How quickly we forget how well off we are…

We live in the Age of Wonders!

“Now my day is completely ruined.” Sometimes the words come out of my mouth, and sometimes I either read them or hear them from others.  In our microwave society, we demand instant gratification and intimate convenience.  In doing so we forget how well off we truly are versus the generations of people who came before us.  How much nicer would we be if we remembered to count our blessings and thank our Maker for the gift of living in a time of miracles and wonders!

If you can’t see what I’m talking about, watch this classic monologue by Louis C.K. while he was sitting in a guest chair for Conan O’Brien‘s television show.  It’ll remind you just how fortunate you really are!

Warrior Labs Forgotten Classics Goes to the Old West with Outlaws

Here’s another post in the Forgotten Classics series on the great PC games you might not remember at the Warrior Labs website. This entry’s subject is the classic LucasArts shoot ‘em up tale of the Old West, Outlaws.  You can read it here:  CLICK ME

Box art from the 1997 game, Outlaws

Warrior Labs is a gaming website devoted to PC Gaming. Their goals are:

  • Create a strong community of PC Gamers.
  • Get inspiration from each other.
  • Tell tales about our favorite games.
  • Encourage creativity and gather people around original projects.

What’s In That Game Box? – Careers (1976)

Box art for the 1976 game, Careers.

Ever searched the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no succour in your time of need?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this week we look at Parker Brothers’ 1976 game Careers, where fame, fortune, or happiness or yours to choose.

A much deeper discussion of the game’s origin, gameplay mechanic and the differences between the various versions throughout the years can be found in a previous blog entry, titled,  The Best Classic Board Games – Careers (1955-2009) What’s In That Game Box? deals specifically with the game’s contents, which are:

The game box (with a yellow background and a definite 1970s look to the cartoon characters on the front)

The game board (with a 32 space main path, and eight subpaths, three of which contain 11 spaces, three contain 9 spaces, one with 7 spaces, and one with 13 spaces.)

Six player tokens (blue, black, green, red, white, and yellow)

Two small six-sided dice.

A supply of play money in $50 (blue), $100 (purple), $500 (green), $1000 (yellow), $5000 (pink), and $10,000 (orange) denominations.

A deck of 28 Opportunity Knocks cards, containing:

  • GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY to go to the Entrance Square of the Occupation of your choice…meet normal requirements.  May save or sell. [x2]
  • OPPORTUNITY for holiday in Hawaii.  May save or sell. [x2]
  • OPPORTUNITY to enter BIG BUSINESS…meet normal requirements.  May save or sell. [x3]
  • OPPORTUNITY to enter COLLEGE…meet normal requirements. (If all players have gone to College, replace card and draw again.) May save or sell. [x3]
  • OPPORTUNITY to enter POLITICS…meet normal requirements. May save or sell. [x2]
  • OPPORTUNITY to enter SPORTS…meet normal requirements. May save or sell. [x2]
  • OPPORTUNITY to enter THE ARTS…meet normal requirements. May save or sell. [x2]
  • OPPORTUNITY to enter the field of ECOLOGY…meet normal requirements.  May save or sell. [x3]
  • OPPORTUNITY to go into TEACHING…meet normal requirements. May save or sell. [x2]
  • OPPORTUNITY to join SPACE PROGRAM…meet normal requirements.  May save or sell. [x3]
  • SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY to enter POLITICS…because of your great charisma, all expenses paid.  May save or sell.
  • SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY to enter SPORTS…because of your great skill as a mountain climber, all expenses paid.  May save or sell.
  • SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY to enter THE ARTS…because of your great talent, all expenses paid.  May save or sell.
  • SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY to go into TEACHING…Double all Happiness earned during tenure…meet all normal requirements.  May save or sell.

A deck of 28 EXPERIENCE CARDS, which contain:

  • MAY MOVE 1 SQUARE in place of throwing the die or dice on any move. [x8]
  • MAY MOVE 2 SQUARES in place of throwing the die or dice on any move. [x8]
  • MAY MOVE 3 SQUARES in place of throwing the die or dice on any move. [x6]
  • MAY MOVE 4 SQUARES in place of throwing the die or dice on any move. [x6]

A pad of SUCCESS FORMULA score sheets

A blue plastic storage tray to hold the two decks of cards, play money, and player tokens.

The Rule Book (in both English and French, showing the 1971 copyright, not the 1976 publication date)

Aside from the inner cardboard spacers, that’s it!  An interesting tidbit: the 1971 version of Careers has exactly the same components inside the box, and the only difference is the box art, which has a red background featuring four 1970s-style cartoons showcasing some of the occupations available in the game.  The parts are completely interchangeable, which is no surprise since all Parker Brothers did was put the 1971 game pieces into a new box!

Box art for the 1971 game, Careers

A Review of Modemoiselle by ComputeHer

ComputeHer, her GameBoy, and 2 unknown Gnomes

Let me start off by reminding everyone that I’m just some schmuck who’s owned an eCommerce website for years, and not a professional music reviewer.  This blog focuses on my passion for all things related to retrogaming, although I’ve been known to digress slightly off-topic with very little prodding.  And so here we are.

As a music business outsider (way outside, like parallel universe outside), my thoughts on reviewing this album are that I should stick to my strengths, should I locate any, and keep my comments related to what I know best.  Ultimately, since music is a bit like a Rorschach test for your ears, any review is as much about the music as it is an insight into the mind of the reviewer.  But I digress…again.  So on to the music!

Cover art for Modemoiselle

Listening to ComputerHer’s Modemoiselle is a delight.  The music is lo-fi digital technopop, with a distinct retro flavor.  As I listened to the album, I kept thinking about what Jean-Michel Jarre’s Oxygene would sound like if it was run through a Nintendo emulator and sped up to dance to.  Sometimes it invoked images of playing oldschool arcade video games, at other times the back beat prompted me to envision 1980’s pop princesses in all their big-haired glory.  I also noticed that there was a definite difference between listening to Modemoiselle on my laptop and listening on my desktop with surround.  It may be lo-fi music, but the detailed nuances within the music are best listened to on a sound system that can deliver them.  And with that public service announcement, on to my thoughts on each track:

1.      Introducing Modemoiselle gave me a heads-up on what kind of music is coming, with a classic modem handshake to let me know it’s time to reconnect with my retro roots.  Put me in a good mood and set the tone for what was yet to come.

2.      SysOp completes the groundwork of the intro piece.  At times this track invoked memories of playing various Command & Conquer games, which probably is a testament to its coolness. I liked it.

3.      New York is a bit like the city it’s named from; varied, big, and eclectic.  So much going on in this track!  Not my favorite – could be my fuddy-duddy nature, though.

4.      Heart Beeps is a bit light, but fun.  I found it difficult to identify within the grander scheme of the album as it seemed out of place compared to the other tracks.

5.      Burlesque Show is a hard one to pin down.  It invoked memories of playing Galaga ‘90 with its high-pitched melodies, but also of 1980’s pop princess tunes with its driving back beat (which might be a bit of a kiss of death for a lo-fi artist, but that’s why I gave the disclaimer above!).  Since I like both Galaga ’90 and 1980’s pop princesses, I liked this song, too.

6.      Naughty Bits seems to serve as a flow-through piece, moving the album along to the next song, and incorporating some of the previous pieces’ sound in the process.  I’m not certain where the naughty bits went to, though; I kept waiting to hear a Leisure Suit Larry theme trickle through to provide them!

7.      Twilight Byte was an odd track, with its strange sounds and notes.  I kept thinking about some of the stranger levels in a Genesis or TurboGrafx-16 arcade shooter, with bizarre background images to match the music.  A bit discombobulating, but still enjoyable.

8.      Dark Pub maintains a driving backbeat which keeps the musical story moving, but permits various musical motifs to flow in and out of the track. What’s going on where this music is coming from?   Hard to say, but there’s a lot of musical characters with bit parts wandering through!  I kept envisioning the cantina on Tatooine (gratuitous Star Wars reference), but without the band.

9.      Sugar Cube was the most relaxing of the tracks, but had an interesting alien vibe going on throughout.  Cool cruising music, too; this is music I could see myself driving the Trans Canada Highway while listening to.  It was certainly my favorite of all the tracks.

Sometimes an artist comes across as lacking a vision of where they want to go and what they want to accomplish, which usually relegates the CD to the dustbin.  Others have a laser-like precision to their musical journey, knowing exactly where they want to go and what musical vehicle will take them there.  Modemoiselle is a work that was clearly composed and performed with a vision, and although not every track made a strong impact on me, I  know I’ll be listening to it again, and recommend it as well worth a serious look.

You can purchase ComputeHer’s music from her website, www.computeher.com Enjoy!

Retrogaming Site Review: OldSchoolJunkie.com

OldSchoolJunkie.com screen shot

Every so often I find a website that simply needs to be shared with other gamers; OldSchoolJunkie.com is one such site.  The site promotes itself as “dedicated to bringing a voice to Retro Gaming and Independently Developed  game projects.”  It is a fairly new gaming site, but it has pushed itself deep into the Alexa ratings, already finding itself in the mid 400K range.  This is a testament to the quality of work being published on the site by its team, led by Jorge Murphy, the founder and editor-in-chief of OldSchoolJunkie.com  Jorge is an experienced and accomplished professional writer, and that professional polish shows throughout the site.

The writing and subject matter is of high-quality, and there is a nice variation between retro games and independent gaming.  A quick glance at the landing page shows this diversity: a gameplay video on the Turbografx-16 classic The Legendary Axe: a video showing the introduction for the Sega CD RPG Lunar: Eternal Blue; a news post on the upcoming upgrade to the Xbox Avatar system; a feature on a retro music remix of Rush’n Attack by an indie musician; a gameplay video on the somewhat forgotten Heart of the Alien for Sega CD; a review and shoutout to the All Gen Gamers retro-related podcast; a news brief on the inclusion of Xbox Live! for the Windows Mobile 7 platform; a quick feature on a contest from another gaming site; a discussion on an indie iPhone game called Surveillance; a retro hardware review on Sony’s PSOne with screen; a long gameplay video of Alien vs. Predator for the Atari Jaguar system; and 14 more articles – all on just the landing page!  With that kind of quantity and quality offerings, it’s little wonder that OldSchoolJunkie.com’s popularity continues to increase.

I heartily recommend visiting OldSchoolJunkie.com…but watch out: the sheer volume of both retrogaming and indie gaming material may seriously impact your day’s productivity.  If you’re blog surfing at work, you may end up spending more time reliving those retrogaming memories than working on that report that’s due…which may lead to your dismissal…which will give you the gift of more time to work through Jorge Murphy’s site!  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

What’s In That Game box? – Payday( 1974)

Box front for the 1974 Parker Brothers game PAYDAY

Ever scoured the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no succor in your time of need?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this week we look at Parker Brothers’ 1974 where does all the money go game, Payday.

A more indepth discussion of the game’s play can be found in a previous blog entry, titled, The Best Classic Board Games – Payday What’s In That Game Box? deals specifically with the game’s contents, which are:

The game box, which has a slightly psychedelic effect with some of the game’s cartoons amidst a green and yellow background of swirling shapes and patterns.

The game board, in the shape of a 30-day calendar in the game box motif.

The Savings and Loan Interest Chart (some versions of Payday instead use individual Savings & Loan Calculators, one for each player)

The Savings pegboard, divided into six sections (one for each player).

Six player tokens in the shape of dollar signs (black, blue, green, orange, red, yellow)

A single six-sided die

A supply of play money, in the following denominations: $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, and $500.

Twenty green scoring pegs.

A deck of 16 DEAL cards, all but one of which all begin with the words “YOU MAY PURCHASE” and featuring:

  • 18th Century Pine Hutch (Cost 200; Value 550; Commission 20) x2
  • 2 acres, Vactionland (Cost 1000; Value 2500; Commission 100)
  • 800 lbs Copper Pipe (Cost 300; Value 650; Commission 30)
  • Bottle Collection (Cost 350; Value 600; Commission 50) x2
  • Coin Collection (Cost 500; Value 900; Commission 50)
  • Diamond Ring (Cost 350; Value 600; Commission 35)
  • Family Camper (Cost 1100; Value 1600; Commission 110)
  • Power boat (Cost 1500; Value 1800; Commission 150)
  • Share of Race Horse (Cost 700; Value 1400; Commission 70) x2
  • Tractor (Cost 950; Value 1400; Commission 95)
  • Used Sports Car (Cost 800; Value 1200; Commission 80)
  • Used Stereo Set (Cost 150; Value 400; Commission 30)
  • “We hope you enjoy playing PAYDAY.  We had lots of fun developing it. PAYDAY now joins, MONOPOLY, CLUE, SORRY, CAREERS, ADMIRALS, PROBE, RISK, WATERWORKS, ACTION HOCKEY and many other fine “all family” games from Parker Brothers.  Drop us a line with your comments to PARKER BROTHERS, P.O. Box 600, Concord, Ontario L4K 1B7.  We are always glad to hear from you.”

A deck of 80 MAIL cards, featuring:

  • Auto Repair Bill (Crashdale Inc. (mother-in-law at wheel) $150)
  • Auto Repair Bill (Crumples Garage (wife hit parking meter) $50)
  • Auto Repair Bill (Dent and Scratch Ltd. (Parking lot mementos) $100)
  • Auto Repair Bill (Push & Shove Towing (son ran out of gas on date) $25)
  • Auto Repair Bill Safety Check (Cross Road Garage New tires $100)
  • Auto Repair Bill Safety Check (Hiway Services Brakes $50)
  • Auto Repair Bill Safety Check (Rattle N. Bang Muffler $75)
  • Auto Repair Bill Safety Check (Flasher Electric Lights $50)
  • BAD DEAL (SHARP DEALER BUYS ONE OF YOUR DEALS FOR ½ ORIGINAL COST (Turn in least valuable deal) x2
  • CAR INSURANCE $200 (OPTION If bought cancels all Auto Repair Bills except “Safety Check”. Must be bought or discarded immediately.) x2
  • CHANCE OF A LIFETIME (Discover the Mystery’s of Vitamin E  Also inclosed – the many ways to Spell Mystery)
  • CHARGE ACCOUNT BILL (BELL’S CATERERS (Daughter’s wedding) $800)
  • CHARGE ACCOUNT BILL (HOMETOWN DEPT. STORE (Christmas Bills) $300)
  • CHARGE ACCOUNT BILL (HOMETOWN DRUG MART (Birthday party supplies) $15)
  • CHARGE ACCOUNT BILL (HOMETOWN DRUG MART (Household necessities) $30)
  • CHARGE ACCOUNT BILL (HOMETOWN DRUG MART (Prescriptions for kids) $20)
  • CHARGE ACCOUNT BILL (SEERS SUPER SALE (Children’s Clothes) $150)
  • CHARGE ACCOUNT BILL (VIP RESTAURANT (Anniversary Dinner) $60)
  • CHURCH RAFFLE (You win an $800 car if you land on a buyer this month (discard at end of Month))
  • Dentist Bill (Dr. Driller services rendered $20)
  • Dentist Bill (Dr. Nova Kane services rendered $25)
  • Dentist Bill (Dr. Straighten Pull services rendered $150)
  • DEPRESSION (ALL SAVINGS AND DEALS FALL TO ½ WORTH Turn in deals for ½ cost and adjust your savings calculator to ½ savings on hand (if any).  Does not effect cash on hand.)
  • Doctor Bill (Dr. Art Tory services rendered $150)
  • Doctor Bill (Dr. Capsule services rendered $15)
  • Doctor Bill (Dr. Cor Pussel services rendered $15)
  • Doctor Bill (Dr. Stitches services rendered $85)
  • Doctor Bill (Dr. Sur Ringe services rendered $100)
  • DOUBLE YOUR MONEY 2X (Sell any one Deal you have at double your cost Good until end of month.)
  • DO YOU FEEL ILL?  (Buy our ill Pill with electric power)
  • DR. E. PENDAGE SAYS (Don’t let your toes get out of shape, tired toes, tired heart!  Send for booklet – 101 toe exercises)
  • Electric Bill (Hometown Hydro Hydro Dept. $25) x2
  • FAMILY BILLS (Lead Foot Dancing Academy $50)
  • FAMILY BILLS (Middle Age Health & Reducing Club $90)
  • FAMILY BILLS (Tone Deaf Music School $100)
  • FEEL RESTLESS DURING A FULL MOON? (Send for free sample of Moon Minerals)
  • LOTTERY TICKET (Good for this month $50) x3
  • LOTTERY TICKET (Good for this month $100) x3
  • MEDICAL INSURANCE $150 (OPTION If bought cancels all Doctor, Dentist and Drug Bills  Must be bought or discarded immediately.) x2
  • POSTCARD (Dear Dad, Please wire money as soon as possible, Robert [Las Vegas postmark])
  • POSTCARD (Dear Jane, I am having a wonderful time here. But have developed a terrible kink in my neck. Love Betty [CN Tower postmark])
  • POSTCARD (Dear Mom + Dad, I am enjoying the camping trip with the gang here in Banff National Park. Love Judy [Montreal postmark])
  • POSTCARD (DEAR MOTHER, I HOPE TO BE BACK IN TIME FOR SCHOOL, HOWEVER FIFI/ BILL WANTS ME TO STAY HERE A WHILE LONGER.  LOVE YOUR SON, HANK [Paris postmark])
  • POSTCARD (Dear Mum, Camp Snake Bit is Grate. Love John [Mountainville postmark])
  • POSTCARD (Dear Ms. McGregor, Regret to inform you that Bill Handley has been missing since he went fishing last week.  Sincerely, A. McTavish [Loch Ness postmark])
  • Repair Bill (AJAX BUILDERS Home repair – front door $15)
  • Repair Bill (AJAX BUILDERS Home repair – patio $50)
  • Repair Bill (FIXIT & SONS new stove element $20)
  • Repair Bill (FIXIT & SONS Washing machine repair $25)
  • Repair Bill (SNOW JOB TV TV repair $50)
  • Repair Bill (STAR CONTRACTORS: For new septic system $500)
  • Repair Bill (TUBE & KNOB SHOP TV repair $35)
  • SAFETY INSURANCE $75 SAFETY CHECK (OPTION If bought cancels all Safety Check Bills  Must be bought or discarded immediately.) x2
  • SPECIAL OFFER (Send 50¢ and name For catalogue of the 15 best Hitch-hiking routes of the Sahara Desert)
  • SWELLFARE (If your are in *DEBT, bet any amount up to $100 and collect 10x the amount bet…if you roll a 5 or 6! *see rules for definition  Must be used or discarded immediately x4
  • TAX BILL (Hometown Property tax levy $250)
  • TAX BILL (Hometown Sales tax levy $20)
  • TAX BILL (Hometown School tax levy $80)
  • TRY “TIRE NEW” (Box of 50 – 25¢  Don’t let a hole take the wind out of your sails)
  • Vacation Bill (Camp Poison Ivy $75)
  • Vacation Bill (Camp Sun Burn $50)
  • Vacation Bill (Happy Acres Lodge $125)
  • Vacation Bill (Trailer Park Park $25)
  • Water Bill (Hometown Water Water Dept. $20) x2
  • WINDFALL BILLING ERROR $20
  • WINDFALL REBATE $50
  • WINDFALL TAX REFUND $150

The rules.

Aside from the inner cardboard tray that holds the loose game parts, that’s it!  Have fun!

Box contents of the 1974 Parker Brothers game PAYDAY

Box contents for the variant edition of Payday (1974)

 

Never give up on your dreams…and here’s why!

While swimming around in my tweet stream I ran across a link to an incredibly motivating video all about rising above past mistakes and failures and finding success.  Although not game related, positive messages like this one need to be shared, IMO.  It’s important to remember that we can still succeed in realizing our dreams, and to never give up the struggle!  Indie developers. eCommerce merchants, bloggers looking for a bigger audience…we can all find inspiration in this clip!

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