions as they they’re walking by and see a freaking Super Bowl ring just sitting on the sidewalk.  I really think that would be a riot.


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This is where the cover story article begins, and it’s an utterly fantastic article (and pretty hilarious in retrospect).  The writer of the article basically comes up with a HOT list and a NOT list, and categorizes various players, teams, and other NBA-related things into one of the two lists.  Some of them are dead on—Alonzo Mourning, Larry Johnson, and Shawn Kemp were definitely HOT at the time—while they swung and missed on a few of the selections for the HOT list, such as Derrick Coleman (?), Bryant Stith (????), and Shawn Bradley (??????!!!!!!??????).  Too funny.


Basically, the NOT list is comprised of anyone who’s been in the league longer than seven years:  Karl Malone, James Worthy, Isaiah, and a whole bunch of other players who peaked in the 80s.


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A continuation of the cover story, with two sidebar features on the top 10 most overrated and top 10 most underrated players in the league.  I disagree vehemently with the inclusion of Kevin Johnson and Rik Smits in the most overrated category.  KJ, especially—this issue came out the year after the Suns stormed through the regular season and made the Finals, and he was a huge part of that.


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Even more from the same article.  In the sidebar, the writer lists out his Top 10 Ways to Improve the NBA, and it’s interesting to note that over %50 of his suggestions on how to improve the NBA have since been implemented.


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The Burning Questions in the NBA, written by Doug Collins.  Also of note is the sidebar listing the Top 10 Players to Watch for the upcoming season.  Nailed the Terrell Brandon choice.  Some of the others, not so much.


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A college basketball edition of the same HOT/NOT NBA article from earlier.  If you look closely, you’ll see that the very first two names under the HOT list are Yinka Dare and Othella Harrington.  In other words, the writer of this article just lost all credibility.


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Page 2 of the HOT/NOT college article.


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Towards the back of the magazine, there was this ad for a bunch of random posters.  I include this because in the upper right hand corner, there’s a poster with the line ‘The Neid for Speed’ and a picture of a Colorado Rockies pitcher throwing a baseball.  After looking at the listing for this poster, I found out that the player pictured is named David Neid.


Now…I follow sports closely (and followed them even more closely back in 93, when this issue came out), and I have no idea who in the HELL David Neid is.  Does this person actually exist?  If so, why does he get his own poster?  More importantly, why is it prominently featured alongside guys like Shaq and Steve Young and Mario Lemieux?


A quick google search reveals that, yes, David Neid does exist, though he never had much of a career.  He is, however, engaged to a former contestant from The Bachelor, so I guess that’s cool.

Old Magazines: Gamefan February 1997

My old bedroom in my parents’ house is treasure trove of magazines I subscribed to while growing up.  There are stacks upon stacks of video game, sports, and movie magazines.  I’ve decided to upload some pages from a few of my favorites.

First up, the February 1997 issue of Gamefan Magazine:

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Growing up, Gamefan was my favorite magazine, and this is one of the best issues I own.  It’s a great issue because it’s from the perfect point in time–February 1997.  The Playstation and Saturn had both been out for well over a year–the Saturn was on its last legs but was still getting a few quality good games, and the Playstation was just starting to come into its own with some killer games coming out for it.  The N64 was the new system on the block, but had still been out for almost six months, and a second wave of games was already being released for it (such as that little game featured on the cover of this issue).  So yeah–early 1997 was a simply awesome time for home gaming, and this issue came out right in the heart of that.

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Every issue of Gamefan opened up with their review section.  This one, in particular, is one of the better ones I’ve ever seen.  There were four games with better cumulative review marks than Mario Kart 64 (Rage Racer, Command and Conquer, and Soul Blade for the PS, and Christmas Knights for the Saturn all got higher marks).  You know that the market’s being flooded with good games when a game like Mario Kart 64—which, arguably, holds up better than any game, regardless of system, from that era—is the fifth-best reviewed game of the month.

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This issue also contains the annual awards given out for the 1996 games of the year.  There was a heated battle between Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, and Mario 64 for game of the year.  Most every category had at least one truly awesome game up for the award, and many had multiple fantastic titles vying for the crown.

I was surprised to see Virtua Fighter 2 win 16-bit game of the year, as I had no idea that game actually game out for the Genesis.

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The year in review written by each one of the editors at Gamefan.  If you don’t want to read each review, they can be summarized thusly:  The Playstation started to truly kick ass in 1996.  The N64 is awesome but needs more games.  The 16-bit era is over and that is sad.

The Gamefan reviewers always spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about the great Japan games that were never released in the States, and most of them devote a few lines to bemoaning some weird Japanese game that never made it stateside.

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A two-page review of ReLoaded.  This series still gets my vote as the most messed-up games of all-time.  The two games in the series were two of the more bloody and violent games of the time, but the characters in the game were what made the game truly messed up.  There was a cyborg nun who murders everyone she encounters, a cross-dressing psychopath (who, naturally, wears a one-piece women’s bathing suit and is armed with two uzis), and a whole slew of other really bizarre characters.  And the thing about it is…these are the good guys, the players you control, the ones you’re rooting for.  They’re trying to escape from some intergalactic mental institution, and you control them as they basically kill everything in their path. Messed-up game, though at the time I loved it.

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The review for Mario Kart 64.  It’s a surprisingly somewhat-negative review.  It’s weird that it doesn’t get very high marks, considering how popular it was (and still is).

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One of my favorite parts about Gamefan was how the final ten or so pages of every issue was devoted to ads for various resellers of games.  Online retailers were still in their infancy, meaning that your only real way of buying games was through your local Best Buy or other gaming store (Babbages was my go-to), or ordering games via phone through retailers like these.

A lot of these resellers had a very strong emphasis on import games, and it always surprised me just how much the import game cost.

The one in yellow is a listing of what this company will pay for used games, and what they’re selling used copies of games for.  Sort of a precursor to Gamestop’s used games section.

gf mario cart 10

This ad was in the back of every issue of Gamefan.  It’s a contest (some might call it a scam) that you could enter to potentially win the greatest video game set-up of all-time.  All you had to do was complete the world’s easiest word puzzle in the corner, send the completed puzzle along with $5 in to some company in Minnesota, and you theoretically could win this entire set-up.

At the time, I spent hours upon hours fantasizing about winning this contest.  Hell, I’d love to win all of this stuff NOW, in 2013, though I’d have little use for that computer (I probably just drop it off a building, watch it shatter into a million pieces, and upload the video to youtube).  And that entertainment center…yikes.  That thing would take up 3/4 of my living room.

But the systems!  I’d totally want those.  The part that always really excited me about this contest was in the fine print, where it says that you also receive $1,000 worth of credit towards any games of your choice.  So, basically, any game for any one of those systems that you’ve ever had a remote interest in playing, you could own.  Sign me up.

3DO – Way of the Warrior

When I was younger, I was THIS close to convincing my parents to shell out $700 for a brand-new Panasonic 3DO system.  I put on an epic sell-job, agreeing to mow the lawn every week for the entire summer, shovel the sidewalks and driveway during the winter, and forego all other presents for both my birthday and Christmas that year.  A 3DO was literally ALL I wanted, and one of the main reasons was Way of the Warrior.

I remember when I saw this game the first time in a magazine ad, I was blown away.  The Mortal Kombat franchise was on fire at the time, but Playstation hadn’t yet come out, so the home ports for the game were inferior to the arcade version.  It amazed me that a game that looked as good as Way of the Warrior was available for a home console, and I wanted it SO badly.  I thank God that my parents never caved in and purchased me a 3DO, because that thing would have been a $700 paperweight about six months after I purchased it when the original Playstation came out and trounced the competition.

Looking at the game now, the game looks like garbage and the fatalities all seem like rip-offs of Mortal Kombat.  This video of the fatality compilation is somewhat enjoyable, though, simply because it’s so ludicrous and terrible.

First Price is Right episode and the birth of Cookie Monster

Video of the first Price is Right episode with Bob Barker as the host.  From 1972.

It’s always neat to see how various popular shows changed during the duration that they were on the air, but the one striking thing about this video is how similar this episode is to the episodes that air today.  It’s been forty years, but the general format of the show is identical, the layout of the set is virtually the same (with a slight, slight change to the color scheme), and there’s really no difference at all.  Pretty remarkable.

The biggest difference is that the crowd is much more subdued than the crowd on today’s version.  At the start of the episode, when the PA guy is announcing the names of those who’ve been selected, there’s no clapping or cheering, and even the people who get selected to appear on contestant’s row show little emotion, which is a stark contrast to today’s version of TPIR.  .  Plus, no-one dressed up in the wacky, attention-grabbing outfits that they do today–everyone in this video is dressed professionally, like they just stopped by during their lunch hour at work.

RANDOM FACT FROM THIS VIDEO:  So at 20:15, there’s a commercial for a potato chip named Munchos.  I found this to be a hilarious name for a potato chip for some reason, so I did some googling and found out that Munchos actually still exist.  Even better, I found out a random bit of information:  the very first Munchos commercials were directed and created by Jim Henson, and feature a blue puppet with a gravelly voice who’s addicted to eating Munchos.  After doing these Munchos commercials, Jim Henson got involved with The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, took the exact puppet from the Munchos commercials, and made him addicted to cookies instead of Munchos.  And thus, COOKIE MONSTER was born.  What a cool, random bit of information.  Here’s a commercial with Arnold (the name of the puppet addicted to Munchos).  Not only does he look like Cookie Monster, but he has the exact same voice as Cookie Monster.

Not gonna lie, it’s kinda freaky to see him eating something other than cookies.