Nov 7, 2017

Anime In The 80s: Tobor The 8th Man

Tobor The 8th Man
TCJ / Eiken Studio
54 years ago today, Tobor The 8th Man made its debut on Tokyo Broadcasting System.  The story focuses on Detective Tobor, an officer who is killed by gangsters.  His life force is transferred into an android body by Professor Genius, which makes Tobor impervious to bullets and gives him the ability to shape shift and to run at top speeds.  This anime was ahead of its time with elements that can be seen in works such as The Six-Million Dollar Man, Robocop, Mega Man decades before their existence.

My first experience with this anime was in December, 1988.  I had just been given a VCR for my bedroom as a Christmas present (one of the best gifts I had ever been given, then or since), and my grandmother bought me a few tapes from the drugstore so I would have something to watch on it.  The one that jumps out from my memory was Tobor.

Not only was this unusual for the fact that the cartoon was black and white, and that it had an other-world feel (it would be years before I had ever heard of the word "anime"), but the tape was released in an oversized box that also contained a bag of microwave popcorn.  It was released by New Age Video in their Kiddy Popcorn Classics series, which was comprised of public domain cartoons packaged with popcorn.  What more could an 8 year old ask for!

I've looked for this particular VHS tape in the years since, but no luck.  In fact, this tiny gif is the largest photo I could find to confirm that this wasn't a figment of my imagination.  The series has since found its way to the Dollar DVD rack, and many episodes have been uploaded to YouTube, though you'll have to supply your own popcorn for each.

The entire series can be seen on YouTube from

Nov 4, 2017

Amiga Tetris

Spectrum Holobyte (1988)
Tetris was created in 1984 by Soviet programmer Alexey Pajitnov.  It didn't become a household name until Nintendo acquired the license to port it and pack it with the new Game Boy system.  However, in the years before Nintendo, many different versions of Tetris found their way to consoles and computers across the world.   One of the first was an Amiga port by Spectrum Holobyte, which included Russian imagery and music that became synonymous with the game.

Oct 28, 2017

8-Bit Arcade

8-Bit Arcade
Wendy's Kids Meal: Design Your World
Fast food kids meal toys are usually themed after movies, cartoons or toys that the restaurant has licensed.  Despite this, some of the most memorable toys throughout my lifetime have been their own unique creation.  The most recent of these sets are the Wendy's "Design Your World" toys.

These are very simple toys - just four cardboard walls, a floor, and a plastic frame to use to put it together.  Each toy also comes with a plastic figure and a sheet of stickers that can be used to decorate the building and to turn your plastic figure into either a boy or a girl.

The 8-Bit Arcade is my favorite of the toys in this set. While not featuring any trademarks or specific games, the inside walls of the arcade features a claw machine, a space shooter, a racing game, and other retro video game imagery.  Very cool!

Oct 27, 2017

Atari Shop

Atari Shop
Las Palmas de Gran Canariane, Spain
This photo was taken earlier this year by Roman Dudek and was shared with AtariAge.  The store, which closed sometime in the early 80's, is in an abandoned shopping mall on The Canary Islands in Spain.  Presently, it is used as a storage facility for a local furniture store.

Oct 22, 2017

Candy Command

Missile Command Halloween Costume
Collegeville (1982)
During the time of peak Atari, children would dress up as their favorite game characters for Halloween.  Since most of the characters of the day were just a solid block, costume companies has to get creative.  This Missile Command costume features the unnamed character that appears on the arcade flyer and on the Atari 2600 cartridge label.