Great Big Story presents a short interview and documentary about Nolan Bushnell, the man who not only gave birth to the video game industry, as founder of Atari, but who also founded numerous other companies, including Pizza Time Theater, home to Chuck E. Cheese.
THE BEST 1980s
Galaga is one of our favorite ’80s arcade games. We still load it up on our MAME cabinet and play it. Now, it turns out our high score is threatened by artificial intelligence. Watch as LearnFun and PlayFun’s AI figures out the game’s tactics, and becomes an expert player.
Along with Don Bluth, game designer Rick Dyer created 1980s classics like Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace. He would later design a radical (and expensive) game system called “Halcyon.” Polygon explores the tale of the failed console that foretold today’s voice-based AI systems.
A limited-edition record packed with music and sound effects from classic Namco arcade games like Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Rally-X, Mappy, Galaga, Xevious and more. Each disc is pressed in sweet “pixel explosion” vinyl, and comes with an 8-page booklet about the games.
Kevin Lieber of Vsauce2 got his hands on a vintage 1980s Telcon Zorba, an early “portable” CP/M-based PC, and demonstrates just how far we’ve come in the last 30 years, along with a little round of ZORK, still considered to be one of the greatest adventure games of all time.
We love the way that Lake Street Dive incorporates the trumpet and swinging rhythms into their cover version of the 1985 A-ha classic, which we’re so used to hearing played on synthesizers. We’re also impressed with vocalist Rachael Price’s ability to hit that high note.
If there was one new sound that turned up more than any other back in ’80s music, it was the Yamaha DX7 and its cutting-edge FM synthesis. Polyphonic explores what made the DX7’s sound and tech unique, and some of the many artists who incorporated it in their music.
Mashup maker Darth Blender chopped up bits and pieces of classic sci-fi, superhero, and fantasy footage to create an awesome retro take on the Avengers: Infinity War trailer, had the movie come out sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s. I-ron Man is the best.
8 Bit Universe presents an amazing chiptune cover version of the Muse classic Knights of Cydonia that sounds like it could have come straight out of a late ’80s side-scrolling shooter. We’re thinking something like R-TYPE could have easily used this as its soundtrack.
For anyone who grew up watching TV in the ’80s and ’90s, the Cheers theme song will immediately bring back fond memories. But let this version play, and things get a whole lot less cheerful. We don’t care if everybody knows our name. There’s no way we’re going to this bar.
The Floppotron plays a song which feels like it was tailor-made to be performed on old floppy and hard disk drives – Eurythmics’ 1981 classic Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This). The synth sounds just work perfectly on the computer hardware, and who are we to disagree?
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross recorded a fantastic tribute to John Carpenter’s theme from Halloween, adding their own haunting style, while preserving the synth sound that made it a classic. From the upcoming John Carpenter’s ‘Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998.
The always educational Captain Disillusion takes a break from debunking viral videos and questionable crowdfunding to kick off a new series about the masters of visual effects. The first episode looks at the ahead-of-their-time visuals in the Back to the Future trilogy.
Director Fred China and his team are currently raising funds for a documentary about the creation of Tim Burton’s 1988 classic Beetlejuice, which features amazing, never before seen archive footage of production of the film’s clever visuals. (Thanks John!)
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