Strong Fellowship – Days 6-8

So…weekend is over! My best friend came in from New York City, so Saturday and Sunday were spent visiting the Strong and Rochester Science Museum. Checked out more of the arcade games in the Boardwalk exhibit – Donkey Kong 3 was swapped out (boo!). Dragon Spirit is WAY too hard to control (plus the monitor turned green). Space Harrier is fantastic, but started to go WAY too quickly to react. There’s a multigame machine though with Gallop Police and Dragon Breed, along with a lot of other titles – and it’s on free play! So something to do next weekend. There were animatronic dinosaurs at the Science Museum, but a lot of them were in pretty bad shape. More points of articulation means more expensive. Older parts means the rubber skin wears out. Clicking noises can be heard from some, voice boxes wore out in others. Wouldn’t be surprised if they were around in the ’80s…

Spent today in the archive – arrived early at 9. It’s a good 2 miles to the Strong, and it was bitter cold (this is where bringing thermal clothes and a bomber cap is important – thank LL Bean!). Since I had three rides last week, I’ve walked a total of 17 miles since last Monday and feeling great! I also found a path that’s been cleared so I’m not slipping on the ice and watching my footing – except for black ice – OUCH!

I finished checking Play Meter and RePlay, so that’s it for now for coin-op trade publications. I wish I’d finished them a bit earlier, but…it takes only so long to go through a single magazine.

Actually, I would have gone through even more issues, but had to cut things off at 1986, which was when the NES started to hit big. You’ve got to draw the line sometime.

Read over a little bit of what I copied onto my iPad (there are duplicates on the digital camera). It’s pretty clear Steve Kent relied heavily on RePlay when writing about coin-op – the David Rosen biography sounds pretty much identical to the account in Ultimate History of Video Games. All the more reason to replace it. I also found a Gallop Poll determining how many teenagers played videogames in 1983 and 1984. It was published in 1985, so you’d think the data would be more recent… But it gives nice evidence to debunk the theory that people ‘just stopped playing games for some reason after 1982’ since there were clearly a lot of people still buying discounted games and going to arcades – just not as many as in 1981.

There were also some fun discoveries from the ads. Midway made a comic book ad to go with Space Invaders Pinball – just as cheesy as you’d think, which means incredibly awesome. There was an ad for a sci-fi game with a woman dressed in a Star Trek uniform – and it was clearly not licensed (there was SO much copyright infringement in the 70s and early 80s). I also found an ad for this game called Triple Punch, which has a clone of Mario jumping around with a hammer!

Next up this week is to go through the toy industry journal Playthings. Hopefully I can clear that in a day or two. Then there’s a stack of catalogs, the Ralph Baer papers, the Atari Arcade collection…


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