It's 1983 and guess who has video game fever?
No, not just Archie, guess again... that's right, the entire United States has caught the mania for video games! And who can we count on to capitalize on this new craze just at the peak of ripeness? Marvel Comics, that's who.
BLIP was another one of Marvel's attempts to break into the youth market that even then was abandoning comic books for MTV, Michael Jackson albums, and other pursuits that didn't involve muscular super-champions. As a top notch piece of lifestyle reportage BLIP might not make the cut, but if you're looking for a snapshot of a time when coin-operated amusement machines captured the attention of a nation, this magazine is indispensible. For one thing, look at all the great stars they managed to talk into posing in front of video games! Why, it's Matthew Laborteaux, star of Little House On The Prairie! You might think that video games and Little House don't mix, but that show was jam-packed with so many anachronisms... sooner or later a Tron game was gonna show up in Olsen's General Store, you just know it.
Wow, Bruce Boxleitner's publicist sent them a publicity photo! And David Wallace from TV's "Facts Of Life" takes time off the set to show us his patented Zaxxon technique of "not looking at the screen". But it isn't all Hollywood glamor and glitz at BLIP!
BLIP concentrates on news you can actually use, like tips on winning the Atari home version of MISSILE COMMAND. Here's our tip; take the $30 the cartridge cost and go play 120 games of MISSILE COMMAND at the arcade. It's got that awesome trac-ball.
Also BLIP features insight into what's happening with the top video game players in the nation!
Years before he appeared in the documentary film KING OF KONG, Twin Galaxies manager Walt Day poses, minus referee outfit, to explain how he got into the business of chronicling video game high scores, and how for a brief shining moment Ottumwa Iowa was the video game capital of the world.
In industry news, we find out about the ARCADIA 2001, a late doomed-from-the-start entry to the console wars. BLIP wisely foregoes mentioning its substandard graphics and game play, instead keeping a positive mental attitude by extolling the virtues of its combination joystick and bargain price tag. But hey, I can hear you asking, this is published by Marvel Comics, so... where are the comics?
They're right here, my friends. Our plumbing pal Mario would spend the next two decades becoming Nintendo's star performer, but back in 1983 he was merely the mustachioed straight man to Donkey Kong, here doing what he does best in his first (and only?) Marvel Comics appearance.
Also illustrations by our old pal Gary Brodsky show Marvel's willingness to give new talent a shot at the big time, even artists who at the peak of video game frenzy are unable to find photo reference for video games. Jesus, Gary. But what does the future hold for video games?
At some point in the future we'll be able to hook our video game systems up to the phone line through a "slot"! I can't wait. Wow, Atari 5200 games played using, what, 300 baud modems? Talk about lag!
But for my money the most entertaining thing about old video games weren't the games themselves, but the ads.
Here in a well-crafted piece of completely false advertising Mattel claims that their M Network series of Atari carts were "exciting". This blatant, shameless lie was responsible for demolishing the faith and trust of an entire generation of Americans. (full disclosure- their "Armor Ambush" cart was actually very entertaining.)
Comic art legend Jack Davis totally earns his paycheck here depicting the Parker Brothers videogame "Reactor". I can guarantee you that NOBODY was EVER this excited about "Reactor." Even in an era when video games were little colored blobs bleeping and blooping and knocking against other little colored blobs, "Reactor" was considered a bleeping failure.
And yet for all its innovation and excitement, this was not Marvel's first BLIP experience - BLIP having been a part of the Marvel Universe for decades!
What's your dread secret, BLIP? Something about PAC-MAN for the 2600 sucking? Landfills full of E.T. cartridges? Coin-op arcades across the nation shutting their doors? Say it ain't so, BLIP!!!
PREVIOUS STUPID COMICS
NEXT STUPID COMICS
BACK TO STUPID COMICS INDEX
BACK TO MAIN INDEX