California Games and the Atari Lynx arrived at the end of the ’80s in this crazy moment when beach culture was immensely popular. Movies, TV shows and music gravitated to sunny settings, surfboards, and gnarly neon colors. Saved By The Bell’s “Bayside High”, those bodacious bros Bill & Ted (who coincidentally have an Atari Lynx game of their own) and even the Golden Girls, all contributed to popularizing beach culture during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Atari Lynx proved to be different. It was robust, advanced, smart and edgy. It had better graphics, better sound, a backlit screen, it was in color, and it threw the low expectations of groupthink back in the face of the followers. It was rebellious. When I became aware of the Lynx and how impressive it was, I set out on a mission to get one in time for summer. On weekends I would go to Sears or Toys ‘Я’ Us and just stare at the Lynx behind showcase glass.
There’s a wonderful story behind this picture. It ends with a man professing a life-altering experience, and begins with the marquee on top of that very first “Chuck E. Cheese” skee-ball machine in the photo. If you tilt your head and squint you can see that it says “Chuck E. Cheese Roll”. A few years ago I was speaking at an entrepreneurialism event in South Florida with Dr. Gene N. Landrum, the man pictured on the right in the above photo. What happened next became part of a really heartwarming story.
Have you ever had Ramune Soda? It’s one of the most popular brands of carbonated beverages in Japan, famous around the world for its assortment of fruit flavors and unique glass bottle design with a marble stopper and plunger mechanism that holds the drink in place. Ramune is an icon of Japanese pop culture, and has become a popular beverage of choice in American arcades, particularly those specializing in Japanese import games and Otaku life.
This is the first of a four-part anthology chronicling my lifetime of adventures with California Games and the Atari Lynx. It’s being published in four chapters over the course of the Summer. I hope you will enjoy this first chapter, a review of the game. California Games was released with the Lynx as its pack-in title in September, 1989. It features four different “extreme games” that can be selected from the title screen – BMX, Surfing, Halfpipe and Footbag – each with a fast-paced arcade feel, allowing just 1 minute and 30 seconds to swing tricks and successfully finish with a new high score.
Lost Ark Video Games is steeped in arcade culture with a really cool vibe all it’s own. Walls overflow with old Game Boys, Retron consoles, and used cartridges for Atari, Nintendo, and Sega systems, but there’s a lot of stuff at Lost Ark that you wouldn’t normally find. The store has a feel best described as “retro-otaku.” As you walk further into the store, you see that Lost Ark also has a retro arcade that includes classic arcade games, pinball machines, and one of the largest collections of Japanese candy cab import games in the United States. General admission to the arcade is usually $5, and all coin-op machines are on free-play.
This time, we revisit an episode of The Retroist Podcast about one of the most memorable John Hughes films from the 1980s, Planes Trains and Automobiles. The film was released on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1987. Planes Trains and Automobiles starred comedic legends Steve Martin as Neal Page and John Candy as Del Griffith, with the two as a traveling “Odd Couple” who share a three-day odyssey of misadventures trying to get Neal home to Chicago from New York City in time for Thanksgiving dinner with his family.
Those awesome people at Intellivision Productions were kind enough to send us an Intellivision Flashback system last week. Obviously, as soon as it arrived we cracked it open, sorted through our overlays, hooked it to the TV and started playing. I was going to post a full review of the Intellivision Flashback later this month, but couldn’t help posting a bunch of videos to Instagram of our friend Keith playing the Intellivision about 30 seconds after we pulled it out of the box.
“You are now cleared for departure to the 21st century!” bellowed across the speaker when first boarding Horizons, a closed attraction that once served as EPCOT’s living thesis of tomorrow. The “tomorrow” EPCOT envisioned was both ambitious and optimistic. When EPCOT Center opened on October 1st, 1982 it really was like you were experiencing the future.
“Great eras live forever.” We built this website with that in our hearts. When we remember Atari, often times we remember much more than games. We remember the music, the movies, the feel of the moment we lived in. We’ve created a video to express our love to something that cannot be put in words. It’s our homage to that moment, an overture that attempts to capture everything we love most about Atari and the era it defined. We love Atari, and we hope you do too.
Led by co-founder Robert Noyce, Fairchild Semiconductor began as a start-up company whose radical innovations would help make the United States a leader in both space exploration and the personal computer revolution, changing the way the world works, plays, and communicates. Robert Noyce, nicknamed “the Mayor of Silicon Valley,” rejected the corporate hierarchy and empowered his employees. Noyce’s microchip ultimately re-shaped the future, launching the world into the Information Age. As the Fairchild Eight began to leave the company, the companies they started (often referred to as “Fairchildren”) would lead to much of the exponential growth of what would become Silicon Valley.