Archive for nostalgia

Nerd Lunch Episode 194: Star Wars The Phantom Menace Drilldown

Posted in nostalgia, podcast, pop culture, Star Wars with tags , , , , on September 1, 2015 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

This week on Nerd Lunch we welcome back our Star Wars expert panelists Michael May and Geek Kay in order to begin discussing the Star Wars prequels. And we are starting, appropriately so, with The Phantom Menace.

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We talk a bit about the lead up to Episode I, the first trailer in November 1998, Star Wars Celebration I in Denver in May 1999 as well as our thoughts watching the movie for the first time. We then go all over the place talking about things we liked and didn’t like with this movie. There’s some of each, folks, this isn’t just a hate fest on the movie.  Download this episode and join the discussion!

Download this episode from iTunes, Stitcher or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online right here.

Walking through The Fun Hub arcade from Ping Pong Summer

Posted in movies, nostalgia, pop culture, video games with tags , , , , , on July 22, 2015 by Paxton

Cavalcade Arcade

Back in June the Cult Film Club watched a movie from last year called Ping Pong Summer.

Ping Pong Summer

It’s a quirky summer comedy set during the summer of 1985 in Ocean City, Maryland.  We all loved it.  Well, one of the locations that is lovingly showed throughout the movie is a community center/arcade called The Fun Hub.  It has air hockey, ping pong and a ton of video games.  So, I think it’s time for one of my patented video arcade walk throughs, don’t you?

If you haven’t seen the movie, I urge you to watch it.  It’s pretty great.  Now check out the awesome, awesome arcade in which most of the movie is based, The Fun Hub.

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Brad (nicknamed Rad) and his family arrive in Ocean City, MD for their summer vacation.  While there, Rad walks into town and finds Anthony’s Beer & Wine.  Here our hero, gets schooled in proper Icee pouring etiquette.  Then he’s told about a door hidden in the alley behind Anthony’s.

That door leads to the Fun Hub.

Fun Hub

Within the Fun Hub are games galore for all types. There are skill games like air hockey and ping pong as well as arcade games lining the blue cinder block walls. Let’s see how many games we can identify.  I get lots of help from The International Arcade Museum.

Super Chexx Hockey SCH flyer

As you can see in the establishing shot of Fun Hub above, our first games to see are the air hockey table on the right as well as this Super Chexx Hockey table from 1983.  This game may look familiar as it was seen previously in the Golf n’ Stuff arcade in Karate Kid.

Karate Champ and Commando
Here’s a quick shot of Data East’s Karate Champ (right) and Capcom’s Commando (left) machines.  The former is one of my favorite fighter games and I recently got to play it at The Galloping Ghost arcade in Illinois.  The other is the precursor to the much more popular Bionic Commando game.

DK Jr and Harlem Globetrotters Harlem Globetrotters pinball flyer
Here are the heroes of our movie, Rad and Teddy. Just over Rad’s right shoulder is Nintendo’s Donkey Kong Jr from 1982. Just over his left shoulder is the amazing Harlem Globetrotters On Tour pinball machine by Bally from 1979.  I love pretty much all things Harlem Globetrotters, so this was a nice one to spot.

Harlem Globetrotters pinball Harlem Globetrotters pinball
The guys actually play the Globetrotters pinball later in the movie and you get a great shot of the awesome art and lights in the table.

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Crashing the Galloping Ghost, The Largest Arcade in the United States

Posted in nostalgia, personal, pop culture, roadtrip, video games with tags , , , , , on May 1, 2015 by Paxton

Cavalcade Arcade

It’s not often I get to profile an actual arcade on Cavalcade Arcade, but that is my pleasure today. While you’ve probably seen and heard that both the Nerd Lunch and Atomic Geeks podcasts united in Chicago for C2E2, a few of us broke away from the convention nuttiness to live out a boyhood dream of playing in a dedicated video arcade. And one just happened to exist in the suburbs of Chicago.  And it’s called the Galloping Ghost Arcade, reportedly the largest indoor video game arcade in America.

Galloping Ghost arcade

So, without further ado, here is a journal of my adventures with Jeeg and Christian traveling to outer Chicago to find the mythical Galloping Ghost Arcade.

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The day started off with breakfast at McDonald’s, then Jeeg, Christian and I had to hightail it to Union Station to catch a train to Brookfield. We were cutting it close, but we made it. Here’s Jeeg running for the train.

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Jeeg, Christian and me.  Train buddies. Traveling to a mythical nirvana of pixels, CRT monitors and nostalgia.

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Right off the train stop in Brookfield, there was this awesome little ice cream shop called Cock Robin. I was afraid to walk over to it because I didn’t want to ruin the illusion of a time warp to a 50s diner in perfect hibernation.

Galloping Ghost entrance
And after planes, trains and automobiles, we finally arrive. The Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, IL.  HALL-LE-LU-JAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!

Walking through the door for the first time, you literally have to stand back for 5 minutes to even process everything that you’re looking at.

Galloping Ghost wide 01

Galloping Ghost wide 02

Then expect another 10-15 minutes just walking around open mouthed looking at the games. You’ll literally say over and over again in your head, “They have THAT?!” or “I haven’t seen that in YEARS!”

So you shamble over to the counter, pay a $15 cover and begin your own personal spirit walk.  Everything is set to free play.  No quarters.  No tokens.  Just bliss.

After taking stock of the situation, it was really hard to decide which game would come first.  What should start off this massive orgy of electrical consumption?  The arcade made that decision for us.  Or at least, for Jeeg and me.

Krull game

We had literally just done our Krull episode for Nerd Lunch and I discussed how 100% of my knowledge of that movie comes from this game.  We had to play it.  And play it we did.

Krull Pax Krull Jeeg

That game was a fun blast from the past.  And with that, the seal had been broken.  Before we split up after playing this game, Jeeg and I stated that our goal before we left the arcade was to play each other in Karate Champ, a very favorite of both of us growing up. Making that pact, we split up and explored the wonders that lay within The Galloping Ghost.

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Nerd Lunch Episode 175: Talkin’ ’bout Krull

Posted in movies, nostalgia, podcast with tags , , , on April 22, 2015 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

This week we are joined by Rondal from Strange Kids Club. Rondal talks to us about the newest Strange Kids Club Magazine and then leads us into a discussion about the 80s fantasy movie, Krull.

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We talk about our history with this movie, what we liked and what we didn’t like. We talk a bit about the Gottlieb arcade game based on this movie and we heaped lots of praise on the Glaive.  It’s a fun fantasy discussion and most of us are watching Krull for the very first time.

Download this episode from iTunes, Stitcher or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or, listen to it online right here.

Rediscovering AC Comics’ Bolt from 1984

Posted in comic books, nostalgia, personal with tags , , , on March 4, 2015 by Paxton

Cavalcade Comics

I started comic collecting back in the mid 80s. I still have my entire collection in a filing cabinet and a longbox sitting in my garage. I thought maybe I’d go through some of those issues and find long lost gems and sort of spotlight some characters and issues that I’ve always been fond of.  Today’s character is the perfect place to begin this quest.

Recently while digging through my comics I re-discovered a comic that I got WAY back in the day. It was called Bolt and Starforce Six #1.

Bolt and SF6 #1

It was published by AC Comics in 1984.  AC Comics may not sound familiar but they made a name for themselves publishing Femforce which was a huge indie hit in the 80s-90s.  For a while in the early 80s they also had the rights to publish comics featuring Charlton super heroes right before DC bought them out.  AC would create the super team Sentinels of Justice featuring Capt Atom, The Question and Blue Beetle.

I happen to love the sh*t out of this Bolt cover, btw, which is probably reason #1 that I had a small obsession with this issue.  The cover itself was drawn by industry vets Steve Lightle and Jerry Ordway.  Inside the comic was written by Bill Black and drawn by Rod Whigham.

I don’t remember how I acquired this particular issue.  I ordered a lot of comics through the mail from Mile High Comics which required you to choose alternate books if one you wanted wasn’t in stock.  Also, if you ordered a certain amount Mile High would send you free comics or other comic book related ephemera.  That’s one way I could have gotten it.  Alternatively, I could have found it in the bargain bins of my local comic shop in the late 80s and decided to take a gamble after falling in love with the striking cover.  I honestly don’t remember.  But after I had the issue, I sort of fell in love with it.  And most of that was with the character Bolt.

Bolt page 1 Bolt page 2

The story begins with some astronauts up studying space debris when their “video radar” is damaged. Mitchell Cameron goes out in an experimental radiation suit to fix said “video radar” and is engulfed in what is described as “the enigma cloud”.  One of his astronaut colleagues SHOOTS A LASER at Mitchell to try to disperse the “enigma cloud” and winds up causing a reaction that fuses the suit onto Mitchell and turns him into a being of pure energy with incredible light and energy powers.  The government would of course see him as a threat (as they tend to do) and send out their best super team, Starforce Six to try to retrieve and capture him.

It’s mostly an okay story but the Bolt character design is kind of awesome.  I love the red and blue suit and I’m a sucker for “energy powers” (notice all the quotes?  It’s an 80s comic, guys, filled with lots of 80s-ness).  And Bolt is pretty cool in the story, unfortunately, as far as Starforce Six goes, they couldn’t be more boring, horrible cliches.  Just dumb.  Their team uniforms are powder blue jumpsuits.  One guy has an eyepatch.  It’s just awful.

Well, after falling in love with this issue I looked for YEARS and was never able to find a Bolt and Starforce Six issue #2.  Bolt just sort of disappeared from the comic landscape.  Never to be seen again.  Or so I thought.

Just a few years ago, while randomly searching comics I discovered THIS:

Bolt Special #1

Bolt Special #1.

Discovering this sort of stopped me dead in my tracks. My brain hitched.  It was like discovering Noah’s Ark in my local Wal-Mart. I was like, “WHAT. THE. F**K?!”  Before my brain could melt out of my ears, I grabbed the comic and greedily hid it away like I was Gollum in LoTR.  NO ONE was going to get this from me (I didn’t really stop to think and realize that NO ONE was looking for this comic which is why it had been sitting where it was since Reagan was President).

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