[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Blip: Marvel’s Video Game Magazine

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Marvel Blip The Video Games Magazine Debut Issue #1 Comic Book Cover Matthew Laborteaux - February 1983Marvel should turn this into a movie

In 1983, comic book giant Marvel experimented with publishing a video game magazine called Blip. Here is the cover of the premiere issue, which features Little House on the Prairie star Matthew Laborteaux.

Wikipedia says this about Laborteaux, who was apparently a dedicated video game fan:

Laborteaux is a skilled video game player. In October 1981 he finished in tenth place for Centipede at the Atari, Inc. world championships, and in April 1982 became the United States Pac-Man champion at a People-sponsored tournament, with a score of 1,200,000.

Celebrities are people too.

Regarding the magazine itself: Blip retained the size, shape, weight, and thickness of a typical 1980s Marvel comic book. It was even printed on the same type of paper, likely using the same presses Marvel used for its superhero books at the time.

I haven’t thumbed through this magazine in years — it’s currently in storage — but I remember being sadly underwhelmed by its content when I bought this copy off eBay about a decade ago. I recall thinking that the printing technology did not reproduce photos very well, which did not lend itself to splashy, colorful video game ads or screenshots. Perhaps partly because of this, the mag only lasted seven issues.

The Internet Archive currently hosts scans of all seven issues of Blip.

[ From Blip, February 1983, cover]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever read any comics (strips or books) based on video games? What are your favorites?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Bill Cosby Loves the TI CC-40

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Texas Instruments TI CC-40 Compact Computer 40 Bill Cosby Ad - 1983“Try new metal puddin’ pops!”

When looking at the Texas Instruments CC-40’s capabilities, one wonders why companies even bothered in making tiny portable machines like this one (see also the Epson HX-20, HP-75C, and TRS-80 Pocket Computer, among others) in the early 1980s.

Sure, each one came equipped with a gee-whiz wow factor, but most of these diminutive PCs proved impractical to actually use. Limited memory, restrictive and unreliable data storage, and tiny LCDs capable of displaying either one or a few lines of text almost ensured that these products would remain technological novelties.

(As an aside, the only computer of this circa-1983 portable class that I find to be practical and truly useful was the TRS-80 Model 100, which many journalists relied on for decades)

After giving the question considerable thought, I recently realized why they did it. Companies like TI spent untold millions upon millions of dollars on R&D, design, tooling, and production, distribution, and marketing so that collectors of vintage computers, like me, would one day have more and varied specimens to collect.

To those companies, I say this: Thank you for wasting your money to make my hobby more fun.

See Also: Bill Cosby Fondles a TI-99/4A (Retro Scan, 2006)

[ From Popular Computing, June 1983, p.129 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the smallest vintage computer you’ve ever used?

Retro Scan of the Week: Bill Cosby Fondles a TI-99/4A

Monday, June 5th, 2006
Bill Cosby TI-99/4A Ad

Upon looking at this ad, I find myself wondering if Bill Cosby ever actually used a TI-99/4A. No, wait…has he ever owned one? Was it a gift from Texas Instruments for being their spokesman? Does he still have one sitting in his closet/attic/basement somewhere, or did he yard sale it in ’89? Did he ever turn it on? Did Bill Cosby ever write a BASIC program? Did he ever balance his budget with Household Budget Management? Did he play Munch Man or Alpiner? Did he curse the TI-99/4A joysticks for being terrible and throw them against the wall when he lost?

If you prick Bill Cosby, does he not bleed JELLO?

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