[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Tiger Game.com $10 Rebate

November 30th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Tiger Game.com handheld game console $10 rebate coupon from back of cereal box - 1997-1998I need to start a historical coupon collection

Apparently I ripped this Tiger Game.com $10 rebate coupon off the back of some unknown cereal box around 1997 or 1998. I found it recently in the papers cleaned out from my childhood desk.

The Tiger Game.com seemed like a neat machine when I first read about it — with its touch screen and potential for "Internet access" — but it ended up being a major let-down.

I did eventually get a Game.Com — I could have sworn I got it on clearance at K-Mart or Toys'R'Us (but I didn't mention that in this earlier post)…or maybe it was a birthday present from my dad in 1998. Despite buying many Game.com games over the next few years on clearance, I pretty much only played the built-in Solitaire game on it. But that was fun enough.

I remember thinking something along the lines of "For the price I paid for it, it's a pretty good solitaire machine." So maybe I did get my first Game.com on clearance. It's sad that my memory is fading like this. I can typically remember how and when I got everything in my collection. I will have to look through my papers later and see if I have a receipt for it. That could shed some light on things.

See my previous Retro Scan posts about the Game.com (listed below) for more of my stories about this odd console. It's the only video game console I ever used to call a BBS. Now that's odd.

[ From a random cereal box, circa 1997-1998 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you buy a Tiger Game.Com in the 1990s? What did you think about it?

See Also:
Tiger Game.com (RSOTW, 2010)
Game.com Internet Module (RSOTW, 2012)

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Advent of the Mouse Wheel

September 28th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Early Microsoft Intellimouse Intellimouse Trackball advertisement - 1997"In fact, don't even come in on Monday."

It's amazing to think back to a time when the now-common mouse scroll wheel was billed as a labor saving device.

But that is exactly what's going on in this early ad for Microsoft's Intellimouse and Intellimouse TrackBall. The Intellimouse series, first introduced in 1996, popularized the scroll wheel.

(By the way, the first mouse with a scroll wheel was actually the Mouse Systems ProAgio in 1995 — see this timeline I created in 2008 for more neat mouse history.)

A long time ago, people thought modernization and labor saving devices would lead to shorter workdays and work weeks. As someone once said somewhere (fuzzy attribution, I know), it turns out that productivity enhancements cease to be productivity enhancements as soon as they are ubiquitous. We just acclimate to them and expect more output for the same amount of work time.

Oh well. Keep on scrollin'.

[ From PC World, November 1997, p.199]

Discussion Topic of the Week: When did you first get a mouse with a scroll wheel on it? How did you feel about it at the time?

See Also:

The First Microsoft Mouse (RSOTW, 2007)
TrackMan Marble FX (RSOTW, 2008)
IBM ScrollPoint Mouse (RSOTW, 2010)

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Mega Man 8

February 16th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Capcom Mega Man 8 Sega Saturn advertisement - GamePro February 1997You are getting sleeeeepy

Mega Man 8 remains notable in my mind for its resistance to polygonal 3D graphics at a time when the media perceived that as a requirement for sales success (in the PlayStation-dominated console era). I remember renting it and being impressed by its fluidity and gameplay, although it was too difficult and frustrating for me to play for more than ten minutes in a sitting.

But then again, all the side-scrolling Mega Man games have been that way for me. I'm still partial to Mega Man 2, 3, and X, though.

[ From GamePro - February 1997, p.115 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite entry in the main-line Mega Man (1-10) series?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Fighters MegaMix

November 10th, 2014 by Benj Edwards

Sega Saturn Fighters MegaMix advertisement - 1997Even polygons get mad sometimes

[ From GamePro - August 1997, rear cover]

Discussion Topic of the Week: If you're old enough to remember it in the arcade, what did you think of Virtua Fighter the first time you saw it?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Jaguar on Clearance (Atari Jaguar Turns 20)

November 11th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Atari Jaguar and Jaguar CD on Sale in TigerDirect Catalog - 1997Atari Jaguar on Sale in 1997: "Includes RISC Processors!"

The Atari Jaguar launched at retail 20 years ago this Friday — November 15, 1993.

In April 1994, I received a Jaguar for my birthday, and it was one of the most exciting days of my life. That Christmas, my parents gave me Doom for the Jaguar, and I had a blast. After that, not many truly great games came out for the Jaguar (I'd say Tempest 2000 is the system-exclusive standout).

Partly because of that lack of great software, the Jaguar sunk fast — especially in the face of strong competition from Sony, Sega, and Nintendo (throw in some 3DO and Neo-Geo in there as well). The mid-1990s was a hard time to be a video game console.

By 1997, the Jaguar was toast. If I recall correctly, TigerDirect bought up a huge inventory of unsold Jaguar and Jaguar CD systems and sold them through their catalog.

This scan is a page from a 1997 TigerDirect catalog advertising the Jaguar for a mere $59.99 and the CD add-on for $89.99. Lucky for me, this is how I bought my Jaguar CD system, along with the advertised ultra-cheap game packs. CD exclusives Myst and Cybermorph 2 were worth the purchase alone.

So happy birthday, Jag. Sorry I can't write more about you now. But I've written a lot about you on VC&G in the past. To read more, check out the links at the bottom of this post.

[ From TigerSoftware Winter PC Sale Book 1997, Vol VII Issue 2, p.2 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite Atari Jaguar game?

See Also: Rayman and Frustration (RSOTW, 2013)
See Also: Atari Jaguar Debut Photo (RGOTW, 2013)
See Also: War + Mech = "Kinda Cool" (RSOTW, 2007)
See Also: Anatomy of a Young Collector's Room (2006)
See Also: The First Atari Jaguar Press Release (2005)

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Six Game Boy Tongues

April 15th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Nintendo Game Boy Pocket Six Colors Tongues Ad - 1997So that's what a translucent tongue looks like.

Nintendo's second round of colored Game Boy units, this time pocket-sized. And over a year before the iMac, mind you.

[ From GamePro, April 1997, p.4-5 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What is your favorite Game Boy game?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Final Four '97

April 1st, 2013 by Benj Edwards

MCA Mindscape NCAA Basketball Final Four '97 1997 Ad advertisement - 1997It's that time of year again…

I'm not a big fan of sports, and I'm not a big fan of sports games (Blades of Steel for the NES is probably my favorite — off the top of my head). But having grown up in the heart of ACC basketball country surrounded by great and once-great teams (UNC, Duke, NCSU, Wake Forest, etc.), I have a soft spot for the ACC and NCAA college basketball tournaments. I tend to watch a couple games a year.

So I can't tell you much about NCAA Basketball Final Four '97, because I've never played it. The closest I've come was NBA Live '97 for the SNES, and that was pretty fun for a basketball game.

[ From GamePro, April 1997, p.35 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite basketball video game of all time?

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VC&G Anthology Interview: Nick Newhard on Monolith's Blood (2008)

October 30th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Monolith Blood Screenshot

Back in 2007, I intended to write an article about the 10th anniversary of Monolith's Blood, one of my personal favorite computer games. Accordingly, I contacted Nick Newhard, the designer and lead programmer of Blood, and arranged for an interview.

VC&G Anthology BadgeFor whatever reason, my interview with Newhard didn't take place until April 2008 via email. (That's probably why I shelved the project.) Since it's almost Halloween — and it's the 15th anniversary of Blood this year — I thought I'd share this little gem from my archives. It should be a treat for any Blood fans that might be out there.

I'm presenting this interview a little more sparsely laid-out than I usually do just for the sake of expediency. Some day I will write more about Blood, but until then, I hope this nugget of history will tide you over.

Get Blood

By the way, you can buy Blood on GOG.com these days for $5.99 (price at present). It runs great in DOSBox on a fast machine — make sure you crank up the in-game display resolution for greatest effect. The game is amazing in 1440×900 VESA mode on a widescreen monitor.

I heartily endorse the thorough and frequent playing of Blood, as it is one of the greatest PC games of all time — in my opinion, at least.

[ Continue reading VC&G Anthology Interview: Nick Newhard on Monolith's Blood (2008) » ]

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] This Scrape's For You

August 20th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Sega Saturn World Series Baseball 98 1998 Advertisement - 1997World Series Baseball 98 for the Sega Saturn

I've written about gratuitous and graphic video game advertising of the 1990s more than a few times over the years, but I never get tired of revisiting this wildly bombastic era in consumer marketing.

Here we see a nice ad for World Series Baseball 98 for the Sega Saturn, complete with front-and-center forearm scrape. I don't know about you, but this makes me want to play baseball. Injury sells.

See Also: Broken Tetrisphere Teeth (2010)
See Also: Super Mario World 2 (2009)

[ From GamePro, October 1997, rear cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Would a graphic ad like this make you more or less likely to play a certain video game?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Game.com Internet Module

March 26th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Tiger Game.com Internet Module Box Front and Back - 1997Tiger Game.com Internet Module Box

Two years ago, I posted a scan of the Tiger Game.com instruction manual. Today, I bring you the box for that console's little-understood Internet cartridge, released in 1997.

The box you see above included a Game.com serial cable (which allowed the console to be hooked up to an external RS-232 Hayes compatible PC modem) and a cartridge with the "Internet" software on it. In truth, the cartridge contained little more than ASCII text-based terminal emulator software.

In my previous Game.com Retro Scan, I described the Game.com's Internet connectivity, which I will quote below:

The Internet on the Game.com wasn't nearly as exciting as it sounds. Sure, it supported "checking your email" and uploading high scores to the Tiger website, but a user had to access the 'Net through a text-only terminal emulator cartridge — and then only via a serial cable that linked to a stand-alone dial-up modem.

It was a messy business. Being text-only, the user had to type in commands to whatever ISP the user chose (assuming they provided shell access) with the stylus on a tiny on-screen keyboard. Tiger did provide its own ISP that made the process slightly more user friendly. While far from practical, having a terminal emulator was an amusing capability. I used the Game.com call some BBSes around in 1997 for a chuckle.

As you can see, the Game.com's Internet feature wasn't very practical or useful, but it certainly serves as an amusing footnote in game console history.

By the way, Tiger once offered (or planned to offer) its own Tiger brand external modem for use with the Game.com. I'm not sure if it ever made it intro full production, but it is extremely rare either way. If anyone out there has seen one, please let me know.

[ From Tiger Game.com Internet box (module 71-529), circa 1997 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What was the first video game console you bought that could communicate with the Internet?

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