Starcade

Originally published on Mike The Pod in July of 2003. G4 was launched in April of 2002, and broadcast until the end of 2014.

Starcade

For some reason there’s this channel we get called G4. It’s about video games. So far everything I’ve seen on it has ranged from abysmal to truly soul-crushing. The people behind it must realize that folks tend to play video games on their TVs, so there’s really no call for a channel about them. There was some show on yesterday called “Portal”. I think it’s what they’re using to interrogate captured Al-Qaeda, because after about forty-two seconds of it, I was confessing to all sorts of stuff. It’s kind of like those god-awful sitcoms on public TV that are designed to teach foreigners English, but without all the wit, verve, and rich character development. Like a 7th-grade drama club amok in a television studio. (Kids Incorporated, anyone?)


Anyhoo, I did happen to watch “Starcade”, which was a video-game based game show circa 1984. The premise (imagine this pitch meeting): an arcade game is chosen for each show, and kids compete for super prizes like- THE BIONIC CHAIR! Which has nothing bionic about it, but conforms comfortably to your ever-fattening, hemorroid-speckled ass as you wile away the hours playing Donkey Kong. The game they chose for this particular episode was “Dragon’s Lair”. Remember Dragon’s Lair? It was a laserdisc-based game animated by Don Bluth, for whom no movement is too subtle to spastically over-exaggerate, so that his characters always looked to me like they were having a psychotic episode. You probably played it back in the day, but not for long, because it cost more and your game lasted roughly eight seconds; you were given an instant to react to a completely different scene from the last, or you bit the big one. Fuck you, Dragon’s Lair. I blame epilepsy entirely on you. And it’s not just because playing you made blood shoot out of my eyes like a poisonous South American toad.

I digress. “Starcade” is hilarious, from the moment the opening theme song kicks up, and you realize it’s that same stammering “Blinded By The Light” keyboard lick that was an integral part of every single song in the 1970s. There was a teenage girl contestant who I didn’t realize was a girl until she opened her mouth, thanks to 80’s “fashion”. Host Geoff Edwards looked about as comfortable as Professor Griff at a synagogue, and I kept waiting for him to pull a shiny flask out of his cheap suit jacket, just to get through this horrible career bungle. Like I said, the contestants were competing at Dragon’s Lair, so we got to see the same wonderful first minute of the game about a dozen times. BUT- there was a mulleted Dragon’s Lair “expert” diddling away at a machine in the background, and the host assured us repeatedly that with Mullet-Boy’s help, the lucky audience would get to actually see the dragon! Never mind the fact that Mullet-Boy is no doubt chasing the dragon in some back alley today. Also never mind that the host and a young male contestant engaged in some forced pre-round banter about how many times he’d “slayed the dragon” that could have passed for a discussion of masturbation habits at a NAMBLA rally. The final round almost had me vomiting with laughter.

The Proto-Lesbian girl won, of course, since we all know girls are better at video games than boys, and here’s what happened. We indeed get to see the dragon, thanks to Mullet-Boy, along with the icky, trailer-trash princess of the game who really should put some frigging clothes on. Really Don, would it have killed you to have drawn an attractive princess, and not someone who makes Courtney Love appear fuckable? Anyway, Mullet-Boy steps away from the machine to the deserved accolades of the host and all in attendance (he did play that piece of shit all the way through, after all), and for good luck presents Proto-Lesbian with a jersey just like the one he’s wearing, complete with blue 3/4 sleeves and something ironed on the front that we can only presume has something to do with Dragon’s Lair. He bestows this gift upon her with all the suavity and charm of the guy who threw cum at Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs. Then, for the final round, get this- Proto-Lesbian gets to play Dragon’s Lair again, only with the added bonus of having this mouth-breather looming over her shoulder like a mulleted vulture. What better way can you think of to gain the competitive edge than to have some spit-swallowing Trekkie breathing down your neck? Forget performance-enhancing drugs! Give me a break. I stopped going to arcades because I couldn’t stand to fuck up another good game when some ass-clown sidled up to me “wanting next game”. It’s as bad as when somebody puts a quarter on the lower-right corner of the screen. I used to chuck them in the nearest fountain. Game dorks are so easy to subjugate.

So in the end the girl won. Or maybe she didn’t. I don’t know. I’d swallowed my tongue at this point. And I’ve gone on way too long on this review anyway.

Starcade ran from 1982 to 1984. (Wikipedia)

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Filed under Bad Influences, Faint Signals, Idiot's Delight, Nostalgic Obsessions