Thursday, February 9, 2012

TMoD Episode 2 Moon Run

Moon Run, the second episode of my Twelve Months of Doomsday series, was - like all the episodes of the series - inspired by classic arcade games. The big difference with this game from the other games in the series is that it was inspired by only a single game and I never actually played the game in which it was inspired by. I suppose to be perfectly clear, it wasn't actually the game that inspired me but the advertising for the game. This requires a trip back to my childhood where the stray memories came from.

When I was a kid, arcades where a profitable business with video games  being the big draw. The home video game consoles were just starting to emerge with the Atari 2600 being the big thing as it would allow you to play arcade games on your TV. Of course, the quality difference from the arcade machines to the home version was huge. A large part of the decline of the Arcade is a byproduct of video game consoles ever-growing power as after a certain point the home versions of the game were good enough that it was no longer necessary to go to the arcade to get the full experience.

Video games at that time were thought of as kid's things. Far too many politicians still think they are as many politicians are too ignorant to realize that a person might continue to play video games after they have grown up. Sort of like how people learn a sport as a kid and still play it as an adult. The point being that something aimed at kids requires advertising aimed at kids and that meant comic books. Comic books are also like video games in which there are many adults who read them. Even back then. But that is a different pet peeve. One of my aunts was a huge comic book fan. She was also an insomniac who would read dozens of comics before going to bed. This was actually a good thing for me and my cousin as my aunt would give us boxes full of the comics she had read. She was a particular fan of Marvel comics which is probably why I am a Marvel fan.

The comic advertisements for video games where often in the form of mini-comics outlining the story behind the game. The concept presented for Moon Patrol was one of driving a moon buggy jumping over craters while shooting down aliens. As a kid this sounded great. From what my friends told me, however, the concept was much better than the game so I never actually bothered with the game. Advertising didn't always fail, however. The D&D ads in the comics actually got me interested in role-playing games.

So, the game was technically not inspired by a classic arcade game. It was inspired by an advertisement for a classic arcade game. Proof that inspiration can come from unexpected sources.

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