Posts Tagged ‘videogames’

SpaceKnight Arrival.

Welcome back Satellite subscribers, today we have set our coordinates to a planet far beyond our known universe called Galador. This planet is special as it protected by an awesome force known as the Space Knights Like every planet of course it has its problems, for Galadorian’s the biggest problem are an energy based alien race known as the Dire Wraiths. Galadors Knights lead by the Greatest Space Knight of them all, ROM were not only able to handily defeat their enemy and protect their home world but vowed to hunt any remaining Dire Wraiths across the galaxy until the very last one had been destroyed. Strap in tight Heroes as we span the galaxy for Dire Wraiths and explore the world and genesis of ROM: Space Knight!

Transmission Date: 04/04/2013

ROM: Parker Brothers attempt to join the Action Figure market.

ROM was a comic series based on an Action Figure created by high profile Board Game developers Parker Brothers. In 1979 the gaming company decided to test the waters outside of the normal series of games and jump into the Action Figure market which had exploded in the late 70s with franchises like Star Wars had conquered. Robots and space adventure toys were big at the time and co-creators Scott Dankman, Richard C. Levy, and Bryan L. McCoy developed a Robot of their Very own. The result was COBOL (Named after the computer programming language) a 13 inch “Gun Silver” robot loaded with every possible accessory a kid could want in a space toy. The name COBOL would be replaced with the more mainstream friendly ROM (Which still maintained the computer reference they wanted) ROM featured a Translator which allowed the robot to be able to decipher any language on any planet! An Energy Analyzer would also come in handy while tracking down those energy based aliens the Dire Wraiths. With one scan of the analyzer COBOL could uncover any Dire Wraith hiding in human form and draw them out of hiding to be finally destroyed with COBOLs ultimate accessory. The weapon of choice would be The Neutralizer. Fast and efficient this weapon could reduce any bad guy to rubble in no time.

ROM came equipped with numerous accessories!

ROM was NOT a run away hit as the toy itself failed to find a strong audience. Part of the problem was the Toy itself. Big and awkward, ROM as an action figure was a stand alone toy and did not have any other counter parts or bad guys you could buy to play with ROM. He was also poorly articulated with range limited to his hips, knee joints and arms moved only at the shoulders. The accessories, sounds and lights however were the strong selling point of the toy. Watch the detailed review below which details all the selling points and downfalls of this unique toy.

Parker Brothers realizing that their toy needed to reach the proper demographic approached Marvel Comics Group to commission a Comic Book series detailing the adventures of their newest creation. Marvel Comics were at the time riding high on the success of their acquisition of the rights to publish the Star Wars Comic Book took the task of creating a world and set of supporting characters for ROM. Provided with a bare boned skeleton of an origin writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema mapped out a fantastic origin for the character. Major changes were introduced by Marvel from the original concept created by Parker Brothers. ROM was no longer a Robot he was a human like being who choose to defend his planet by volunteering to be bonded with this Galadorian armor and spend his life protecting his home world by hunting their enemies across the universe until his people are safe from the threat of an invasion. The concepts of the home world of Galador and the Dire Wraith enemies were maintained in the Marvel interpretation of the origin. Published with a cover date of Dec. 1979 ROM #1 would arrive in style on spinner racks across America.

ROM SpaceKnight 1st Issue of a classic Comic Book Series

The comic book series would long outlive the toy. Sadly the toy reportedly sold a mere 200,000 to 300,000 units far below the expectations of Parker Brothers and they discontinued the toy line of ROM figures. The Comic Book however would last many years and finally end its run at a very respectable 75 issues ending its run in Feb. of 1986.

ROM comics. A must have for ROM fans!

ROM was one of those comics that began as a “Toy book” and grew beyond that label into a respected title and became entrenched into the Marvel Universe. For all intents and purpose ROM was a Marvel Superhero. Marvel would be sure to put ROM smack dab in the middle of the Marvel Universe and he would often interact with the Marvel Heroes. ROM fought side by side with the X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Power Man and Iron Fist, and even locked horns with Galactus!

ROM meets Power Man and Iron Fist

From my own perspective ROM was a fun book. As a comic fan I would get the scattered issue of ROM when perusing the spinner racks of my local drug store. I did not collect the book monthly though. I remember fondly getting ROM #1 in a Comic Book Collectors Set from Sears one year in the late 1980s . The set in the catalogue boasted that it came with I believe, 25 rare comic books which included valuable #1s. The majority of the titles were worthless even as reading material, however upon opening the box I did get Savage She-Hulk #1 and ROM #1. The cover of ROM was powerful and artist Sal Buscema was a master at making this simple Toy Robot look epic in every panel. The opening page of ROM #1 alone set the tone of the book as ROM lands on Earth like a Phoenix rising from the fire and the title banner “Arrival” let the reader know that this book was serious.

Sal Buscema nailed ROM to the tee especially in his first ever panel of ROM issue one. ROM looked far cooler than the toy ever did!

Some of my favorite ROM Stories were issues #1 and 2 which heralded the Arrival of Rom and introduced not only ROM but his life Long supporting character Brandy Clarke. ROMs initial interaction with humans is humorous in that humans fear the metal warrior as they see him disintegrate a series of humans with his Neutralizer. Not understanding that evil Dire Wraiths had disguised themselves as human earthlings were shivering in their boots as ROM terminated these supposed humans at point blank on the streets of their town.

Dire Wraiths were no match for ROM!

Other issues of note were issues #17 and #18 which brings ROM together with the X-Men as both hunt down a Dire Wraith known as Hybrid. The alien is able to combat ROM and The X-Men by manipulating the weather and creating confusion between the heroes. A little tussle between ROM and Colossus adds to the fun of this issue.

ROMs encounters with the X-Men were always interesting.

ROMS constant longing to shed the armor and return to his home world of Galador in peace is always central to the character and is another favorite collection of issues. Issues #68 (Trapped Between Man and Machine!) #43 (Freed Of The Armor) #48 (Fight No More) and #75 (Final Issue) all deal with ROMs want to finally return to normal and return to life as it was.

ROM longed to one day free himself of his armor and become a Galadorian again!

ROM gets his wish, armor no more!

Shortly after the release of ROMs final issue ROM would never appear regularly again and the last appearance of ROM (In Galadorian human form) would be at the wedding of Hulks best friend Rick Jones as he wished the bride and Groom best wishes. Marvel would soon lose the rights to use the ROM character after the cancellation of the series and thus would no longer be allowed to be referenced under the name ROM. The character itself would be written out of the Marvel Universe in a Mini Series called Space Knights in which ROM (No longer referenced by that name) is attacked while piloting a space craft was attacked by a Knight Wraith and was apparently destroyed and presumed dead.

Fans have since clamored for the return of the Space Knight and have been agonizingly been teased with Easter Eggs on TV shows such as ROBOT CHICKEN and South Park (Rom is seen in a 3 Part episode titled Imagine Land)

South Park meets our SpaceKnight

as well as Marvels own Silver Surfer Animated series. In The Season 1 Episode 5 titled Learning Curve ROM can be seen strolling leisurely in the background at the 4:55 mark!.

Heres the clip of hidden ROM from the video above for those who are too lazy for videos and stuff!

So ROM looked to be retired to our memories, back issues and fan blogs. Would we ever see our favorite SpaceKnight in action again? Well..maybe! Marvel Comics may have given us a red herring when creating a new mini series in 2013 called the Age Of Ultron. In some of the teaser images Marvel showed a giant board with pictures of hundreds of Marvel characters that may have been victims Ultron. Among these..a picture of ROM..his first real appearance as “ROM” in a Marvel comics in a long number of years! Could it be? Was ROM back!

ROM seemingly returned in 2013 in Marvels event mini series Age of Ultron..or did he?

Buzz made the rounds in social media that ROM was coming back in this mini series when suddenly for reasons unbeknownst to this writer Marvel swiftly changed the name ROM showcased of the panel to IKON, a lesser know SpaceKnight in the Marvel Universe and conspiracy theories ran wild.

Fans hopes for a ROM return were dashed when ROMs names were removed and altered to read IKON? Speculation was rampant why the change was made at the last minute!

Did Marvel try to slide a fast one past rights owners and throw a Easter Egg at fans hoping no one would notice? Clearly they noticed and fans were ready for ROM to return. No one at this point could confirm the reason for the switch but one thing was for sure it lead a rekindled hope that we may someday soon see the real ROM return to the hallowed pages of Marvel Comics! This guy hopes so!

So to any Dire Wraiths out there..dont get too comfortable because soon..very soon..our Gun Silver hero will one day make his return..then shit is on!

Our time on Galador is complete Heroes, prepare for departure, Satellite take us home!

Transmission Ended..

Ahhh hell as a special treat for Satellite Subscribers..heres the ROM bio. Enjoy..

Freebie for Satellite Fans!

For more of my thoughts on ROM and some different ROM material check out my original ROM post at my favorite Retro website, http://www.retroist.com. My article can be found here http://www.retroist.com/2013/04/09/rom-the-strange-journey-of-a-space-knight/ enjoy!

Like this post? Why not leave a comment or talk with me directly on Twitter @Charlton_Hero . Join the conversation using #SuperHeroSatellite.

Transmission Date: Dec. 20 2012

Top 10 best Xmas presents ever!Everyone has their favorite memories of Xmas morning and opening those cool toys that many of us wish we still had. Strap in Heroes we are on the way back to 10 different Xmas days in the life of your narrator. Enjoy!

10. The Power Glove: What has not been said about the Power Glove? the commercials, the comic book ads, the Movie “The Wizard” and praised the virtues of this revolutionary new glove that would change the face of gaming..the POWER GLOVE for the NES system. The glove promised to replace the controller and put power right literally in your hands. It did..somewhat. The Power Glove looked cool. I mean this thing was the talk of the room when people would come over during Xmas. I was proud of my Power Glove..as well I was the ONLY one of my friends with it! The Xmas it debuted this thing was in low supply. No stores in my town had any. It came down to one late night viewing of the Home Shopping Network in Canada that my mother scored me one of these bad boys. I was literally jumping up and down at receiving this gift then I played it.

The Glove came packed with a sensor bar that was to be velcroed to the side of your TV and could adjust to fit any TV set of the day. It also came with a code book that contained many codes from the most popular titles the NES had in its library. You could strap this thing to your arm and enter the code and you were ready to `Play with Power. The Glove was a dud. It was very limited in range and would drop out regularly if you went out of range of the sensors on your tv. The trick was to open up the senors as far as possible even if you had a small TV to broaden your range and eliminate drop out. It was not uncommon for the game code to drop out altogether and you would have to stop mid game and clumsily plug in the code in the key pad that rested on the sleeve of the glove.

The Movie the Wizard deceptively showed a young child using the glove for the game Rad Racer and I will admit to watching that scene more than a hundred times but after two days with the Glove and using that same game Rad Racer I quickly discovered that holly magic had made the Glove appear like something other than what it was. Clumsy, choppy, and unreliable. Shame cause I still love my Power Glove but its much better sitting in its box than in use. There is nothing quite like strapping it on for the first time.

9. Stretch Monster: For those who did not have a Stretch Armstrong toy in the very late 70s and early 80s than you really missed out. Stretch Armstrong was a super hero who could stretch great lengths and wrap himself around anything. One problem with Stretch was that he was alone. He was a one man universe that is until his nemesis was created and launched into retail stores. Stretch Monster was mean, he was green and he was incredibly HEAVY. The Armstrong toys were filled with a green gelatinous substance which weighed a small ton and made these toys difficult to manipulate right out of the box.

It was a real treat to play with both figures at one time. You could twist pull, and tug these figures. If you grabbed these figures by their arms you could actually stretch them quite far. I was very proud of my Stretch Armstrong and when I got my Stretch Monster to complete the set I was overjoyed. I played with these figures a lot..so much so That Stretch Armstrong began to show cracks under his arms and his green ooze began to seep out and finally lead Armstrong to an early grave. Stretch Monster seemed to last substantially longer but met his demise on show and tell day at elementary school. I still have not completely forgiven Trent for over stretching Monster and almost ripping his arm off. I did ever thing I could to repair him but the material that the figure was made up of was unrepairable. R.I.P. Stretch and Monster you were good friends.

8. GI Joe Skystriker: Let me say this. There was no a better toy line in the 1980s than GI Joe. The Joes waged war against terrorist group numero one..COBRA! The GI Joe line was extensive and featured some of the best action figures and vehicles, the best of which was the SkyStriker. The toy was a massive, was a white fighter jet that was loaded with missles. It also came with a unique figure only to the Jet named Ace who was equipped with two parachutes! Friggin awesome are the only words appropriate for this toy. It was very large and cumbersome at times to play with but it was a center piece to any action figure fan. You knew shit was about to go down if I busted out my SkyStriker.My satisfaction exploded with this toy when it was accompanied by its nemesis, Cobras answer to the SkyStriker was the Rattler. When these to vehicles waged air combat it was sure to be a great time. GI Joe was hot and so was its robust toy and comic book line. Cool features included pop out wings, it was fully loaded with missles, and featured a cool interior cockpit and ejector seat. If you can find one intact online for a decent price..hell even one for a super over the top expensive price tag, just buy this bad boy. It will not dissapoint. In an unrelated incident my Ace figure just recently died i action (broke) while on duty near my washer and dryer in the hands of my 4 year old son. Yo Joe!

 

7.Mego KISS Gene Simmons Demon. 1980 I was very young and had no idea who KISS was. What I did know was that this figure I got for one of my first Xmas gifts was crazy looking and looked awesome. Plus he went well with my Bionic Man collection and was a great heel to Steve Austin. It would be years after when this toy was long gone in the trash I discover what I really had. First I loved MEGO figures. I had SpiderMan, Batman, Superman, and Robin. This one however was massive. It was Barbie size and was dressed in a chain mail like clothing, with shiny silver boots and crazy hair. I called him simply Kiss.

I fell out of favor quickly with the Kiss doll as parts of the costume began to fall apart. Gene had a chain on his figure that just didnt want to stay on the toy. The boots ripped easily and soon Demon looked like he was on skid row minus a pot to piss in. Looking back at pictures though this toy stood out as easily one of my bragging rights and would be more appreciated years later especially when one of my first records happened to be Kiss Love Gun!

6. Weebles haunted House. This may seem like a wild card pick but this house kicked some serious ghost like butt. The House itself was plently of Weeble fun. Weebles were weighted egg shaped characters who could not tip over as they were designed to always bounce back up. The Weebles playsets were always well designed. I was lucky enough to have the Jungle Tree House and of course The haunted house. The house was very portable but when it opened up it was great. It had a hidden wall. A fun house mirror revolving bookcase. A chimney that acted as a slide to another floor. It also came with a glow in the dark ghost weeble.

The Weebles I honestly could have cared less for however the house was a playset for my massive GI Joe and Star Wars collections. Many scary adventures played out in those hallowed halls. At the time in my town there were very few places to actually shop and you were limited as to what you could buy without traveling to the city to hit the big box stores but that could be pretty costly. Well it seems that Santa shopped at a place called `Loveless and Sons which carried a back load of different toys. I knew that because I was brought there as a kid and asked quite bluntly if I liked this toy or that toy, not putting two and two together that I was agreeing to my own Christmas list. I chose wisely at a young age! Got some wicked Fisher Price stuff that trip too! Self High Five!

5. Transformers Megatron Mega friggin tron. Early Transformers were some of the coolest hard to find toys of the 80s. Megatron is no different. Megatron is in his original gun format and not the stupid helicopter of the movie fame. These are now collectors items and at the time as well Transformers had not began to air as a cartoon in our market as Go-Bots had been the robots in disguise of choice that my fave tv network choose to carry. I did see the commercials and I knew all about transformers from catalogues, and toy shelves at our two discount stores in our town. One Xmas morning I woke up to that bad boy and I was pumped.

Megatron is an impressive looking gun. Shiny silver, with a sick Decepticon logo on the side as well. Megatron came with a weird attachment that hooked on to the back of the gun that was really of no use. It extended the gun but servered no real use and to my knowledge was never seen in the show. The Transformation process was ackward as well. Megatron was incredibly difficult to turn into robot mode and once he was back into gun form parts such as his leg would easily disengage. Megatron did NOT look like his cartoon counter part at all and when transformed looked like he had a giant trigger unit between his legs that stood out prominently. The guns scope acted as a giant arm cannon for the toy. I still loved it..or at least consistently reminded myself that I should. Megatrons legs after constant use became loose and Megatron lost the ability to stand up and has long been sentenced to the Charlton Hero glue factory for toys.

 

4. Robotech Figure Collection. Robotech was one of my all time favorite TV cartoons. The toy line however was not something easy to come by in my town during the mid 80s. In fact there was NO Robotech merchandise of any sort available in any store in my location. One of the big xmas events in our town was the arrival of the Sear Xmas catalogue, aka “The Wish Book”. THese toys appeared for one year only and never returned. Robotech in my town was rare. To like the show was considered fringe because Anime back in 1986 had not become popularized as it is today. Robotech to many of my friends was the cartoon where everyone had big eyes and big hair and their dialogue was out of sync with the mouths of the characters. I loved it. It was my soap opera and better than any cartoon I had ever watched.

So I discovered the mother load carefully hidden in my spare bedroom weeks before Xmas and would often sneak a look at the toys every chance I got. I could not wait to get these figures. I had every one of the figures available, plus a Bioroid, and a Robotech Masters battle tank. Even though I ruined my surprise for Xmas it didnt matter cause now my GI Joes had some extra fire power! The Joes with the help or Rick, Roy, Max, Scott, and Zor took on the Zentradi several times over that Xmas even leading to wanna be Zentradi leader Kyrhon doing a suicide run of my GI Joe headquarters. Fun times. These figures looking back were very basic and most of them shared the same mold. They did not hold their guns properly and the joints went loose very quickly. But it was one of the best figure lines I could remember from my childhood. Thank you Matchbox..I am still waiting on that Veritech. If anyone has one and wants to give it away I will accept free donations..LOL.

3. Snake Mountain: Skeletors answer to Castle Grey Skull. This was an eye catching piece if there ever was one and my interest in He-Man was at an all time high. I had almost the full line with the glaring exceptions of Merman and Man At Arms!??  I had Castle Grey Skull but battles in that set were getting old. In fact He-Man itself was on a personal down turn in terms of my interest until Snake Mountain. Complete with large Snakes , a jail cell and a moving Snake head mouth in the middle of the set. It was neat compact and its best feature was its own built in boom mic which allowed the players to speak in a deep scary echo like tone. That feature was the drawing card for all my friends.

I still have this set and it is an amazing toy that seems to catch any kid who sees it. Even though my He-Man collection has dwindled over the last 15 years this set always brings me back to Eternia where men were men and the evil forces of Skeletor ran wild!

 

 

2.The Giant Size MR. T Doll. The A-Team was an incredible show in the 80s. Our heroes of the Los Angeles under ground were hotter than hell and none hotter than Mr. T himself! He played B.A. Barackas, the muscle behind the A-Team with a big fear of flying. Mr. T was known for his style. He had a serious mowhawk, he wore overalls with big white sports socks and buried himself in gold. Mr. T was a massive TV icon who could not be missed on TV during the 80s. With his signature line “I pity the fool” T resonated with TV audiences of the day.A-Team experimented with several variations of action figures. They had all sizes from your standard GI Joe size set, to the bigger He-Man size collection. Then came the Giant Sized Mr. T.

This toy was amazing. It did all things a regular action figure could do and was loaded with accessories. The T doll suffered the same fate as the Kiss Demon mentioned above as there were no other figures released. It was not a official A-Team toy even though it was featured with the A-team figures on Toy shelves. So Mr T. became a wrestler in my fantasy wrestling league with a bunch of my large LJN wrestling figures. Still poor Mr. T was too big. Eventually, his overalls would fall apart, earrings went missing, and to the closet went T. This doll is still somewhere naked and alone. Sad the rest of the A-Team were never made as this would have been an impressive collection. The You tube video below is kind of sad as two boys play with the giant sized Mr T very ackwardly. Really what do you do with him? Still damn cool and one of my faves.

1.The Death Star Space Station. Bar None the BEST Toy I ever got for Xmas in the VERY early 80s. I had not seen Star wars at that point but had seen clips, I had the toys and even a few comics. As said before stores that carried a good selection of toys were few and far between and I didnt even realize this toy existed. As I opened it I can remember the shock. I was amazed. The box was big under the Xmas tree and never in my dreams did I think it was a Star Wars toy! I had all the toys from that year, Luke , Han, Leia, C3P0, Chewbacca, Vader, Storm Troopers you name them I had them. Now I had the grandest stage of them all, the fuckin Death Star. Sorry about the profanity but its applicable in this case!

The Death Star was immense three levels of fun. It had all the good scenes built in from the movie, The Trash compactor with trash monster and loads of foam pieces that resemble trash. It had a huge elevator. It had a deck where Luke and Leia could swing across just like the movie! It had the giant cannon..this was jacked! It remains the one toy that I have yet to see in person since. This set last for years and played until play could not happen on it anymore. If I could recommend a vintage toy this would be it! For the pure Xmas adrenaline rush and the biggest POP I ever actually gave a Xmas present the Death Star deserves my first place finish!

I am sure everyone has their own toy list as well. This was my list of the toys I felt the biggest connection with upon opening them. I am sure this is not even close to a top ten toy list but it is simply my favorite memories of those shiny presents under the Xmas tree in my youth that I can still vividly remember to this very day. I now feel like Kevin’s narrator on the Wonder Years when I say now that Xmas means more to me watching my own kids light up with surprise and wonder. So to all my Satellite Heroes I wish you all a very merry Xmas and to those not into that a very Happy holiday season! See ya in the new year!

Transmission ended.

If you have enjoyed this blog post feel free to leave a comment as I will reply to them all. If you want to contact me directly catch me on Twitter as @charlton_hero, or join the conversation using #SuperHeroSatellite.