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{Rad Chat} #1 Skeet Shoot Tiger Handheld

Welcome to a new(ly named) section of Gremlins Online – Rad Chat! Every so often I have posted non-Gremlins related articles about toys, games, movies, or pop culture icons that I find rad.
Now that I have a name and a schedule of things to post, this will be a way to keep Gremlins Online updated for those stretches when there isn’t much happening in the Gremlins universe, and just share my love for pop culture in all its forms!
Today we get to talk about Tiger Handhelds, specifically, Skeet Shoot.

My parents were both avid trapshooters in the 1970’s (in fact, that is how they met) and while I was far too young to handle a shotgun, I was exposed to trapshooting culture at a very early age. I spent plenty of time at Boxhorn and Milwaukee Gun Clubs in the 1980’s, and when I found out that I could participate in the sport myself through video games, I jumped at the chance.

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First I played Duck Hunt on my cousin’s NES when visiting them in Fon Du Lac, WI.

My most vivid memory of this was my mother yanking me out of my cousin’s house and back home to milwaukee because I kept insisting on shooting the clay pigeons with the NES Zapper touching the TV glass. However, my cousin did give me one of my still-most prized possessions that day; a copy of the Gremlins novelization by George Gipe. I devoured that book and still return to it today, even though it has long been split in half due to re-reading it and taking it with me everywhere.

Not long after that, I discovered Tiger handheld games. This would be around 1988, and LCD handheld games were becoming a mainstay in the toy aisles. Keep in mind, the Game Boy wouldn’t come out until 1989 and even when it launched it was cost prohibitive for many families, including mine, so LCD handhelds filled a niche before and during the early years of the Game Boy era. Sure I eventually had a Game Boy, but that was due to family members that had the means to purchase such devices.

My parents were able to afford to indulge 7 year-old me a Tiger handheld game from time to time, usually before drives up to see family in Canada. They were great at keeping me quietly occupied in the back seat, especially Skeet Shoot, Mouse Maze, Contra, and Pinball. My favorite LCD games.

Recently I realized that I am a grown adult that can make adult decisions, so I went out and tracked down some auctions online for LCD handheld games rather than make actual smart adult decisions like socks or shoes or other footwear-related purchases.

My first purchase was a no-brainer. Skeet Shoot. One of the more unique handhelds out there due to its theme and design. I can’t imagine too many kids were dying to get their hands on a trapshooting video game, yet it existed.

After a few days of checking the mailbox over and over until my wife told me to just watch the tracking number online like a civilized human, my package arrived.skeet1
I ripped open the padded manilla envelope and was thrilled to see that yellow square-ish device. I was even more excited to see the battery panel was still attached. This was a prime specimen indeed.

It was a weird feeling holding a 30+ year old device that I spent so much time with as a kid. I grabbed some AA batteries and hoped that it would work.

Thankfully it did, and once I remembered how to begin the game, I was off to the trap range!

The game is fairly simple. You aim your gun with the dial on the right-hand side, and shoot with the button on the left hand side. As you clear waves of 10 clay pigeons, the game becomes harder with the targets moving faster and more erratically. The game ply is very responsive, the dial turning feels good and you get good immediate feedback through the bleeps and bloops the game provides.

As a kid, I rarely made it past the 3rd stage, and as an adult, I discovered I have similar skills, which is isn’t saying much.

Graphically, it is an LCD game, so you know what to expect. The characters are crisp, and even 31 years later, there is no sign of fading or loss of quality.

Obviously each image is pre-set and is visible when the game requires it, but it does the job just fine.

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The screen isn’t backlit and suffers from glare when in direct sunlight but this was a common issue with all LCD games. Too dark or too bright and you aren’t playing.
The sound effects really are what brought me back to my childhood. The simple sounds are pushed through a tinny “beeper” style speaker that would seem right at home in a 1980’s PC, but it simulates a satisfying “Pshow!” when you destroy a clay pigeon.

I was amazed at how quickly I got sucked into the game, and how I didn’t get as distracted as I do on the computer or video game devices. I assume this is likely due to there being no pause function or save game. I can’t Alt-Tab over to a browser to see what my horror movie friends are up to on twitter. If I want to play, I gotta keep playing, no excuses.

The last thing I wanted to do is let my 10-year old play the game and see what he thought.
He spent about 10 minutes with the game, then ran off to play in a sprinkler.
Interestingly, the game was second nature to him, once he saw the dial aimed the gun, he did fairly well. Good game design transcends generations. He hasn’t asked to play again, and I think he would rather watch videos of funerals or dominoes falling on youtube than play dad’s old handhelds.

I am sure I will pull this out from time to time to unwind and try to beat a high score, but it reminded me of not having a million options for gaming, but instead focusing on just the one title in front of you, which sometimes can be really liberating.

It does feel good to have this back in my collection, and I am sure that it will not be the last LCD handheld to show up in my mailbox.

{Gremlins In The Media} Ready Player One Standee Featuring Gizmo!

I posted this earlier on our facebook group (Come join! https://www.facebook.com/gremlinsonline) but thought those of you that pass through the site would like to see the photos of the Ready Player One Standee with Gizmo! The standee seems to be exclusive to Wal-Mart in my area, so check it out if you get a chance!

In other Ready Player One news, I am attempting to get some screengrabs of the Gremlins and Gizmo (Graffiti in the latter case) but have not been able to get a clear shot as the scenes featuring Stripe are incredibly busy. If anyone has screencaps out there, send them in and I’ll be happy to feature them!

{Website Updates} Bio Background Update

I have begun updating old portions of the site for clarity and expanding information within. First up is a section very close to my heart: On Mogwai & Gremlins.

Just a bit of cleanup and updated information there, but feel free to poke around and see if there is anything that you would like to see added!

https://gremlins.wordpress.com/fandom/on-mogwai-gremlins/

{Book Review} Cobra Clutch by A.J Devlin

-A compelling roller coaster mystery in the pro wrestling world.-

Those of you that know me, know I love to write. Just about pretty much anything that strikes my fancy. One of those fancies is Wrestling. Pro Wrestling to be exact, also known as “Wrasslin'”,”You really watch that garbage?”, or “You know it’s fake right?”

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Funnily enough, it wasn’t something I really got into until my 20’s thanks to a friend who introduced me to it through a trading card game called Raw Deal. Since then I have

been hooked, consuming any and all pro wrestling media from weekly TV programming to imported shows from overseas. The most fun I

had was exploring the gritty world of the territory era of the 1970’s through mid 1980’s through books written by the wrestlers. Part of my excitement was exploring stories of carny-like underbelly of their world and trying to discern what is real, what is exaggerated and what was written just to expand on a character’s backstory.

Until I discovered Cobra Clutch, I didn’t realize that there is a serious lack of fiction that focuses on the unique setting of the professional wrestling world. Granted there are plenty of romantic stories featuring the Hardy Boyz becoming in erotic situations with The Undertaker and Tommy Dreamer as Kane “Turns up the heat”….ahem.

Cobra Clutch scratches that itch with a modern-day mystery featuring a retired pro wrestler named “Hammerhead” Jed Ounstead, who is on the case of a kidnapped snake that belonged to a fellow 80’s wrestler. Of course this proves to be much more complicated than expected and Jed finds himself returning to the often-seedy underbelly of the Canadian independent professional wrestling scene to uncover the truth.

This basic premise is the perfect opening to what hopefully will be expanded upon in future books. The author shows a passion for professional wrestling that results in a very authentic-feeling world full of colorful characters, twists and turns and plenty of banana milkshakes.  As the story unfolds, you don’t feel that this is a side trip to the protected and secretive universe of professional wrestling, but an integral part of Jed’s character. One he thought he would be rid of, for very personal reasons.

The story has more than just a mystery to offer; the characters that occupy Jed’s circle of acquaintances, antagonists, and suspects are colorful but believable. One of them in particular, the vulgar Declan St. James stands out and brings some much-needed humor to the proceedings. In fact, Declan is so well-written that he feels like he could get his own series of stories. Prequels, sequels, kid’s books, I’ll happily read them.

Cobra Clutch is a pretty brisk read at 250ish pages, and once the story kicks into gear, it doesn’t stop until the end. I found myself pushing forward for just one more chapter to see how things turn out. Speaking of which, the chapters were very short for the most part, maybe between 5-12 pages each which is a perfect length for someone that doesn’t have huge chunks of time to spend reading.

I certainly hope that we see more adventures in this universe. Even if it isn’t specifically focused on Jed, I feel that the seeds are in place for a rich world that lends itself to extended exploration.

On that note, I think I need to see if Dairy Queen is still open, I have a hankering for a banana milkshake and some wrestling matches from the 80’s.

*A copy of the book was provided to me by the author.*

{Gremlins 3 News} Chris Columbus says the new Gremlins film will “Almost definitely” be a reboot.

gremlin3q.gifAccording to a very short metro.us article, Chris Columbus says that the new Gremlins Film will “Almost definitely” be a reboot.

Doesn’t really tell us anything solid or further details, but at least people are still talking to those involved

https://www.metro.us/entertainment/movies/gremins-reboot-gonnies-sequel-update

Take it with a huge grain of salt folks. The article is pretty poorly written, and if you look at the URL, they didn’t even spell Goonies or Gremlins correctly. They also made the mistake of claiming Gremlins was released in 1985, when we all aware it released in the summer of 1984. While this may seem minor, it just shows a lack of thoroughness on the part of the writer.

We all want a new Gremlins film/product/cartoon/etc, but I for one am at the point where I will believe it when I see something concrete more than someone saying “things are in the works”.

 

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