Atari: Game Over documentary available for free

Atari: Game Over documentary available on Xbox Video

One of the enduring video game urban legends is that E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 was singlehandedly responsible for the killing the video games.  The game was so bad, it took down the Atari juggernaut and the rest of the industry with it.  Supposedly, there were *so* many returned copies of E.T. from disgruntled customers that Atari had to bury millions of cartridges at an undisclosed location in the desert.  Or so the legend goes. Continue reading “Atari: Game Over documentary available for free”

The Ultimate Warrior, Dead at 54

The Ultimate Warrior is inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame, April 7, 2014

Known for his unintelligible interviews and superhero-like physique, former WWF champion “The Ultimate Warrior” is a professional wrestling legend, despite his relatively brief time in the industry.

In a bizarre consequence of timing, the wrestler formerly known as Jim Hellwig died a day after speaking to his own mortality during a live taping of WWE RAW – his first appearance in the show in nearly two decades:

Two days prior, Hellwig (who legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993) was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame – something most wrestling fans assumed would never happen due to the bad blood between him and Vince McMahon.

While he made enemies later in his life due to his outspoken political views, I’ll always fondly remember watching him (via a scrambled cable signal no less) come to Hulk Hogan’s rescue at Wrestlemania VIII, as well as me and my wrestling buddies marking out over his WCW debut in 1998.  I’m glad he was able to make his peace with the industry that made him famous, and say goodbye to all his fans during the days leading up to his death.

Currently there is no official word on the cause of death, but as with most wrestlers who die early, it’s not a stretch to assume he had heart issues stemming from steroid abuse.

He leaves behind two young daughters, his wife, and his mother.

Rest in peace, Ultimate Warrior.

Destrucity - Ultimate Warrior's Greatest Promos (Rejected WWE DVDs)
A fake WWE DVD cover I did for

The Commodore 64 turns 30

Commodore 64 photo courtesy Bill Bertram, Wikimedia.

FIle under “this makes me feel REALLY old”

The Commodore 64, one of the first affordable home computers, turned 30 this week.  With a whopping 64 kilobytes of RAM, 16 – count ’em, 16 – colors, and a disk drive that was slower than Christmas, it was nevertheless a minor revolution in home computing.

Launching at the relatively low price of $595, which dropped to $200 in under two years, it sold between 12 and 17.5 million units, making it the best-selling single personal computer model of all time.

Besides being a great programming machine, it allowed you to do your home finances, write letters to Grandma, and… wait, nevermind. Who am I kidding?

Everyone who had a Commodore 64 knew it was first and foremost an awesome game console.

With several thousand games published over the course of a decade, it blew away everything that came before, and gave later consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System a run for  their money with the ability to provide deeper gaming experiences due to it’s keyboard, greater storage capacity, and superior sound (thanks to the Sound Interface Device, or SID).

But time marches on, and today’s dumbest smartphone has far more computing power than the Commodore 64. BBC’s Mat Allen showed a working C64 to some schoolchildren to get their impressions of this classic bit of technology:

Queensryche announces new lead singer


Whoa – I haven’t been following the latest Queensryche drama, so I really didn’t see this one coming.  Eddie Trunk reports that prog-metal band Queensryche (sorry, ain’t doing the umlaut), best known for their 1988 concept album Operation: Mindcrime and 1990 follow-up Empire, have replaced lead vocalist and founding member Geoff Tate with Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre.

Never heard of the new singer, but he certainly sounds the part:

I loved Queensryche back in the day, but after Chris DeGarmo left (first creatively, then physically), they lost the spark. Even Operation: Mindcrime II was a pale shadow of their former glory. Apparently Geoff Tate had been calling most of the shots over the past decade (to the point where Michael Wilton was barely involved with 2011’s Dedicated to Chaos), causing the rift that led to today’s events.

Now if they could just get DeGarmo back…

Def Leppard re-records classic hits

Def Leppard has been rather busy these days, looking to capitalize on the movie adaptation of “Rock of Ages” coming out this week.  They start their summer tour with Poison and Lita Ford this month, and performed on The Tonight Show as well as YouTube Presents:


Last week they released re-recordings of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and the song from which the movie/play got it’s name.  From the Associated Press via Pollstar:

AP: Why did you decide to release re-recorded versions of “Rock of Ages” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me” this summer?

Joe Elliott: Our work is not available on any digital domain, except for the last album, the Mirrorball album, because it’s a catalog issue with the record label, so we just wanted studio versions of those songs available for this summer because of the film coming out.

AP: What was it like re-recording those classics?

Joe Elliott: We had to be really careful that we actually studied them, literally like forgeries. It’s like Donald Pleasence in “The Great Escape” doing passports. It’s got to be exactly the same to fool the old German guard. That’s the same thing with these songs. We wanted them to have the same energy, that youthful exuberance we had in ‘83 and ‘87, so people that are sympathetic to our cause listen to them and say, “Wow, they’ve still got it. They can perform the songs the way they did back then.”

While purists may think it’s sacrilege, I’m generally a fan of bands re-recording their classic material – off the top of my head, Chicago, KISS, and Foreigner have all re-recorded some of their biggest hits in the past few years.  I’m a production snob, and recording techniques/equipment today are (usually) far superior to what they had access to decades ago.

And there’s usually a financial incentive for the bands who do this as well – in Def Leppard’s case, they are in a struggle with Mercury Records (their label up until recently) to get their material released on iTunes, Amazon, etc.  So they went into the studio on their own dime to re-record the tunes so they don’t have to deal with their former label.

The Leps played it straight with these new recordings, attempting to duplicate the 80s versions as closely as possible. Of the two cuts, “Rock of Ages” sounds more like the original than “Pour Some Sugar On Me.”  It’s a much more straightforward song; Mutt Lange’s production on “Sugar” (and all of the Hysteria album for that matter) was so over-the-top, it would be nearly impossible to duplicate it perfectly.

It will be interesting to see if they continue to do this with more of their hits.  A full-length album, perhaps?

Buy ‘Rock of Ages’: Amazon | iTunes
Buy ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’: Amazon | iTunes

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]

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.