Monday, January 21, 2013

"Solar Fox", 1983.

If you like this blog, you'll love World 1-1 and their "From the ads of the past, games of yesteryear" series. Since discovering it a few days ago I've been catching up on literally years of back-posting there, as its author essentially does everything I do here, only more so. Why just analyse the ad when you can also give a balanced critique of the game in question in its historical context, with gameplay videos to boot! In light of that work, with my trivial observations about strange artwork and unusual word choices I feel like Duchamp painting the moustache on the Mona Lisa. (... Actually, that's a role I'm content with.)
Nonetheless, while things have ground to a halt here with me busy reading over there, the long tail has delivered me my 5000th reader here -- in honour of which, I'd better give you folks a post! This one is a guest submission from my only regular commentator, Matthew Harris. You, also, can make guest submissions of game ad scans or related materials. I'm still processing my partner's parents' garage sale load of comics for new ads, but eventually those, too, will run out. And then what? Get on with my life, you say?

SOLAR FOX
SPEED AND STRATEGY ARE ALL YOU HAVE AND THEY JUST MIGHT BE ENOUGH!

EARTH IS DESPERATE FOR ENERGY. SOLAR FOX, YOU'RE MANKIND'S ONLY HOPE! GET THE SOLAR CELLS EARTH NEEDS TO SURVIVE. JUST WATCH OUT FOR THOSE DEADLY FIREBALLS.

Moon Unit Two: THERE ARE - LIKE MILLIONS OF THEM SOLAR FOX. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DOOO?

YOU TAKE EVASIVE ACTION AND START STREAKING THROUGH 26 FIELDS OF SOLAR CELLS. YOU'LL MAKE IT ON SKILL AND GUTS.

MUT: "AWESOME."
MUT: "GNARLY!"
Solar Fox: "DON'T WORRY"
AND IF YOU'RE REALLY FAST YOU'LL SKIP AHEAD TO EVEN TOUGHER FIELDS!

LOOKS LIKE HOME FREE. BUT WAIT! THE SUPREME TEST AWAITS IN THE MYSTERIOUS CHALLENGE FIELDS. ... WILL YOU MAKE IT?
MUT: LIKE - CAN I DRIVE?
SF: (WHAT A SPACE CADET!)

WILL YOU SAVE EARTH? FIND OUT
GET BEHIND THE JOYSTICK OF SOLAR FOX!

Sadly as the dated gen(d)re conventions of the ad reveal, the fox in the game's name is not the stone cold fox in the dotted dress, but the grey fox gentleman behind the throttle.

The quest for solar cells Earth needs to survive seems as timely as ever; "streaking" however no longer means the same thing it did in the late '70s, though I suspect the use here is in keeping with our current usage. (Streaking through 26 fields of solar cells... would require some judicious application of sunscreen.)

I'm not sure what the author was thinking with the perpetually bored-looking Roy Lichtenstein lady uttering then cutting-edge valley-girl-isms. Suffice it to say this ad could better present a game that everyone can enjoy.

I was unable to find any compelling hooks about this particular game on Mobygames or KLOV, so the analysis will have to stall at that shallow point. Wow! Five thousand views! Here's to a less half-baked ten thousand!