Contra spreads the word, Sideshow Cecil debuts, The worst Lost episode airs, and Sonic goes Wii – Feb 17-23

1987 brings Contra to arcades and has The Smiths singing about how music is sad, while 1997 brings our minds on a strange trip down Lost Highway to a Namco Museum. In a packed 2007, we discuss Reno 911: Miami’s move to theaters, pinpoint the worst Lost episode ever, and wax nostalgic on Crackdown and Sonic the Hedgehog’s Wii-exclusive adventure.

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1987:

News
Fawn Hall, former secretary to Oliver L. North has been granted immunity in the Iran-contra affair. She says she feels “nervous” but “famous” for her new role as a key figure in the Iran-contra scandal.

Square Dance – Winona Ryder, Rob Lowe nominated for Golden Globe

Death Before Dishonor: Fred Dryer

Morgan Stewart’s Coming Home: Jon Cryer

TV

Candid Camera’s 40th anniversary airs alongside the Miss America pageant

Murder, She Wrote “Death Takes a Dive” with guest stars Ernest Borgnine, LeVar Burton, Jerry
Orbach, and Adam West

TV movie “Love Among Thieves” starring Audrey Hepburn and Robert Wagner

Games

Contra released in arcades, comes to NES in 1988, around Nintendo Power’s ascent. Side scrolling and then vertical, running into the screen, great music, two player simultaneous was the big NES sell. Clearly Arnold / Stallone homages, very Rambo meets Aliens.

Music

Fighting the World – Manowar
The World Won’t Listen – compilation album by The Smiths, Morrisey frustrated that mainstream radio wasn’t picking a lot of songs up, has There is a light that never goes out, Shoplifters of the World Unite, Panic

1997:

Music

Lost Highway soundtrack – Trent Reznor-led for Lynch’s movie, Perfect Drug main hit, other songs from other albums. Rammstein pre-Du Hast songs Heirate Mich and Rammstein from Herzeleid
Secret Samadhi – third Live album, loved Throwing Copper, Lightning Crashes still on the radio a lot but Selling the Drama, Shit Town etc are great
Wannabe is #1 – talked about the debut album last year, but the song is finally blowing up, kicking Unbreak my Heart off the top

News

Scottish scientists announce they’ve cloned a sheep! And her name’s Dolly!

Movies

Rosewood

Lost Highway: Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette

Miss Evers’ Boys (HBO): Laurence Fishburn, Alfre Woodard an adaptation of a play about the Tuskeegee experiments where black men with syphillis were left untreated

Empire Strikes Back SE – mostly cleaned up picture, a few additional CG touch ups, person in wampa suit

TV

ABC airs Hey Hey It’s The Monkees, a one-hour comedy special. The show features all four of the original Monkees and would be the last time Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork would appear together.

CBS airs the tv movie, The Perfect Mother, starring Tyne Daly. It’s basically fatal attraction, but it’s a mom instead.

The Friends episode “The One The Morning After” airs, where Ross deals with the fallout of sleeping with another woman after Rachel suggests they temporarily split up. Coined the phrase, “we were on a break”!

C Bear and Jamal ends its two season 13 episode run, featuring Tone Loc as the aforementioned C Bear

NBC airs Schindler’s List uncensored with few breaks, 65 mil. watch

Games

NAMCO Museum Vol 3 – Ms Pac-Man, Galaxian, Dig Dug, Phozon, Pole Position II, The Tower of Drauga

DISTURBING MS PAC MAN ROOM:

2007:

Music

Kidz Bop 11!
Welcome the Night – The Ataris’ follow up to So Long Astoria, which had Boys of Summer 2003
All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone – Explosions in the Sky fifth album, Welcome Ghosts

News

Rafael Garcia – a videographer records some 30 to 50 rats through a window of a closed-KFC-Taco Bell restaurant in Greenwich Village. “There were enough creatures in that room that they could have devoured a human being… It was frenzy. They were going up walls. They were jumping up and down. They rats even came to the front window – like they were playing to the camera! Garcia said he has made a profit from the tapes – which have been shown on morning shows and the like. “It’s exciting to me to do that kind of business. Exhilarating. And there are no dead people involved.”

Movies

The Astronaut Farmer

The Abandoned, Amazing Grace, The Number 23

Reno 911 Miami

TV

Fox News debuts “The Half Hour News Hour,” a right-leaning comedy show a la The Daily Show. Initial ratings are strong, but sank fast and it is canceled after 17 episodes.

2/22/07 – The 30 Rock episode Hard Ball actually features the MSNBC show hardball, where Jenna Maroney gets in trouble mixing up Osama Bin Laden and Barack Obama

The Lost episode Stranger in a Strange Land airs. It’s often called the worst episode of Lost, and it motivated the producers to work with ABC to set an end date.

The OC finale, “The End’s Not Near, It’s Here” airs, ending the show’s run after 4 seasons and 92 episodes

Games

MACH – PSP jet racing game.? Stands for modified air combat heroes, partly a jab at Air/Ace Combat, could tinker with jets
Metal Slug Anthology on PSP
Supreme Commander on PC – hotly anticipated RTS from Gas Powered Games, Dungeon Siege people. Could zoom in and out, so far to see the whole battlefield. Extremely demanding of hardware

Crackdown – Realtime Worlds, largely remembered as the way to play the Halo 3 Beta, but it in a pre-GTA IV, pre-Saints Row, pre-numerous open-world Spider-Man games, this was an unimaginably fun mix of superhero feats of strength and sandbox fun. 1.5m sold, one of the first big live play sessions we did at GR,

Sonic and the Secret Rings – Sonic Team making Wii-specific content, good audience match and a case of a third party actually trying.

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31 thoughts on “Contra spreads the word, Sideshow Cecil debuts, The worst Lost episode airs, and Sonic goes Wii – Feb 17-23

  1. The Abandoned is a rad horror movie that got buried in the shitshow of “8 Films To Die For”, if anyone remembers that trash fire. solid movie to my best memory, slow, purposeful, creepy. If you can find it, worth a watch.

  2. This week ten years ago is especially important to me. Supreme Commander was the first game I ever worked on when I was new in the industry. I was hired at Gas Powered Games in 2006 (after working at Electronic Boutique) to help finish up Supreme Commander. I was wide eyed and excited to finally be working in the games industry, a childhood dream realized! On SupCom, as we called it, I started as a production assistant doing whatever smalltime tasks they gave me. If you see a screenshot of the game I probably took it. It was a crazy production and we worked late a lot but I have very fond memories of those days. I’m lucky enough to still be working in games now.

    Bonus: The GPG office was right across the street from Nintendo and just being near it made me feel like I was really going places 🙂

  3. Hey cool! I got a shout out this episode! I’m both thrilled and terribly embarrassed you acknowledged my existence. Thanks!

  4. Brett was wondering if anyone knows what happened to The Ataris. My band actually opened up for them last fall. It was a $15 show and there were only about 20 people who paid to see them. Before the show we were all joking about The Ataris because we liked them in high school and hadn’t heard from them since, but they surprised us by being some of the nicest dudes we’ve ever played with. The singer is basically the only original member left and does all of his own booking and drives their tour van. They didn’t do a soundcheck and absolutely killed. We all left the show feeling bad for having doubted them, because they put on an such an incredible show. They’re basically just a touring garage band again and they played with the same amount of enthusiasm and energy that you would expect from a band headlining festivals.

  5. I loved Throwing Copper but was pretty disappointed with Secret Samadhi. I still think Rattlesnake is a really good song, though.

  6. Secret Rings was a pretty decent games. The controls are a bit clunky especially nowadays, but it’s a million times better than Sonic06.
    What really killed it for me tho was the RPG elements they tacked on and the missions that forced you to re-play the same stages
    over and over again in to unlock further levels. Some of these missions ranged from insanely easy to painstaikingy difficult and often took more time to load than the durration of some of them. Because of that Instead of being a short fun decent game it turned it into a super tedious experience.

  7. You mentioned “Death before dishonor” being familiar but hard to place – it’s the motto of the Nazis! It’s what’s written under their skull emblems – you’ll remember in x-men first class, this factoid is played very well in a scene with Magneto in Brazil playing with a knife.

    1. Of course, there wasn’t a movie, as this took place in a major enough American city, where many of its citizens erased that moment in time off the history books and archives.

  8. Just a note on the looming Harry Potter release. It was called Philosopher’s Stone in Canada too, leading to a great confusion for me as a non booker reader at the time the first movie came out. I’d hear promotional material saying Philosopher’s Stone, and other material on American TV and the internet saying Sorcerer’s Stone. Finally I got fed up and looked it up, and learned the truth.

    Also, in my recent trip to Hong Kong I wandered into a movie store and checked… it’s called Sorcerer’s Stone! It must be quite a project to track down which territory has which. I’m certain purists in America were taking advantage of the Canadian border to get what they’d call “pure” editions of the books and Region 1 DVDs.

  9. The OC was not “smarter” than 90210 etc — it *was* more enjoyable though,, because it was so goddamn trashy and hilarious

  10. I bought the entire Reno series for $25 a few years ago and I enjoyed a lot of it, and was a bit miffed I had to get the DVD separately. But it was $4 off Amazon. The theatrical release was surprisingly the more “shocking” version as theatregoers got to see that big breasted whale pusher and the jacking off scene. The “hidden” director’s cut was basically more like the tv show and a helluvalot tamer and suitable for TV.

  11. I would love if you guys did an episode of Laser Time around one of those Kidz Bop albums like what you did with Simpson’s Sing the Blues.

  12. Perfect Drug is also on disk 2 of The Fragile, I believe (hope you guys spend some time on that double LP when that drops, it’s a classic)

  13. Oh 1987 – I was an 11 year old just finding my way, discovered my love of the Smith’s and knowing the Contra code (and not sharing it with my younger siblings LOL)
    FYI – Hunter with Fred Dryer is currently streaming on Hulu in case you wanna check it out
    FYI P2 – Empire Strikes Back is my all time favorite as that was the first real movie my Mom took me to as a small child (first animated film The Fox and the Hound – scarred for life I tell ya)

    Great Show as always – peace out!

  14. I have been catching up on these lately and I need, NEED to bring up something you guys missed about a month ago. Hopefully this is a place where you will see it. Being from Buffalo, with the Canadian border literally less than 10 miles from my house, I grew up watching and listening to a ton of Canadian entertainment. In late January 1987 Degrassi Junior High debuted on the CBC. This series, along with it’s sequel Degrassi High is probably the most seminal piece of television entertainment for an entire generation of Canadian kids (and some American kids too). Its presentation of teenage issues is incredible for the time, very realistic, not condescending, often providing multiple very reasonable reactions and viewpoints and pretty daring in the topics it covered (drugs, child abuse, teen pregnancy, homosexuality, racism, divorce, suicide, AIDS, abortion, alcoholism, death of a teen’s parents, interracial dating, eating disorders — all things that kids going to a Public School in the late 80s would likely have encountered) . Now, while I was only 2 years old when the show debuted, I still grew up watching it as a result of the CBC replaying it on weekday afternoons for basically 2 decades. Most American kids of the same era grew up on 90210, which actually got made as a result of Aaron Spelling wanting to make an American Degrassi, and deciding in short order that it should be a soap opera instead of an issue-based show.

    If you want a kind of touchpoint for the series, coming up is the anniversary of the episode “It’s Late…” which aired at the end of March. It’s the episode where 14 year old Spike learns that she is pregnant, which as far as I can tell is one of the earliest portrayals of teen pregnancy on television anywhere, aside from the famous Rob Lowe afterschool special. Not only was this episode a pretty great treatment of the subject, but Spike’s pregnancy and child became a storyline through the entire series, and eventually the catalyst for the 2000s reboot, as her child is the main character of that series. The whole episode is up on YouTube, uploaded by PBS.

    Anyhow, even if you don’t go into excruciating detail like I cant help myself from doing, I hope you guys at least mention the debut of the show, as I know it was super important for tons of people. Thanks for the content guys, keep it up!

  15. Hey guys, I am catching up on old episodes so I can’t remember which one this was addressed in, but I take some issue with you saying parents should never take their kids to Vegas. My Dad took me when I was 13 and it was one of the best times I’ve had.

    Now the thing you forgot to mention that there was a time there in the 90s where Vegas was trying really hard to get families to vacation there, and really upped the kid friendless of the themed hotels. Going to Excalibur right when it was built was awesome, and they were the first to have motion simulator rides outside of Disney. Treasure Island had an awesome Pirate stunt show and my favorite hotel was Luxor which had this interactive show broken up in three parts. A motion simulator, a 3D live talk show and a huge IMAX film that all went along this StarGate-esque story to uncover this lost relic. It was so much fun.

    And the cherry on top, Stone Temple Pilots were playing at the Aladdin, my favorite band at the time and I got to see them. It was a great trip and I only have fond memories of it.

    And as you mentioned all the naked lady cards they hand out are even better when you are a 13 year old boy, not worse.

  16. If you were a European gamer in 1987 you wouldn’t be playing Contra OR Probotector since the NES release didn’t happen until 1990, which should go some way to explain Nintendo’s lack of traction in the region until the SNES launched. Instead we got home computer conversions of the arcade game under the name GRYZOR (and despite appearances at least two of them are pretty enjoyable).

    Probably the most notable thing about the European releases though, is the box art made by Bob Wakelin for Ocean Software. It must’ve caught the eye of someone at Konami since it ended up becoming the iconic artwork that appeared on the NES version, although Ocean’s release had the whole piece of artwork on it, not to mention the cooler logo.

    Incidentally, while the characters on the box have a distinctly Schwarzenegger/Stallone feel to them, both of the poses are actually based on stills of Schwarzenegger in Predator.

    Bob Wakelin was enormously prolific and produced lots of excellent box art, mainly for Ocean. Check out his work on Operation Wolf, Midnight Resistance, Chase HQ and Vindicator to name just a few, all of them embody the feel of 80s action movies.

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