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King Atari

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About King Atari

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    Northeast Ohio
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    Video Games, Music, TV & Movies, Vintage Advertising (Broadcast & Print)

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  1. The 7800 version has the secret rooms too. There, now there's no reason to never have a 7800 again! 😉 That said: G'n'G on the 7800 - WOW!
  2. 18 years later and I've now got ZERO memory of ever hearing of this game, let alone playing it. Go figure! The description from my past-self doesn't exactly make current-me want to play it. (Of course, I'd still snap a copy up with extreme fervor, should I happen upon one cheap during my travels...)
  3. As much as I generally loathe seeing things I posted nearly 20 (!!!) years ago, this was a nice little memory. Thanks to the power of the Wayback Machine, I was evidently talking about this. (Ron "The Ghoul" Sweed passed away on April 1, 2019 - I've continued to be just as big a fan in this day and age as I was back then. I remember Lemmi and I PM'ing back and forth about him; whatever happened to Lemmi?) Anyway, regarding the topic at hand... It's amazing to recall a time when a game selling for $500 was considered outrageous. Can you imagine the news of a loose Air Raid selling for 10 grand back in 2002? AA would have had a veritable site-wide mental freakout or something! Nowadays, a boxed copy of that or Red Sea Crossing selling for $500 would be considered the bargain of the century! (In these parts, at least.)
  4. Disregarding a few pick ups from dedicated used video game stores, these are my two best game-related thrift finds from recent weeks: - The jumping Mario is from the 1989 Applause line of Nintendo figurines. Similar to the one SMB3 Happy Meal toy, except without the racoon ears/tail. It was in a small $5 bag of toys, and MAN, I knew immediately it was coming home with me. I come across Mario/Nintendo stuff all the time, but vintage items (specifically 1980s to early-90s), not nearly as often as I'd prefer. Side note: the Batman (Michael Keaton dress-up version!) figure and Burger King Superman cup holder fig seen in the background were from a different $5 toy bag found at the same time/place as Mario. The Batman, I still have my childhood one buried away somewhere (this one immediately became a nice display piece), but the Supes cup holder, THAT'S something I've really been wanting for years. I had one when I was a kid, but it disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Mario was the big find here, but the Superman wasn't exactly a chump acquisition either. - A carded Coleco Pac-Man figurine! Blinky, obviously. Despite the card being a little rough/worn/etc. (particularly the bottom-left corner, as you can see), I was perfectly okay with the $12 price tag. (I was able to get that green sticker off easily and without damage, BTW. The Revco one, however, stays - mainly because I absolutely want it to.) Like Mario, I was supremely stoked to find this; and actually, despite being at another location, this was at the same chain as Mario - considering they were only found two days apart, I wouldn't be surprised if they both came from the same person originally, and they were just separated at wherever this stuff is divvied up before being sent to the retail locations.
  5. Taito's 1988 Superman beat-'em-up arcade game. As far as I know, it was never ported to any console or computer - and I've sure looked over the years! Way back when, I discovered the coin-op at a nearby party center and was totally enamored by it, so I set about trying to find a home console version... but it just never happened. I still recall picking up a copy of Sunsoft's Sega Genesis Superman at a used game store BITD, looking at the screenshots on the back of the box, and proclaiming "this is it!" It wasn't. I also got the Kemco NES Superman at that same used game store (before or after the Genesis one, I don't recall; probably before), and that REALLY wasn't it! Maybe the game has since made it onto some compilation somewhere, I don't know. When I was old enough to have disposable income, the first vintage coin-op I bought? You guessed it: Taito's Superman! (The game has its detractors, and yes, like so many beat-'em-ups, it gets repetitive. But you know, I still love it.) In the same wheelhouse, but without the same nostalgic memories attached (mainly because I didn't know about it until yeaaaaars later) is Atari's Batman coin-op. Lotsa games based on the 1989 film of course, but as far as I know, that coin-op was never ported to anything. Years ago, I recall seeing a machine for sale in, I think, Texas, and I did start the mental process of figuring out a way to get it, but I never followed through. Also, Sega's Star Wars Trilogy Arcade. Man of man, if there was one coin-op that recalled the movie theater lobby ever presence of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles machines of my youth, this was it. A Dreamcast port seemed like such a given, but alas, twas not to be.
  6. I can't really speak for those other titles, but there's a tremendous difference between the Game Boy and Gear Gear editions of Double Dragon, way beyond just black & white/color or gameplay aspects. Namely in that they're two totally different games. Double Dragon on the Game Boy is basically a diluted handheld version of the divisive NES game, itself more of an interpretation of the coin-op original than an outright port. Still, the object is to save your kidnapped girlfriend. As for the Game Gear version, it tends to be listed as a port of the coin-op due to it misleadingly presenting itself with that title and by-then-well-known box art, but it's actually an original, unique game. Some tripe about avenging the (supposed?) death of your brother Jimmy Lee, with all-new levels, enemies, etc. (The European release remedied this somewhat by including the subtitle The Revenge of Billy Lee on the cover.) Aside from the fact they're both beat-'em-ups titled Double Dragon and starring protagonist Billy Lee, there's really not much in common between the two. The Game Boy version is a little sluggish but ultimately pretty fun, but my recollection of the Game Gear DD is that it's a choppy mess. Granted, I haven't played it in years, back when I used to emulate (it's been awhile), but even so, I remember it being pretty bad. It looks decent as static screenshots, but in action? Well... (In fact, aside from allowing that it's fine graphically, as stills anyway, I don't think I've ever really heard anything positive about the game.) Oh, but one trait both versions definitely share: a lack of simultaneous two-player action! Okay, sure, the GB features a two-player one-on-one mode (just like the NES), but where the main, 'real' game is concerned, it's a solo flight on both the GB and the GG. So much for Double Dragon!
  7. Last week I got a text from my brother with a pic of a 2600/7800 cart lot at a thrift store near his work, asking me which ones I wanted. There were five 7800 carts I particularly needed that he grabbed for me, but these were the big ones. They were all $3 apiece - easily my best video game-related thrift score in awhile! (The only comparable score in recent months was 2600 Tapper in a $10 lot of nine games in April, but that was from a specific movie/music/games/toys store, not a thrift. Generally these guys price games around what they sell for online, though luckily for me this location evidently doesn't place much importance on Atari, because there were some other good titles in there, though technically only a few I actually needed. Tapper though, man was I happy to add that one to the collection!)
  8. Not meaning to leapfrog over atarian1 here, but in my experience that's exactly where Atari ads of the late-80s were commonly found; granted, video game spots in that era generally weren't seen during network prime time anyway, but those midday/early evening hours really seemed to be where Atari was often focused. As far as the 2600/7800/XEGS consoles go, it seems to me that the last 'big' (relatively speaking) television push Corp. gave them was in late-1987; for example, ads for all three aired fairly heavily during local evening M*A*S*H reruns here that Christmas season. Atari & M*A*S*H? Now you're speaking my language! (The 2600 was "The Fun is Back!", the 7800 was "More Games at Half the Price!" and the XEGS was the anti-Nintendo "toy robot?!" spot - nothing too out of the ordinary or unique where this subject is concerned.) I don't remember what it aired during, but there was also a Toys-R-Us ad spotlighting the 2600 & 7800; I *think* it was that very same Christmas season, but it could have been 1986. As far as late-80s Atari goes though, I'm not sure they were ever more visible than they were in 1987, especially during Christmas (for obvious reasons). Needless to say, ads for Nintendo were more plentiful (also for obvious reasons), and of course they seemed, to me anyway, to show up during the 'big' kids shows of the time more than Atari did. The Sega Master System, while not up to NES levels, was also seemingly more visible than Atari was. I'm not saying 2600/7800/XEGS spots didn't commonly air during those too, or that they didn't air during more "prime" kids hours, but generally speaking...? The Atari sports and 7800 "Choice of the Experts" commercials were from 1988, weren't they? Even so, to me their post-1987, pre-Lynx/Jaguar television advertising seems like it was almost non-existent. To get back to the question in the original post, in 1989 and 1990 I can't think of any Atari TV advertising - except for the Lynx, in 1990. (Atari did have that 7800 "Pick a Fight After School" print campaign during the era, which should have also been seen on television, but as far as I know never was.) Regarding the Lynx, there was that spot (the inexplicably violent one) featuring Gauntlet and Electrocop around '90, and Batman Returns in 1992, but Atari television advertising didn't seem to gather anything resembling steam until the Jag and the numerous spots for it. (My favorite? The one for Troy Aikman NFL Football in 1995, not because I care all that much about the game - I don't really - but rather because the Jaguar version was seen alongside the Genesis and SNES versions at the very end, something I can't recall happening very often.)
  9. For me, it was all about it being "the original." Certainly they're more 'solid' and apparently the picture is better, but personally, it was less about playing the thing (I've got other 2600s, including light sixers, as well as 7800s for that) and more about the relative rarity and importance of it. Not that they're impossible to find, but at least in person, the only one I've ever come across is the one in my collection (luckily, it also came with the original 1977 joysticks and power supply, so evidently the lot was all from an original owner and not pieced together by the thrift I found it at). But really, you look at the Heavy Sixer, and you're seeing the 1977 beginnings of what would become an absolute phenomenon. It's just plain cool. I might argue that, from a cosmetic standpoint, the more-streamlined 2600s that were the norm during the biggest period of popularity - so probably the four switch woodgrains and then Vaders - were more iconic simply because that's when most people were buying 'em and that's what was available when Atari was most on top of the video game world, but there's no doubt that having all six switches right up front is very, very nice. Ideally a light sixer would be used for any daily driving - that's what I'd prefer to use if I didn't do all of my 2600 playing on a 7800 - but there's something incredibly special about 'the first.'
  10. Aside from general "shoulda bought [new, sealed, now-valuable game/console/toy] cheap on clearance when I had the chance" feelings (we've all been there), a few specific incidents come to mind right now... - Here's the biggie. 2004: There was a used game store fairly close to me that had been there for awhile, but that I inexplicably only went to once, and even more inexplicably, didn't buy anything from. And this was a GOOD used game store, with REALLY GOOD prices. Lotsa stuff, plenty of 2600 games. The items that stick out most to me are 1) a Coleco Combat dedicated console. 2) A TurboExpress handheld. And 3) a copy of Quest For Quintana Roo for the 2600. I no longer remember the prices, except Roo was, I think, $60 or $80; not exactly cheap, but a decent price for what it was going for at the time. (Still is?) I believe I posted about it on here, and was told I could have gotten more for it than the asking price - I guess I could search through my post history, but seeing/cringing at my writing from all those years ago is not something I'm prepared to do at the moment. Roo was one thing, but looking back, the Combat console and TurboExpress are the ones I wish I'd have had more interest in. Like I said, I don't remember the prices, but the pricing in the place was, as I recall it, entirely reasonable, for the time then and even more so now. I probably couldn't have afforded all three things in that one visit, but certainly at least one of 'em, maybe even two. 18-year-old, part-time job me should have had more foresight! The Combat is the one I'd really love to have in my collection nowadays (though there's no guarantee I wouldn't have wound up selling it later, in those years before the current "aw, just keep everything!" mindset I have today), though the TurboExpress was the one that, from a value standpoint, I should have waltzed on out of there with. That store is now long gone, but before it disappeared, it went from video games to board/card games - convenient in not having to change the name of the place, but of little help to me since the latter ain't my scene, man. - Another tale, same general era (probably about a year later), this time at a thrift store: the place had a pretty decent selection of retro games, especially NES. They had a Tengen Tetris, I didn't buy it, it was gone next time I went in. Another time (same time?), they had a box full of, uh, boxes; that is, empty Atari game boxes, with a 7800 Kung-Fu Master box the standout. I didn't buy it or any others, they were also gone next time I went in. On a related note, a dude I used to work with claimed he got the 2600 Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre games there. I kept pretty regular tabs on this thrift and I absolutely knew even back then to buy those without hesitation if the opportunity presented itself, so my hope is that he was just full of it. Sometimes life balances things out though: I later found a Tengen Tetris at a dedicated music/video game store for $5 - evidently they saw no difference between it and the regular Nintendo edition, but I did, and happily took the opportunity to rectify my earlier mistake. Also, at that above-mentioned thrift store, I wound up finding a complete boxed copy of 7800 Basketbrawl for a few bucks. And honestly, my amount of scores/chances took far outweigh my misses - though that just makes the missed opportunities all the more glaring to me, IMO. - Actually, at that dedicated music/video game store I just mentioned, they once had NES Wayne's World for $5. I didn't buy it, and naturally wound up with the nagging feeling that I should have. Needless to say, another missed opportunity was eventually revealed. I later had to pay substantially more money for a used copy online, though in another case of life occasionally balancing things out, what I paid would be considered an absolutely terrific price compared to what the game goes for now. - Want to know an odd regret that's been popping into my mind lately, despite not being THAT big of a deal? If you have Save-A-Lot grocery stores near you, you may recall that in the early-00s, in addition to the normal cheapie budget DVDs (a 'genre' I have serious love for anyway), they could also get some new old stock stuff in that they'd then sell for like a buck apiece; some cool NOS PC games popped up there, and in the waning days of VHS, I cleaned up. But what continues to stick out to me is my passing up of a carded Toy Biz Marvel figure from the early-90s that somehow wound up there. The card was pretty wasted, and to tell you the truth, I don't even remember for sure what figure it was; I'm not particularly a Marvel Comics fan (except for Spidey, I was always more of a DC guy), but it was such an odd, random, not to mention CHEAP, occurrence that I really should have just gotten it. It wasn't even with other dedicated toys; it was on their clearance (expired?) food racks. And what's more, I think this was more mid-00s, or maybe even late-00s, after that NOS clearance boom at the start of the decade, which just made the whole event all the more random. Nowadays, I'd like to think I've learned from past mistakes; I generally try not to leave anything to chance. If it looks interesting, and it's affordable enough, just go for it and sort the rest out later. Better safe than sorry! Although, I do still have occasional lapses in judgement. Case in point: I collect vintage local promotional memorabilia. Mugs, glasses, keychains, businesses, restaurants, that sort of thing. Hey, I find it interesting, it's relatively plentiful, and it's usually cheap! While my main focus is on items local to me, I do indeed take an interest in things from other states too, though almost always in a "well, if it happens to cross my path while out and about..." kinda way. Anyway, several months ago, or maybe even about a year ago now, there was a little paperweight from the Chicago Leather Co. in a showcase at Goodwill. It was just a little glass thing, with some kind of leather blotter (?) with the company ID stamped on it. There was definitively some age to it, but despite that and it being in the showcase, it couldn't have been priced very high. I stupidly walked out without it, or without even asking to see it up close. And, well, of course it was gone next time I stopped in (and I hit this particular Goodwill really frequently, too). I'm honestly surprised someone besides me cared about it, truth be told. A neat little piece of promo memorabilia like that isn't likely to cross my path again, so while it may not sound like a big deal (and it really isn't, all things considered), there's still some regret there on my part. Oh boy, I've got some stories there, but they honestly hurt waaaaaaaaay more than the tales of the things I passed up. There's things I got rid of years ago that I try not to think too much about, because, OUCH. (One of the easier-to-take examples: the 7800 Basketbrawl I mentioned above. I wound up selling it for like $30 a few years after, and while that was a decent price at the time, the rarity, and more importantly, my love of the 7800, has grown exponentially since. Regret!) Another quick example: my boxed, childhood copy of Punch-Out!!, the Mr. Dream re-release. It was one I had my eye on at KB Toys for awhile, eventually I bought it, and then somewhere in the early-00's I traded it (along with another now-forgotten but less-important NES game) for the unlicensed Chiller. It wasn't so much the trading of the game itself that came to bother me, but the nostalgia associated with it. Still, in yet another case of life helping balance things out, this was ultimately the catalyst for my later buying a sealed NOS copy of Mr. Dream's Punch-Out!! on eBay for, IIRC, $29.99. Yes there was a time when non-top tier sealed NES games could be had affordably. If it wasn't Mario, Zelda, or even more related to the subject here, Mike Tyson, prices could generally be pretty reasonable. This has since changed considerably, which made the purchase a wise investment on my part. (And Chiller goes for some decent bucks nowadays, too.) I'm not sure that makes up for the loss of nostalgia I associated with that childhood copy, but it's something anyway.
  11. TMNT II was the first one I had, I'm pretty sure I got it for my birthday one year - might have been kindergarten. I loved it at the time, but like you, I can pretty much figure it would just annoy the life out of me now. Plus, and I'm going strictly from memory here, the game play was probably the least interesting of the trilogy. As for the other two, I recall my brother getting TMNT at the same time as I got TMNT 3. I was familiar with the first one already (I remember some kid bringing his to school and letting me play), and I did like it, both because it was "the original" and because it was, I imagine, an approximation of the infamous dam stage in the NES game in my eyes. (A feeling that, I guess, was only bolstered by the identical artwork.) I was, and still am, incredibly fond of that first NES game (not everyone loves it, but I do), so that initial Konami entry found a natural place in my heart. (Eventually my brother traded, or maybe even just gave, it to me, and it remains in my collection to this day.) Oddly enough, I think TMNT 3 was my least favorite back in the day, or rather, perhaps more accurately, what I considered the least important. It had neither that "original" thing going for it nor the nostalgia birthday fondness of TMNT II. This, of course, has changed considerably in the years since. Indeed, I'd rank it among my very favorite LCD handhelds nowadays! (I'm a sucker for beat-'em-ups, and frankly, I'm not sure one was ever presented better in LCD handheld form.) While on the subject (and connecting nicely back to the original topic at hand), Tiger later released their own TMNT LCD handheld: Dimension X Assault. It talked, too! That one always seemed like something unique, or maybe even a little like novelty, to me, mainly because Konami was behind the TMNT handhelds prior. My brother had Dimension X Assault, and fun fact, I used the big giant statewide lock down a year ago to rummage through boxes, bags and bins of old childhood stuff languishing in my basement (hey, no time like the present!), during which that very game was eventually unearthed. (Unlike that first Konami TMNT handheld though, I wasn't able to wangle Dimension from him; it was duly returned to him eventually. No sour grapes on my part, but I'd sure like to find one for myself at a thrift somewhere...)
  12. This is absolutely terrific; posts like this are exactly why I love these forums! A piece of video game history rescued and given the spotlight it deserves - and with plenty of helpful info for the rest of us, to boot! Thanks for sharing!
  13. Oh man, Mega Man PC. Way back in the day, there was a PC store in the mall that my dad and I would go to. I still remember it was our stop for Space Quest V upon release; good times! Anyway, one fateful visit yielded Mega Man PC. I was familiar with the franchise via Game Players Magazine (remember that?), but I had never actually played one, so home with us it went. Finally, a chance to partake in the same gamin' as the NES kids! And well, uh, yeah; even back then as an easily-pleased child, I was cognizant of the fact that it just wasn't any good. I never made it particularly far in the game, but it wasn't for lack of trying or the unrefined skills of a youngster - the game play was just naturally pathetic. And yet, weirdly, nowadays I don't hate it...but that's based ENTIRELY on nostalgia and that trip to the mall's PC store so long ago. The game itself? Bad bad bad! Anyway, fun topic, though I'm really wracking my brain trying to come up with a fitting contribution. (Regarding the story above, I like the MM series fine, or at least the NES entries, but I wouldn't consider any of them to be among my genuinely *favorite* games; it's just that I had a tale to tell!) BTW, I'm totally fascinated by that handheld version of Joust. I mean, how? WHY?
  14. I certainly had Tiger handhelds as a kid, along with Konami, MGA, and even [a single example only] Remco. Thanks to the power of secondhand, Coleco and Entex also entered my life back then. Konami had the TMNT factor going for them, and they put out a (in my recollection) surprisingly decent LCD facsimile of a side-scrolling beat-'em-up in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. Boy did I play that one! Tiger always seemed like the 'biggie' though. Not only were they ubiquitous and cheap, but they had licenses for seemingly everything. If it was popular, there was a good possibility there was a Tiger iteration already on shelves or coming soon. I mostly stuck to the actual handhelds, but I did (and still) have a much-loved Batman wristwatch - it's probably long dead internally, but back then, the very idea of stuff like that just felt immensely unique and cool to a kid. Even if in reality it was, uh, still a Tiger; looking back, they really weren't very good. For the most part, anyway. And yet, they still managed to attain a special vibe about them to me - even after I got a Game Boy. Maybe those marquee (bezel?) graphics and all-in-one aspects subconsciously recalled dedicated coin-ops? That's what the TV commercials at one point touted these things as, after all! Pocket-sized arcade games! (Yeah, right.) Of course, the fact they were cheaper than Game Boy or console games and I was a grade schooler with even less money than I have now (which is really saying something) probably helped, too. Well, helped my parents. Still, the fact remains that in the period before I had a Sega Genesis myself, Tiger's Sonic 2 handheld was as hotly desired on my part as any "real" game. I played that thing like crazy, too. During our big huge lock down several months back (something I fear we're in store for again soon), I took the opportunity to dig through boxes, bags and bins of childhood stuff. Lotsa great rediscoveries during those digs, and it was during them that several old Tigers were unearthed. One of them, Street Fighter II, was something I picked up way later at a rummage sale (I gave it a spin, but couldn't decide if the controls were only partially working or if it just played terribly in general). The others though were childhood acquisitions, including the aforementioned Sonic 2 along with Ninja Gaiden II. Gaiden's screen got smashed beyond (?) repair at some point, which is just heartbreaking, though Sonic 2 still functions correctly. (Or at least as well as it ever did.) I also unearthed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Dimension X Assault (which always felt extra unique because it was a Tiger release - as opposed to the previous Konami TMNT LCDs) and Batman Returns - both of which were actually my brother's. I tried to finagle them from him via text message, but no dice. Nowadays, I collect [vintage] handhelds of pretty much any ilk from pretty much any manufacturer. There's still something particularly exciting about coming across the Tigers though. Mostly due to nostalgia, no doubt. For example, I recently came upon their LCD rendition of Anastasia at a thrift store, and despite having zero interest in Anastasia before or since, it was still absolutely going home with me upon first glance. And you can be sure that if I stumble across the Bo Jackson, MC Hammer or Full House Tigers somewhere, well, you just may hear me flipping out from wherever you happen to be. (Side note: as a TGIF kid, I kinda find it stunning that Tiger immortalized Full House as a handheld, but Urkel never received similar honors - that dude was so ever-present at one point, a Tiger handheld dedicated to him almost seems like a forgone conclusion!)
  15. Got this one new back in the day, albeit kinda late; not sure if Zoda's Revenge had been released yet or not, but it was in the same general era. Anyway, I absolutely loved it. I never did complete the game though, though I did make decent headway IIRC. It's really one I should revisit in earnest, especially since I'm currently in an action RPG mood. You know, with the recent talk on the forums here of potential further Game & Watch/NES handhelds from Nintendo, one spotlighting this (and preferably including Zoda's Revenge as well, IMO) would absolutely be a "must buy" for me. It's kind of a sleeper game, relatively speaking (it never even occurred to me when replying to that thread, despite going way back with it), but absolutely deserving of a spiffy new release like that. StarTropics certainly had (and has) a following, but obviously never attained the all-encompassing mainstream popularity other NES biggies enjoyed and continue to enjoy. A new, out-of-left-field release like that would, I'd hope, go a long way in rectifying that.
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