Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fangoria February - Zombies: Undead or Alive!

Fangoria February is a month long celebration dedicated to the grooviest horror movie magazine ever created... FANGORIA!

Welcome everyone to FANGORIA FEBRUARY! This is a month long event in which I will be sifting through a gigantic stack of these awesome old magazines. Pulling out all the interesting parts and posting them online for everyone to see. Sometimes these articles will be long sometimes they will be sort but they will always be true to the source material. Please keep in mind that the point here is not to replicate and post entire original Fangoria articles, but to instead celebrate what made this magazine so great, and look at some of the odd advertisements, contests, and other things that showed up throughout its long history. To kick off FANGORIA FEBRUARY we are going to take a look at the PC only video game ZOMBIES: UNDEAD OR ALIVE! Enjoy and be sure to check back every day throughout the month of February for more great Fangoria content!
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So you think that zombies in video game started with Resident Evil? Think that the current trend of sticking them into everything came about because of that extra zombie mode in Call of Duty? You have much to learn, my young Jedi. Zombies have been in video games for almost as long as there have been video games. Beast Busters was an arcade rail shooter in 1989,  years before the Sega's popular 'House of the Dead' series. The Evil Dead was turned into a horror adventure game for the Commodore 64  in 1984, long before the subsequent Evil Dead games on the Dreamcast and Playstation 2. Even the original Nintendo Entertainment System had games featuring zombies, such as 1990s Zombie Nation. So to say that zombie related video games is a current trend of only the past couple of years is pretty much flat out wrong.

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And then we have  Zombies: Undead or Alive!, a 1989 video game developed for the PC. A game so obscure that it does not have a Wikipedia page dedicated to it. In fact, I was only able to find it two other times while doing a Google search for it. The first is a very brief mention of it being ported to the Commodore 64, but apparently that version of the game never even got into production and only a PC version of Zombies: Undead or Alive! was ever released. The only other place the game shows up is on this old magazine advertisement, a full page advertisement by PSI showcasing Zombies: Undead or Alive! and a game called Cyber Cop.

Believe it or not, I think I am the only person on the entire internet who has taken the time to write more than a brief sentence about Zombies: Undead or Alive! ... it is kind of unfortunate that I do not have any more details to go on than this single advertisement. Well here is what I know about the title, it was developed by PSI (Pedersen Systems) for the PC as a way to push the 'next generation' of graphics cards for computers. Zombies: Undead or Alive! along with Cyber Cop were both planned for, but never released on the Commodore 64.

"The Emergency Broadcast System reports that North City is in a state of siege. Reports are surfacing that secret military experiments with bio-chemical toxins near the North City Cemetery have created Zombie-like creatures. These creatures thrive on human flesh. North City is in chaos. You must survive for 12 hours and reach the North City Army Base Safety Zone before relief arrives, or... be eaten!"

This is the informational blurb that, I assume, sums up the games plot. As for technical specs, it has 128 different residential and military screens, 3-D Spritable Characters, and features fast paced arcade horror action.

That is about all the information I can dig up (pun intended) on Zombies: Undead or Alive! If anyone happens to have a copy of this game laying around or remembers playing it way back in the day please leave something down in the comments section. I am really interested in hearing more about this old PSI title.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rold Gold Peppermint Snowflakes!

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Nearing the end of January means a lot of things. Lots of snow, lots of ice, and lots of hot pink Valentines Day crap. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike Valentines Day? It is just a dumb holiday created by retail stores to sell you a bunch of junk that you'll throw in the garbage on February 15th.

It is everything that Charlie Brown was talking about during his big speech towards the end of Charlie Brown Christmas. Over commercialized and with no true meaning.

To counter this neon nightmare I always like to look for those last few remaining signs of the holiday season. The beauty of Christmas is just how long most places are willing to dedicate precious real estate to it. Even with the threat of Valentines Day pushing its way in, Christmas will still find a way to survive. The larger sections are all but gone by now but look hard enough and you'll still be able to find its presence for at least another month.

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So I know what your probably thinking, that I have found a way to make another Christmas post in what is now becoming insanely past the 25th of December. Well... not really. It only kind of resembles Christmas. I consider this more of a winter item than a Holiday one. After all there is no mention of the holly jolly xmas man on it, the package does not have any "to" or "from" sections and it is not overly red or green. Therefore I cannot classify this as a Christmas item, its a winter themed product. Technicality is on my side. It always is.

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Peppermint Flavored White Fudge Coated Pretzels shaped like snowflakes? Yea this is exactly the kind of pick-me-up that I love finding in late January. It was during this same trip that I realized that Holiday Egg Nogg and Siera Mist Cranberry Splash have both been pulled from the shelves and are gently tucked away until the following season. Its nice to know that little winter themed items such as these still exist and will exist for a while longer.

Besides, they are absolutely delicious. I don't care what holiday you want to classify these under I hate the entire bag about half way through writing this article. And I really do enjoy things such as these. Its kind of Christmas-ish without being downright obvious. Its easy to pop open a bag and get a little bit of holiday enjoyment without everyone else thinking your nuts. And it is also not a horrible Valentines Day product. Yea... these Rold Gold Peppermint Snowflakes are a perfect late January Christmas .... winter themed product to help get through the transition into the non-holiday season. They pretty much rule.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Eight (almost) Forgotten 1990s Cartoons!

The 1990's were an awesome time for cartoons. We had most of the older 80s stuff still showing up in re-runs, so you could get your fill of Transformers, GI Joe, and He-Man while also catching all the cool new shows that were just hitting TV. We had the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, and Rocko's  Modern Life just to name a few. It was a great time to be a kid.

Of course with so many high profile big name shows its easy to forget about some of the equally as entertaining smaller cartoons. These are the ones that we all enjoyed but for one reason or another don't get quite as much love as their bigger brothers. Here are eight awesome cartoons from the 1990s that time has (almost) forgotten about!

SWAT KATS: THE RADICAL SQUADRON -- This cartoon only lasted two seasons running from 1993 to 1994 and spanned a total of 24 episodes with three unfinished cartoons that never aired on television. Despite the relatively small number of episodes, Swat Kats was and still is one of my favorite cartoons of all time. I love everything about this show. From the theme song, to the shows in your face attitude and great concept. It is an all around awesome show that I will never understand why the networks pulled the plug on so quickly.

Swat Kats is the story of two rogue special forces officers, T-Bone and Razor, who basically kick ass, fight crime, and fly an awesome jet that shoots like four hundred different types of missiles at any given time. Did I mention the shows fantastic musical score. If you have not watched the included opening title sequence, you really should check it out. On top of all of this the show was really quite dark and pretty violent for a kids cartoon. If I may drop a sort of obscure comic book reference, it reminds me a tad of the Blacksad series. In the way that the characters are animals but they still act like people, the animal nature is more of a reflection of the individual's personality. Like I said, I love this cartoon. If there has ever been an intellectual property prime for a big budget live action film it is definitely Swat Kats!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Star Wars Go-Gurt!

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And so it begins. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is being re-released  to theaters in 3D on February 10th. Among other things this means a whole slew of new promotional Star Wars items that are going to start hitting stores very shortly. Remembering back to when the new trilogy first hit theaters in 1999, I am going to guess that we are in for a literal shit storm of Star Wars merchandise in the forthcoming weeks.

You know what I am actually fine with that. I don't get obsessive over the franchise but I do consider myself a fan of all the flicks. Yes even Episodes 1-3. For what they are, I enjoy them. Besides no film(s) were ever going to live up to the original three Star Wars films. That is a tough set of standards to be stacked up against and I think the only real fault of Episode 1-3 was George Lucas thinking that anybody would ever give a shit about Darth Vader as an annoying little kid. Nobody wanted to see that. Honestly, some things are better left a mystery and Darth Vader is one of them. I still love that pod racing scene, though.

Anyhow we got Go-Gurt to talk about. I have to make an admission, I am almost twenty five years old and I have never once had yogurt. Never. Don't really have anything against it, although I do think it is kind of creepy looking, but our paths have never crossed until now. Yogurt is just not something that I have ever been interested in trying. I've always sort of walked by the yogurt section in the grocery store and stood staring in mystery at these strange flavors. New York Cheesecake? Watermelon Tart? Butter Pecan? I am a traditionalist and I like things that I can easily understand. Yogurt is not one of them. Now thanks to George Lucas and Star Wars I can end my twenty five year yogurt drought and finally give this strange substance a try...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

E3 2012 and Fangoria February!

I got two announcements that I would like make. First I would like to thank everyone once again for making 2011 such an awesome year here at the Astro Lounge. I had a blast running the Christmas and Halloween Countdowns. You can expect each to return and be bigger than ever for 2012. So keeping in the spirit of running "themed" months around here, I have a couple announcements that I want to make for what to look forward to here in the next couple months.

For starters you can expect the return of E3 coverage on the website. E3 is the largest video game trade show of the year and each year I do what I like to call a "live blog" during each of the big three (Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo) press conferences. Where I pull up the live conference on one monitor and open up this blog on another and basically write about everything as it is unfolding. It is a different and unique way to read about the important announcements. E3 coverage will begin June 5th through June 7th so until then expect to see more posts detailing the event we get closer to that date.

Next month, I have something extra special in store. We are going to be doing a little something called Fangoria February! What is Fangoria February? An entire month long dedication to the greatest horror movie magazine ever created! I have an entire stack of old Fangoria books, pretty much everything from the first issue clear on up until the middle to late 1990s. All original and all filled with great old advertisements, articles, photos, and much more. These books are a fantastic window into the past. I am confident that you guys will enjoy Fangoria February!

As always be sure to stop back for plenty of none-themed related content that I will be working in year round.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Its Friday the 13th!

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Blast! I cannot believe I went almost the entire day before finally realizing that today was Friday the 13th! Save for the couple of months out of the year that we celebrate Halloween there are not many other times in the year in which horror movies and other things of this nature are alright to celebrate. Friday the 13th is one of the few time of the year that everybody is free to openly share there love for all things related to Jason.

Last year we looked at some of my favorite kills from the Friday the 13th films. That is because I planned ahead for that post. This year I am writing it on the fly and at 8:30 at night. Instead I will just offer up a simple suggestion, to go to your local video store and rent a handful of the Friday flicks and a big tub of popcorn and kickback and relax and watch some old school 80s slasher horror!

If your looking for a little more Friday the 13th action check out this post from the 2011 Halloween Countdown, in which I wrote about an awesome Jason Voorhees Doll from a couple years back!

Kemps Winter Ice Cream!

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You know I still cannot get over how strange the 2011 Christmas season felt. The whole thing was just off. I hate to continue to harp on this subject as I have promised to move on but... well I cannot help it. You see I was just at the store needing to pick up a light bulb for my room and ended up wander through what was left of the Christmas section on my way out the door.

I always get sort of bummed out looking through that section this time of year. I really love the holidays and seeing one little leftover isle that has been completely ravished and ransacked. All the good decorations either purchased or packed away until next year. The remainder reduced to a gigantic 70% off sale. Its sad. Knowing that it is going to be another eleven months until we start seeing this stuff again.

I've been on both sides of the fence on what I want to do. A big part of me was ready to move on and I pretty much did. All my decorations are down, the website has been converted back to its none holiday theme and I no longer want to listen to any music. Yet at the same time seeing all those poor leftover Christmas decorations that nobody wants anymore... I kind of still want to write about the holiday. So let's write about the holiday. Screw the rules. Screw the calender. Its snowing outside and I've got 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' pulled up on my second computer monitor as I type this post. So let's do this for either the first time in 2012 or the last time for 2011 ... depending on how you want to spin it. Let's do one more Christmas post!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Topps Wacky Packages!

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Have you guys ever heard of "Wacky Packages" ? Chances are if the name does not ring a bell as soon as you see photographs of these cards you will instantly recognize them. Wacky Packages are a series of trading cards that originally began production by Topps in 1967. The concept behind them was to basically mock known name brand products. While they began life as simple baseball cards then soon morphed into a series of stickers sold in baseball card style packages. Wacky Packages were an instantly successful line that has been produced on and off since there inception. Today we are going to take a look at a few of the modern cards!