March 16, 2004

Let’s travel back in time to an era when people spiked their hair pink and wore tight black leather to the grocery store. On the television airwaves, a series depicting a crack commando team featuring a mohawked fellow would fire about 8000 rounds of ammunition at the bad guys during rush hour and not kill a single bystander… nor the villains involved. TRON was the hottest movie ever as Cindy Morgan sexed up the screen in that blue glowin’ spandex. Yes, the 1980’s rocked and you too can relive those memories with NAMCO TV GAMES!

Ahhh, those arcade memories of old. A smokey environment filled with the scent of burgers and fries. The beeps and squeaks of arcade machines jingle in the air. Badass Gowan and Pat Benatar rocks in the background. The 1980’s arcades kicked ass. Like a pack of chimps rustling towards a tree haven full of bright yellow bananas… people went “ape” over arcades and specifically that bright yellow fellow Pac-Man. The games featured in the NAMCO TV GAMES are an excellent historical collection from that golden era. Now you can relive the magic with a mini-arcade stick, which connects right into TV or VCR. Yep that’s it. No friggin’ Cube or Box or Station to screw around with. All you gotta do is plug this baby in and WHAM! I can hear that A-Team theme jingle once again.

It’s amazing how NAMCO was such a huge contributor of fun in my youth. Their list of arcade hits during that era is unprecedented. From the Pac-Man series to Pole Position 1 & 2 to the Galaxian/Galaga series… I could go on and on. So what games are included? What could possibly sex up your life? We’ll let’s list the heat…

1 – Pac-Man - 1980 – The first arcade game to bring the sexes together and the first arcade/video game character. Some would even say he’s the unofficial mascot for the entire arcade industry. Thank you Toru Iwatani for that golden treasure! Need I say more? Oh okay… let’s write it in a fun Japanese-English kinda way! Legend arcade bringer! Youth bearer of joyfulness! Much happiness rewarded!

2 – Galaxian – 1979 – The first game to ever feature fully produced 8-bit, RGB colour graphics. Destroy the Galaxians with your fully loaded laser base. A great game that took the concept to Space Invaders and exploded it to a whole new level. Great shooter fun!

3- Rally-X – 1980 – Based on true racing experiences! Rip through a maze in your souped up speedster as you clear levels by collecting flags and dodging rival cars. Just like Nascar! In reality it’s a nifty little maze game that is very addicting.

4 – Dig Dug – 1982 – Cute anime Dig Dug must mine tunnels to engage the cuddly Pookas by shoving a hose of air up their asses and popping the buggers into oblivion. The graphics are very good; the idea is very frightening and translated well into a great game. Good times! Good times!

5 – Bosconian – 1981 – Time to bust a few caps into them green Bosconian space stations threatening the peace. Dodge asteroids, blow up space baddies and lay the smackdown on those ugly green boogers. Deep space thrills and a challenging title to rack some points on.

The packaging is beautiful. I’m sure that NAMCO and Jakks Pacific could have thrown the gadget into a brown box with the words in marker “NAMCO TV GAMES” scribbled on it would have sold like hot porn, but the love and care that comes from the packaging is an arcade lover’s dream. Bright and colourful, it features graphics of the games and beautiful cabinet side style art. The back features descriptions of the games plus the frightening words… “A blast from Mom & Dad’s past!” Shit… I’m gettin’ old.

Unpackaged this little game device is sexy. Nice big “phat” controller with cabinet side style art on it, brings tears to your eyes. The controller is very comfortable and responsive. Again, a hell of a lot of care went into the design to reflect the arcade cabinets of the era. You will need 4 AA batteries, which are inserted into the bottom of the unit. RCA cables are connected into your VCR or TV for play. Easy to hook up and easy to play and that’s the attraction.

Graphics are recreated accurately. The games does use the entire TV dimensions and are not squished to reflect the original arcade monitors whose width comprised about half of your screen. Rally-X and Bosconian both feature radar screens that have been superimposed over top the action on the bottom right hand screen. Originally, this radar had its own dedicated space to the right. I don’t know why the change in design, it seems odd but the minor alteration doesn’t affect the game play in anyway whatsoever. Sound is close but not dead on. This is not a complaint. I repeat – this is not a complaint. Only a hardcore geek would bitch about the TV dimension use, radar or minor inaccurate sound issues and I know you’re not a geek… Are you? Cause this little package of heaven is just too damn cool for you! Let me ask you… Are you cccoooolllll enough for this product, huh? Are you punk?

The game play is awesome. All you got is the cool 4-way arcade stick and one button. No X, Y, Z, Q, W, O, P, T, L buttons to confuse the shit outta ya. This little gadget will bring back memories and provide hours of joy. You won’t be pissed off by camera angles or poor control or shitty texturing… yadda, yadda, yadda. Pure classic arcade joy. The perfect games to bust out during parties or family reunions or when your buddies pop over to compete in a little old school hi-score action.

I can’t recommend this TV game unit enough. It’s a self-contained, bundle of joy. You can throw it in your bag and take it to your friends place or to Grandma’s or wherever and relive those golden days of yore. The fun doesn’t stop there. Jakks Pacific has announced that their license agreement with NAMCO has extended. This kicks ass cause their next product in the NAMCO line will be a MS. PAC-MAN unit featuring of course the beloved Miss alongside Pole Position, Galaga, Mappy and Xevious. Start your drooling now.

Important Note: If you see this baby at the local shopping complex, pick it up immediatly. I went to Wal-Mart to pick up my unit were six existed. The next day I went back and BAM! They were gone...

- Kelley