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An Evening of Remembrance, or Wastefulness

August 26, 2010

So instead of being productive this evening, I went on a Wikipedia-facilitated research journey through my childhood.  This all started when I followed a link to the current internet phenomenon of slowing down the song “U Smile” by Justin Bieber.  It goes from idiotic to space-operatic.  On that page was a link to a tid-bit of juicy gossip about a sex tape of the self-esteem-lacking Heidi Montag, featuring her normal self and her frankensteined self.  I’d heard before about how she’d turned herself into plastic and was curious to see the results in picture form.  Google images aided my search, so for a while I bounced around between those results and the wikipedia pages for Heidi and her sociopathic ex Spencer.  I was eventually directed to Perez Hilton’s website for further information.  I’ve only been there once before, but I hear many things about it, so I decided to explore the Perez Hilton main page.  On it was posted a video interview with David Yost, best known as Billy the Blue Power Ranger.  The interview was about David’s past.  He’s had a harrowing time coming to terms with his homosexuality, and actually left Power Rangers because of bigoted abuse.  I found that out on the Wikipedia page for him, which I went to before getting even ten seconds into the video interview.  This then led to exploring the page for Jason the Red Power Ranger, who was played by Austin St. John, who has become a not-so-in-shape paramedic.  I segued to a search of Zack the Black Power Ranger, played by Walter Emanuel Jones, before returning to Austin’s page and following links there to a search of Jason David Frank, aka Tommy the Green Power Ranger.  Jason is now an MMA fighter.  His page (Wikipedia page – I did a google search and found a great geocities-quality fanpage for him too) mentioned VR Troopers, so I researched that some too.  I was never as big a fan of VR Troopers as I was of Power Rangers.  Turns out VR Troopers was a mash-up of footage from two different Japanese shows with American stuff put on top.  The VR Troopers page mentions that a similar process was used for Voltron, though in that case the two seasons were just different Japanese shows instead of the show being two series combined.  Robotech/Macross is another synthesized show, but I already researched that before so there was no need to visit that page.  Beetleborgs was made the same way as VR Troopers.  I was starting to open up the world of live-action saturday morning TV shows from when I was a kid, so next up was a search for that show with a grasshopper and a talking car, which turned out to be called Masked Rider.  Same type of footage-grabbing as VR Troopers.  I found the opening credits to it on YouTube and a picture of the comic relief alien named Ferbus, who is strikingly similar to a Furby.  There’s also a Power Rangers web forum I found from an image search for Ferbus, and it had a lot of bad jokes on it.  I liked Masked Rider, it had a nice theme song and the main hero was pretty cool.  This reminded me of another TV show I’d been meaning to look up.  I thought it was called Hypernauts, and sure enough it was.  I remembered there was a lot of computer graphics on it, and that it was from the same era as Reboot.  Turns out the graphics were done as a “proof of concept” to show that the graphics used on Babylon 5 could be successful elsewhere.  Not too many episodes were made of that show.  I went on to research another science fiction show called Space Cases, which was on Nickelodeon.  Found another geocities-type fanpage.  I remembered that the Andromedan had big ears and could hear very well, and that one of the girls was pink.  I decided that was enough for researching TV, since the next step would’ve been to look up Pirates of Darkwater, and if I did that I’d want to find a place I could watch it.  I’ve looked for one before.  Instead of that, I looped back around to Jason David Frank’s page, where I remembered that I’d watched a promo clip for a computer game he was in but which wasn’t mentioned on his Wikipedia article.  I did a search for what I remembered of the game, and found YouTube videos for the game “Piper.”  The promos were exciting when I was 7.   The live-action nature of that computer game reminded me of another game, one about greek mythology, that terrified me when I was younger.  It wasn’t that the game itself was too scary, but the subject nature paired with live people pasted into photographed environments set off something bad in me.  Kind of like the uncanny valley.  I also played both games with my friend, Steve, who was a little strange.  I didn’t remember what this game was called though, so I did a whole bunch of searches.  It took forever to find it, but in the process I rediscovered “Mixed Up Mother Goose,” one of the first computer games I ever played.  I found it on a site listing old Sierra titles.  You had to find items and give them back to the correct nursery rhyme characters.  Another interesting Sierra titles I found was “Soft-Porn Adventure,” which got turned into the Leisure-suit Larry games.  Roberta Williams, the designer of many Sierra adventure games, posed semi-nude for the cover of that game.  There was a link to banned video games on the Soft-porn Adventure page, and I followed it as a digression.  You’ll be happy to know that no games have been banned in the USA (except a hand-held Chinese game called Ladenvs.USA, but only in select locations) thanks to our first amendment rights.  Some titles have been edited though, and the site noted the games “The Witcher” and “Fahrenheit.”  Witcher has some violence that got edited out I think, and Fahrenheit has a lot of sex in it, even an interactive sex scene, so the censored edited those out.  I was satisfied with the digression and couldn’t find any interesting paths to continue along, so I returned to the search at hand for the greek mythology game.  I remembered that there had been actors in it, so I did a search for live action games from the 90’s.  I didn’t find it, but I did decide to research Phantasmagoria, a title I’d seen in the Sierra listing.  I found some scary videos from it and an article describing why it couldn’t be released today.  The graphics are pretty corny, but the stuff that’s going on is still pretty upsetting and gruesome.  The gore paired with the surreality of live people in computer-generated environments was a little unnerving now and would’ve definitely traumatized the younger me.  I was easily scared when I was younger.  That was the kind of surreal terror I felt with the greek mythology game, only it was a lot less gory I remember.  I contemplated searching for other adventure games that weired me out, but decided it was really time to buckle down and find that greek game.  The magic google search terms were “computer game greek mythology -“god of war”” and I finally found “Wrath of the Gods.”  Sounds scary even from the title, right?  The game creators have a very basic webpage for it, which features many screenshots from the game.  I think I was most scared by an old lady who you could give gems to.  Also I remember I got locked up in a jail and there was a skeleton in there.  Scary!

That concluded my research for the night.  While I was writing this piece I tried to find two other 90’s computer games unsuccessfully.  One was with a purple guy who had a big nose and glasses, and he hung out in a cross-section of an apartment or house.  The other was a game where you went around cleaning the litter out of zoo animal pens that was placed there by evil forces of pollution.  You got to learn about the animals too.

I intended this piece to be interesting as a record of something that was very interesting to one person.  As it turns out it’s kind of boring.  I guess that’s some kind of artistic statement.  If you know either of those two computer games though tell me what they are, I really want to know.

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