Journey & Rascal Flatts perform ‘Don’t Stop Believin” at CMT Awards

‘Don’t Stop Believin” – It’s the 1981 hit from Journey that won’t go away keeps on giving. The top selling catalog track in iTunes.  Glee, The Sopranos, numerous movie soundtracks, and now – the CMT Music Awards.

Last night Rascal Flatts teamed up with Journey to perform their signature song (jump to 2:30):

On a side note, I think Arnel Pineda does a fine job in general aping Steve Perry’s vocals. But in Perry’s prime, there was an ethereal quality to his vocals that Pineda just doesn’t have.

Buy ‘Don’t Stop Believin”: Amazon | iTunes

[Via Ultimate Classic Rock]

The Atari 2600 celebrates 30 years of low-rez fun

Playing my new Atari 2600 on Christmas morning, 1980.

As my 35th birthday approaches, an old friend is celebrating 30 years… the Atari 2600! Retro Thing is doing an “Atari Week” feature, with several pieces about the first device that defined “video game” for Generation X:

The Atari 2600’s impact upon the gaming world was immense. No less than eight variations were produced over its stunning 14 year lifespan, along with three Sears-branded models and over a dozen clones. The system sold in excess of 40 million units, and AtariAge lists well over 1300 different game titles. This is all the more incredible because the system was envisioned to have only a two or three year lifespan before being replaced by something more sophisticated. That day never came. Even though Atari made repeated attempts to surpass their initial design, the 2600 remained the pinnacle of the company’s console gaming success.

I have many warm (and a bit fuzzy) memories of the 2600:

  • Begging my parents to drop me off early at my piano teacher’s home so I could play her son’s 2600 before I had one of my own.
  • The hilarity of Basketball’s square ball.
  • Being awed by the ability to play Space Invaders without having to drop a quarter at the arcade. (and the syncopated rhythm when there’s only four attackers left)
  • Finally getting an Atari of my own for Christmas. Thanks..uhh… Santa!
  • Staying up all night at a friend’s house to beat Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Playing, enjoying, and beating E.T., years before the internet told me I was supposed to hate it because it was the “worst game ever.
  • Checking out my friends’ latest acquisitions each Saturday at the Cub Scout meeting. Including Journey Escape – Now THAT game was a stinker.
  • …and finally giving it up for the Commodore 64 a few years later. [links to an archive of my C64 site from several years ago]

The Atari 2600 seems so quaint in comparison to what we have today, but it was capable of some truly amazing things given it’s limitations. It had a meager 128 bytes of memory – to put that in perspective, this blog post alone is 20 times that. Your average home computer today with a gigabyte of memory can hold over 8 million times that amount. The ability to create anything with those limitations, let alone some of the classics that were produced for the 2600, is nothing short of incredible.

Rocky LXXVIII: Adrian’s Revenge

The first movie I ever saw was Rocky – it’s one of those memories that are very fuzzy, but there are specific elements that stand out regardless – the smell of the popcorn, the blue carpet in the lobby, the colored lights running down the side of the aisle.

I remember very little about the movie itself, other than thinking it was black and white (it is rather monochrome…) But I have watched it and it’s sequels many times over the years – it ranks up there as one of my favorite movies ever.

Except for the last entry in the series – Rocky V. At the time it was obviously meant to be the last one, taking Rocky back to his roots, etc. But it just felt far too contrived; it tried too hard to be contemporary with the hippin’ and the hoppin’ and the bippin’ and the boppin’. Not to mention Sage Stallone’s horrible acting.  It was a disappointing end to an otherwise great franchise.

After 15 years and a truckload of rumors and speculation, and we have Rocky Balboa – finally, a fitting finale for Rocky. It is everything Rocky V needed to be, but wasn’t. It definitely has a greatest hits feel to it, and there’s one too many trademark inspirational speeches, but overall it’s a much more authentic return to the first couple of movies. It doesn’t try too hard to be relevant or cutting edge, there’s no Survivor cheese rock or hip-hop remixes of the Rocky theme (Bill Conti for the win), and most of all the movie ends the series as it started. It’s not a matter of winning a championship or obtaining glory – it’s about the internal struggle with oneself and “going the distance” despite everyone else saying you can’t – the thing that made Rocky such a compelling character 30 years ago.

But do we really need another sequel to Rambo?

BUY: Rocky Balboa at Amazon.com

There is no Frogger vanity board – George is getting angry!!

Seinfeld - "The Frogger"

As I was flipping through the channels last night, I ran across one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes – “The Frogger.” George discovers that the Frogger arcade machine he got the high score on years ago still has his initials at the top of the vanity board.

As I was watching this, it hit me – Frogger never let you enter your initials for a high score!  While most arcade games did let you enter your initials or your name,  Frogger wasn’t one of them.

Of course, they had to use Frogger for the payoff at the end of the episode where George is pushing the arcade console across the street and subsequently gets destroyed by an oncoming truck.