Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"G.I. Joe", NES, 1991.

OK, so let's get this blog back underway. I got sidetracked investigating monetizing these blogs with (relevant!) ads and referrals to nerdy products I talk up here (candidly and objectively.) My research yielded two things: first, that though Blogger talks about integration with Amazon vending, this program was actually hamstrung and, essentially, you can't get there form here; and second, that given the quantities of traffic I enjoy on my two most active blog projects, dedicated activity on my part might someday net me up to $10/month in revenues. I suppose this also in a roundabout way also explains why my celebrity blogging career never took off. In any case, I digress.

Children of the '80s, I salute you. This appears to be the final game published by Taxan, though the developers at KID kept chugging along for quite some time over widely disparate territory (bishoujo games, a truck driving simulator, and of course Pepsiman). All quite Japanese in texture, barring this extraordinary exception concerning Real American Heroes.

YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE WAITING FOR G.I. JOE(r)

So is that blue-hooded hell raiser, Cobra Commander(r).

But you can help squash this terrorist and his boys, with the new G.I. Joe Video Game for the Nintendo. Your mission: lead Snake Eyes(tm), Blizzard(tm), Duke(tm), Captain Grid-Iron(tm) and Rock & Roll(tm) in do-or-die combat against Cobra Commander and the COBRA(tm) forces.

Choose your G.I. Joe character, your weapons and start blasting your way through Antarctica, the Sahara, the jungle, and worst of all, the sewers of New York. Get to level six, get Cobra Commander, and it's mission accomplished. Of course, your first mission is to get the new G.I. Joe Video game.

(Apologies for the scan misalignment; there were colour separation issues with my printed source that I tried to fix and... it's complicated.)

I only played one GI Joe video game during my childhood and strangely, it was not this one but rather Epyx's earlier title (heh, of the same name) for the Apple 2 and Commodore 64, which I played it on (over at, let me recall, Brian Willis' house.) My parents wouldn't permit me to play with "war toys" and G.I. Joe, despite their explicit anti-terrorist slant (showing strange prescience from series scribe Larry Hama), fit that bill. This had me stiffly playing with 4-articulation-point Star Wars figurines while my friends had their Joes somersaulting tucked up using all eight points of articulation. Of course I became familiar with everyone else's collection in the schoolyard, always marveling at the figures' foot and back sockets for securing to vehicle footholds and backpack accessories. One year I was bequeathed a Joe at my birthday party and I didn't know if I'd even be able to accept the gift. But, of course, none of this has any bearing on this ad.

I have to say, not only is this Cobra Commander costume excellent, but I truly appreciate how he's posed in front of an assortment of house plants. As we've established, in the '80s, a good costume is really all a successful video game modeling career predicated on. Is Cobra Commander(r) really blue-blooded, meaning of aristocratic descent? I'm sure that the Baroness is, given her title, and I understand that Destro is as well. Is this a dig at the old feudal system, Joes instead representing a present and future of classless meritocracy? (And what bearing does this have on Cobra's nameless, literally faceless legions of interchangeable mooks and actual robots? Do the Joes represent a utopia of individualism whose uniformless everyman's army accommodates the whole spectrum of types from Gung Ho to Rock &Roll?) Or am I reading too much into things?

What else can I say here. The game environments run the whole gamut of standards: cold, hot (what, no Egyptian level?), jungle, and ("worst of all", heh) sewer. The only things missing are castle, graveyard and H.R. Giger. So, which Joes are on tap? (Their variety would be great for, I don't know, a collectible card game. G.I. Joe: The Gathering. Any video game invariably disappoints with the absence of your favorite personality.) Snake Eyes, naturally, no clarification or qualification needed. Blizzard, the cold-weather specialist -- presumably leading you through Antarctica (which has, I believe, treaties preventing your "blasting your way through".) Duke, representing management (though Hawk or Flint would have done equally well.) Rock & Roll, machine gunner (I just learned that his name is military jargon for firing on full-automatic, good for providing suppressive cover fire and wasting a lot of taxpayer dollars.) And Captain Grid-Iron, the soldier with the loose football theme (eventually made fully redundant by William "The Fridge" Perry's full football theme, including his spiked-football-on-a-chain hand weapon) and a John Wayne accent. Thanks to Joepedia for providing the details. Though I became fully schoolyard-coversant in all these intricacies of forbidden lore, it's not an element of nostalgia I have retained through the years, crowded out by the Babel Fish puzzle and how to get a date with Violet in LORD.

OK, this post tells you more about me than about the game; the ad copy admittedly doesn't give me a great deal to work with. Still, it's a cool photo.