A Handful Of… The Video Games That Got Away

It’s closing in on Gimme Gimme Day, and what better way to celebrate the joyous overconsumption and high-expectations of youth than to examine the video games I was never Given Given.

Here are A Handful Of… The Video Games That Got Away:

Ah, the good ol' days of 16-color EGA graphics...

Not what you’d expect to be first.  This came out back in the days of me playing the original Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, but it was only available for Commodore 64.  I had an IBM-compatible.  To those not around at the time, that’s like wanting Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, when all you have is the Wii.

I had a Sega Genesis, but I didn’t get the system when it was originally released with Altered Beast.  Then again, ToeJam and Earl was still released after that.  I’m not sure why I didn’t get this game.  All I know is that I wanted it.

Another nerdy PC game.  (It was available for DOS, but it looked fantastic on the Amiga.  So I wanted the Amiga.)  I didn’t even really play chess, but I guess I craved digitized violence.  Don’t be surprised if one day it’s revealed that this game paved the way for Mortal Kombat.  Speaking of kombat

This was one of the two arcade fighting games I was good at (the other was Virtua Fighter), so when it was announced that there would be a version for the Super Nintendo, I was ecstatic.  Then I realized how people must have felt when Pac-Man was finally released for the Atari 2600…  Here’s the SNES commercial:

cavern of the evil wizard

"I get to be on top!"

This game might look familiar, although its name is not.  That’ sbecause you probably saw Tom Hanks playing it in the movie Big.  Sadly, TCOTEW never existed in the real world… until now.   Try it by clicking here.

Think of it as my early Gimme Gimme present for you.

Drunken Recollection… Latitudes, Longitudes, And Flucrush

Everything's eventual... don't be in such a "flucrush."

This has to be one of the strangest bar arguments I ever got into.

It was at trivia, which is a rarer thing these days, and a question came up:

At what latitude is the north pole?

And at first I thought zero, but then we remembered the equator is zero.  So our (my) next “logical” jump was to say 180.  We paused on 90, but stuck with 180, and answered incorrectly.  We weren’t mad about that.  But it jump-started one of the loudest vocal challenges.  Degrees, and spheres, and pi (yes the pi without the e), and Tropic of Cancer, and Prime Meridian, and pumpkins were involved and shouted.  (The pumpkin still at the bar provided a nice example of the way longitude is measured.) No one jumped in; no one told us to quiet down; everyone looked.

I was going to explain the resolution of our semantics, but then I realized that’s even worse than what’s above.

So I’ll mention the invention of a new word – flucrush – and that it’s pronounced FLUH-KRUSH, not FLOO-KRUSH.  It has no meaning, but you’ll know when to use it.

Unofficial Trilogy… Halloween Horror Oreo Edition

I’m especially proud of this Unofficial Trilogy… The Halloween Horror Oreo:

Horror films always mess with our heads, even in the posters.

It’s very possible that you haven’t heard of any of these films, and if you did, it’s probably more likely that you’ve never seen them.  Watch them!  And in this order.  The Oreo-ness will become apparent soon enough.

The Brood

This David Cronenberg film proves my theory that size matters in regard to what’s scary.  I would explain what this film was about, but I fear (ha!) it would give too much away.  Cronenberg is known primarily for his “body horror” films, and this one is no different.  Watch it first to set the dark mood…

The Stuff

This goofier horror film about a dessert that turns people into zombies is the cream-filling needed to clean your palette after The Brood, and prepare you for…


This film is atmospheric as fuck.  And well-written.  And well-directed.  And well-acted, which is weird considering Matthew McConaughey is in it.  It’s about the sons of a serial killer that believes he’s carrying out God’s plans.  Man, is this dark movie good… unlike my write-ups on all these films.

So in closing, when you ask me:

Trick or treat?

You’ll have to watch this Unofficial Horror Oreo Trilogy to find out!

Drunken Recollection… The Case Of Two Santa Mummies!

There’s something fishy going on here, and it begins with this guy:

Yes, that says, "Santa's all stuffing and bones."

This was one of my favorite stories from my time spent living in Los Angeles, but now, it has elevated to simply one of my favorite stories.

(SIDENOTE: As a young writer, I remember reading many how-to articles about recycling your material to different papers.  At the time, I couldn’t see how that was possible.  Now?  Lesson learned.)

Anyhohoho, around Christmas of 1997, a pair of my friends came to visit, and they discovered an unbelievable article in New Times Los Angeles.  Here’s an excerpt (the sideways PDF of the article is after the jump, as well as what TV shows were being filmed at NBC in ’97, and a BONUS strange Detroit-centric article):

“I’ve been passing by this Santa, watching him do his little wave thing since I was a kid,” one officer, who asks not to be identified, says. “It wasn’t an easy thing to take, seeing the arm with that bone coming out and thinking there’s a real person in there. Lots of us, I think, really had a lot of affection for him, and to consider having to unplug him, stop the waving, take off that nice red suit and open him up to, well . . . no one wants to think of the Slacks n’ Such Santa as human remains.”

Crazy, right?  I’ve told people about this Santa Claus mummy for fourteen years.  And thankfully, while drunk at a one year old’s birthday party, when this tale was brought up again, my friend revealed he kept the article!  So over the next few days of all three of us emailing back and forth, a new light was shed upon the subject.

The author of The Case of the Disarming Santa, Peter Gilstrap, wrote the exact same article for New Times Phoenix one year earlier!  (To read the full article easier, click here.)

All the names and places remain exactly the same, except for the specific mentions of the individual cities.

So is the story real?

If I look up Laird Avenue, which is mentioned in both stories, what do I find?

How about any history of the store in front of which the Christmas corpse was found?

That sunovabitch double-dipped.  And he tricked all three of us hook, line, and chimney.  Can I blame him for spreading his own urban legend?  Not at all.  I wasn’t local.  I had no fond memories of any mechanical Santa Claus displays.  But I do have to applaud the audacity it took to try to pass the same story off in two cities it likely never occurred in.

It’s a regular fucking Christmas miracle…

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