25 February 2002

Today's finds (books)

[Originally posted to rec.games.video.classic.]

I don't get to go thrifting much these days, but decided to hit at least one today. This turned out to be a good decision. No games in sight, but I found the 1984 Comsumer Reports Buying Guide and Don't Overdo with Video Games!. I may already have the former (I'll have to check), but not the latter. So far I've only had a chance to glance at them, but here are some notes.

The 1984 CR Buying Guide doesn't give ratings to the consoles, just reviews. All the info is condensed from the Nov 1982 and Jan 1983 issues of Consumer Reports, if you care to search those out. They review the Astrocade, Atari 5200, Atari VCS, Colecovision, Intellivision, and Odyssey^2. They also review a few games for each console in just a few sentences. I love what they say about 2600 Pac-Man: "The graphics aren't quite as good as in the arcade version, and the unresponsive joystick limits the player's control."

The full title of the second book is actually What to Do When Your Mom or Dad Says . . . Don't Overdo with Video Games!. It's by Joy Wilt Berry with illustrations by Bartholomew, and is the Weekly Reader version of "The Surival Series for Kids." (This means it has a flipside that's WTDWYMODS . . . We Can't Afford It!.) The illustrations feature a young boy being constantly tempted by what looks like an orange monster from Pac-Man, but with arms and a mouth. My favorite part is that all the games the boy plays are part of the fictional Gorp series of games. (Note that this book is copyright 1983 and Gorf debuted in 1981.) There's Gorp, Gorp Zapper, Combat Gorp, Space Gorp, Wizard Gorp, Star Gorp, Ms. Gorp, War Gorp, and Super Gorp. All we need now is Gorp Deluxe, Gorp Plus, Baby Gorp, Gorp Junior, Gorp Bros., and Gorp-o-tron, and we'll be set. 8)

[An hour later, I followed up with the following post.]
I gave it a better look. Here are some quotes I've added to my random signature file. William Cassidy and other O2 enthusiasts beware; they weren't kind to it.

"Gone are the simple home video games of the 1970's. Current machines have micorprocessor 'brains' that endow them with computer-like speed and sophistication."
     -- Consumer Reports on home video games (1984)

"The graphics aren't quite as good as in the arcade version, and the unresponsive joystick limits the player's control."
     -- Consumer Reports on Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 (1984 Buying Guide)

"The list of games available for the Atari 5200 should lengthen rapidly . . . ."
     -- Consumer Reports on the Atari 5200 (1984 Buying Guide)

"Here's another challenge to your ability to master the controls before they frustrate you."
     -- Consumer Reports on Night Stalker for the Intellvision (1984 Buying Guide)

"The only computer language available . . . is "Assembler" -- a cumbersome language of little practical utility on this equipment."
     -- Consumer Reports on the Odyssey² (1984 Buying Guide)

"The machine's [joysticks] worked reasonably well. But that was was about the only good thing the panelists could find in the Odyssey 2."
     -- Consumer Reports on the Odyssey² (1984 Buying Guide)

"Several panelists wondered why a machine with such potential was handicapped with an array of such crude games."
     -- Consumer Reports on the Odyssey² (1984 Buying Guide)