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11 Jan 14:01

Apple servers briefly enabled signing of older iOS firmwares, allowing users to downgrade to earlier versions

Dj10bear

ching chong servers ping pow wang wong china

Article Image

Apple's servers started to sign older versions of iOS for a number of hours on Wednesday night, an issue that gave iPhone and iPad owners a brief opportunity to downgrade iOS to an earlier release, with some hardware found to be downgradable to iOS 6.
11 Jan 14:00

Meeting Keanu Reeves at a traffic light

by /u/unknown_human
08 Jan 19:16

This cat has an unsettlingly human face.

by /u/AVeryMadFish
05 Jan 15:56

Girl Scouts will attempt cookie dunking record in Rosemont

Some 5,000 Girl Scouts, family members and friends will try to set a world record Saturday in Rosemont for most cookies dunked into milk at the same time.
03 Jan 14:52

dual toe stoppie with shake. 1982. dig the skyway tuffwheels

by /u/motorusti
23 Dec 01:36

Apple Being Sued for 'Purposefully Slowing Down Older iPhone Models'

by /u/bromide992
Dj10bear

that mike kim sure is sneaky too bad he got caught!

20 Dec 14:27

Rich People Have Installed Anti-Bird Spikes in Trees to Keep Bird Poop Away from Cars

by Matt Novak
Dj10bear

this makes me mad

Nobody likes it when a bird poops on their car. But the residents of a wealthy neighborhood in Bristol, England seem to have taken this dislike to another level. They’ve installed anti-bird spikes on local trees. Humans really are the worst.

Read more...

20 Dec 00:44

Apple refunds Chinese woman after colleague unlocks her iPhone X using Face ID

by Dave
Dj10bear

lol

from https://www.techworm.net

Chinese Woman Gets Refund From Apple After Colleague Unlocks iPhone X With Face ID

The USP of Apple’s 10th anniversary premium smartphone, iPhone X is the Face ID technology used in the device that provides high security and cannot be tricked, according to the tech giant.

However, this Face ID technology failed when a colleague of a Chinese woman from Nanjing could unlock not one but two of her iPhone X handsets, reported the South China Morning Post.

The woman identified only by her surname Yan, from Nanjing, China told the Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation that her co-worker was able to unlock both her iPhone X – original as well as the new one Apple gave her as a replacement – on every single attempt.

The first time it happened, Yan called the Apple hotline but the support team apparently refused to believe her. In order to demonstrate the facial recognition problem, Yan went to the nearest Apple Store along with her colleague to show the staff what happened.

Apple staff at the store said the camera might be faulty and gave Yan a refund, which she used to buy a new iPhone X, reported the South China Morning Post. However, she faced the same problem with the replaced iPhone X prompting the store to offer a second refund, said the report.

It’s still not clear whether Yan has bought a third iPhone X with the refund money. Apple has yet to comment on the issue.
20 Dec 00:43

New MacOS malware steals bank log-in details and intellectual property

by Dave

From https://www.scmagazineuk.com
Security researchers have discovered a new, invasive OSX.Pirrit adware variant targeting Mac OS X that enables cyber-criminals to take full control of a user's Mac computer.
Security researchers have discovered a new, invasive OSX.Pirrit adware variant targeting Mac OS X that enables cyber-criminals to take full control of a user's Mac computer.
The malware has already infected thousands of Mac computers around the world. According to a blog post by Amit Serper, principal security researcher at Cybereason, while usual adware campaigns enable the attackers to flood a person's computer with ads, this malware not only bombards Macs with adware, it spies on users and runs with the highest user privileges, enabling hackers to leverage this adware to capture personal information on the users, including bank account logins and intellectual property of businesses.

“To my surprise, it's very active. Not only is it still infecting people's Macs, OSX.Pirrit's authors learned from one of their mistakes (They obviously read at least one of our earlier reports),” said Serper.

He added that unlike old versions of OSX.Pirrit that used rogue browser plug-ins or even installed a proxy server on the victim's machine to hijack the browser, this incarnation uses AppleScript, Apple's scripting/automation language.

“And, like its predecessors, this variant is nasty. In addition to bombarding people with ads, it spies on them and runs under root privileges,” he said.

Serper said that the malware uses AppleScript to injects JavaScript code directly into the browser. He added that the code is “a great example of how an adtech company is borrowing nefarious tactics found in malware to make it hard for antivirus software and other security products to detect them.”

“There is no difference between traditional malware that steals data from its victims and adware that spies on people's Web browsing and target them with ads, especially when those ads are for either fake antivirus programs or Apple support scams,” he said.

“As for OSX.Pirrit malware, it runs under root privileges, creates autoruns and generates random names for itself on each install. Plus, there are no removal instructions and some of its components mask themselves to appear like they're legitimate and from Apple.”

He said that a company called TargetingEdge created OSX.Pirrit and his research hasn't gone unnoticed by it.
“Cybereason has received a few cease and desist letters from a firm claiming to be TargetingEdge's legal counsel. The letters demand that we stop referring to TargetingEdge's software as malware and refrain from publishing this report,” he said.

Serper said around 28 other antivirus engines on Virus Total also classify it as such. “The authors of this software went through great lengths to mask themselves and distance themselves from it,” he added. TargetingEdge claimed that it develops and operates a “legitimate and legal installer product for MAC users,” and is not malware and doesn't include any features of malware.

Kelvin Murray, threat research analyst at Webroot, told SC Media UK that users need to report any changes to the search or browser settings of their device to the admin. Users need to be aware that these changes can just be one visible part of a much bigger problem. He adds, “In addition, admins need to take the usual security measures including software updates, AV, and user education. Both the admin and users need to see this as yet another sign that Macs are not “virus proof” as is so commonly assumed and often ignored. There is a need of a stronger focus put onto OSX as security vulnerabilities are becoming more apparent, especially taking into account the event of the MacOS High Sierra.”

07 Dec 17:57

Pantone Announces Color of the Year 2018

by HYPEBEAST

Since 2000, Pantone has been selecting a color of the year, summing up cultural touchstones in a single shade. For 2018, the color authority has decided upon Pantone 18-3838, better known as Ultra Violet.

Explaining that the complex color reflects our convoluted culture, the company took note of Ultra Violet's contrastingly provocative and introspective implications. Members of the Pantone Color Institute met to discuss everything ranging from food and fashion to politics and technological advancements. The color experts at the gathering noted purple's appearance in 20th century activist movements, '60s counterculture, recent runway shows and the Geneva Auto Show. With Prince receiving a tributary shade after his passing, it was decided that purple was entirely of the moment.

Although Pantone insists that its selection isn't made to impact fashion, trends or tastes, the company is offering a formula guide on its website to best elucidate how to utilize Ultra Violent in forthcoming designs. For more year-end awards, check out TIME's Person of the Year and GQ's Citizen of the Year

Read more at HYPEBEASTClick here to view full gallery at HYPEBEAST

05 Dec 18:13

Freight Train Running Down Middle of the Street with Caboose!

by Delay In Block Productions

See the full video here: goo.gl/Cx39Zm

On October 29th, 2017, we found ourselves along the South Shore once again to chase assigned freight train three during its last week of operation. AF3, which interchanged with CSX at East Chicago at the time, was being abolished due to corporate changes at CSX. This job had been operating since the early 2000s, running over the CSX Garrett Subdivision mainline from the Miller Connection to East Chicago’s Peiguss Yard, providing railfans a unique opportunity to see the South Shore running at 60MPH over the former B&O mainline. After November 3rd, 2017, the South Shore would no longer utilize the Garrett Subdivision to interchange with CSX, but rather interchange with the Belt Railway of Chicago instead for all in-and-outbound traffic between the two railroads. Here, at Michigan City, Indiana, the train rolls down 11th Street after interchanging with CSX.

Subscribers: help support us by crowdfunding through Patreon or PayPal. With your support, we can continue to produce high quality railroad media for you to enjoy. Even just $1 per month is a huge help.

Contribute via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/DelayInBlock
Contribute via PayPal: https://www.paypal.me/delayinblock

Check out our web store: http://www.delayinblock.com

Thanks for watching! Please comment, rate, and Subscribe!

Copyright 2017. Any illegal reproduction of this video and its content is strictly prohibited. Full legal action will take place if necessary if reproduced or licensed without expressed written permission from Delay In Block Productions.

Note:

Please excuse the advertisements. Through the Google Adsense program, the advertisements help me pay for the trips I take to capture the trains.

Thanks,

-DIB
20 Nov 14:18

World Endurance Championship Finale Interrupted By Precious Little Kitty Cat

by Stef Schrader on Black Flag, shared by Alex Hevesy to Jalopnik

Who’s a bad little fluffums? Bad kitty! Look what you’ve done, Snufferlumpapaws. Look at this big mess you made! You briefly yellow-flagged the season finale of the world’s highest rung of endurance sports car racing. Bad, kitty, bad! Bad! Bad!

Read more...

16 Nov 04:08

"Cat Cosplay" in Tumblr is Transforming Felines Into Famous Characters

costume cosplay tumblr Cats - 3988741

Cat Cosplay is a tumblr dedicated to cosplay for cats. Yes, there is apparently a very active community that likes to create the most crazy costumes, transforming the majestic felines into characters from pop culture, from Star Trek to Harry Potter via Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Pokemon and so on. Welcome to the world of cosplay for cats! 

Submitted by:

Tagged: costume , cosplay , tumblr , Cats
13 Nov 14:57

Atari Kangaroo: The elephant in the arcade

by Tony

It goes without saying that Atari released the majority of the true classics during the Golden Era of arcade gaming. Hit after hit was created, manufactured and released.

But it wasn’t easy. The challenge they faced was constantly having to come up with new concepts and ideas. If there was a flaw in their business model, it was that Atari were only as good as their last release. Unable to rest on their laurels when a big hit like Centipede was released, the pressure was constantly on to find what the next hit game was going to be, and to bet heavily on it by investing in marketing and production.

And despite their best efforts, the success of a game was not an exact science. Whatever the opinion of a new title was within the corridors of Atari, its viability once released, was ultimately determined by the reception it received by operators, and then on the arcade floor. Take Gravitar as an example – so sparse were initial sales, that already produced cabinet shells complete with Gravitar artwork, were hastily converted to other games on the production line before being pushed out to market. More on Gravitar later…

atari brainstorming
An Atari Coin-Op Division brainstorming session, mid 1981

Although Atari had many years’ experience in its favour, not to mention the biggest brand and some of the best programmers in the business, there was still a knife-edge element to the journey from idea to arcade.

Atari was now big business, and with that came internal politics. Atari’s owner, Warner Communications, was always pushing for new product, incoming revenue and of course profit – this was what drove their stock price. Perhaps being detached from the day-to-day running of Atari’s Coin-Operated Division, they would likely not appreciate some of the nuances involved in the developement of new arcade games. But with one eye on the books, Warner Communications were hard taskmasters, and demanded a constant stream of quality releases from the Sunnyvale factory. They had paid good money for Atari, and wanted the cash-cow milked for every cent possible.

Demanding a game within a certain time period would have been unrealistic – there may not be a game close to being finished; a programmer could only work so hard, and a rushed game might ultimately lose money if released without due care and attention. Scheduling releases vs the quality of those games would have been a huge headache for Atari’s management. Especially when dealing with Atari’s programmers, who had a healthy cynicism for the men in suits who ran the numbers of Atari’s business. I get the impression that making demands on Atari’s in-house engineers, programmers and project leaders would have been met with short shrift. They loved what they did, and didn’t really care about balance sheets or the pressures of corporate America’s boardrooms.

Eyeing the recent success of Nintendo’s Donkey Kong and Nichibutsu’s Crazy Climber, Atari wanted to ride on this new platformer genre bandwagon, that was seeing considerable success in the North American market. Not seeing anything resembling a platform game in development in-house, a decision was made, presumably by the Sales & Marketing team, to find a platformer already developed by another company. That game turned out to be Kangaroo.

Atari’s Kanagroo is an unusual release in that it was one of the few titles released under their name, but not developed by Atari themselves.

Atari Kangaroo Flyer 1
Atari Kangaroo Promotional Flyer 1

The game puts the player at the controls of a mother kangaroo, who must climb ladders and platforms to rescue her joey son at the top of the screen. Along the way, monkeys and other enemies will throw bananas and other crap in an effort to scupper progress. It is regarded as a classic, due largely to the magnificent looking cabinet the game was housed in, but I personally think the game is awful – I’d say the present-day community is split equally about Kangaroo – there are some who do love the game.

Atari Kangaroo Flyer 2
Atari Kangaroo Promotional Flyer 2

The licensing of arcade games was commonplace at this time – manufacturer Centuri made a business out of it, and released some of the best known titles of the era: Track n Field, Phoenix, Eagle, Circus Charlie, were all licensed games from other companies, usually Japanese companies with no presence in the US market. The manufacturer paid a fee to the creator of the game, which would secure them the rights to release that game in agreed markets.

Kangaroo was developed by little known Japanese developer Sun Electronics. Seeing the game as an opportunity to acquire an arcade platformer without the costs (or time involved) of development, Atari negotiated a licence in the spring of 1982.

kangaroo screen shot
A screen shot of Atari’s Kangaroo

On paper of course, it was a win-win. With no distribution logistics in the West (now a huge video game market) Sun Electronics could monetize their title by selling the game to Atari for cold hard cash – who in turn acquired a much-needed new title that they could drop into empty arcade cabinets and sell exclusively.

The suits at Atari were pleased. This arrangement made perfect sense. The game was put out to field test for a week and received broadly positive feedback from players. This was good enough for the company under pressure to keep selling games. No sooner had the ink dried on the contracts, arrangements were made for production and marketing to begin.

This video was quickly produced to attract sales from operators and distributors:

When you want a pouch full of profits, stick with the leader; ATARI!

But of course, the release wouldn’t involve any of the programmers or designers employed within the coin-op division.

Things were about to kick off.

The Engineers of Atari were of course working on other games. Games they thought were quality products, and rightly they expected the support of Atari management when it came to shuffling these games along the development journey and out for production. For some, seeing Kangaroo arrive with some fanfare, get marketing backing based on minimal field testing and seemingly elbowing other in-house games out-of-the-way was just too much.

One of these people was Rich Adam. Rich was working on a game called Lunar Battle (later renamed Gravitar of course), at the time when Kangaroo arrived in the USA. To Rich’s bemusement, Lunar Battle was removed from a field test to make way for two potential licensed games to take its place, after just two weeks. So aggrieved was he about what he saw going on, he decided to write a memo titled:

Why am I working so hard to make a quality product?

Rich Adam Kangaroo Memo
Rich Adam’s ‘firery’ internal memo. Credit: Dan Coogan/Rich Adam archives

If you want to see and read the original two page memo in detail, you can do so here and here.

Dated 4th May 1982, he sent it to the top brass within Atari; to 7 people in total, including Frank Ballouz, Vice President of Marketing, and the heads of Coin-Op Engineering.

Rich got straight to the point in his opening paragraph:

There is an epidemic raging through the Coin-Op Marketing and Engineering Management staff. The disease is called License Fever. It destroys the brain cells of its victims, crippling their thought processes. These poor souls can no longer distinguish between a product that is junk and one that has the quality the public identifies with Atari.

He went on:

How could a healthy, logical person make a decision to build a game of the caliber of Kangaroo based on one weeks collections report? Such a decision must be the result of a severe cranial dysfunction.

The impact of Kangaroo to Coin-Cops reputation is discouraging to think about. More serious however, is the impact n Engineering. The product teams that develop games here, work extremely hard. For these individuals to have to compete with trash games like Kangaroo……for engineering support creates a very real morale problem.

So Adam decided to go there. He wrote down in black and white what effect the bulldozing through a new game developed outside of Atari was having on staff, struggling to get their games developed – and, sent the memo to senior members of staff.

Atari Kangaroo Upright Cabinet
Kangaroo was quite the looker. Some of Atari’s best artwork for sure

His anger was palpable:

The mere consideration of these half-done games is confusing to engineers who are used to much higher standards. Result: even lower morale.

Cleary having discovered the new game’s arrival at Atari’s offices, and playing it, Rich couldn’t believe what he was seeing. This sluggish game with graphics that clashed in places, the license made no sense to him at all. To have his product pushed to one side, so that Kangaroo would be rushed out was incomprehensible.

kangaroo

Rich drops the mic with his signoff:

The point here is this: in light of all the priority which is being given to these inferior games, I must ask myself “why am I working so hard to make a quality product?”

The note is a fascinating insight into what Atari had become – essentially a “them and us” culture – there was clearly some resentment within the building, and this would have come with Atari becoming bigger and bigger, and accountability being spread more thinly across the organisation, resulting in those who built the business feeling they had less of a say to its ongoing future strategy. As is typical of large corporate environments, people felt less accountable and unheard.

And Rich makes a great point in his memo – how can it make sense for Atari for buy in a new game rather than craft its own from scratch – a tried and tested formula that had worked so well for them since the mid-70s? It felt like corner cutting, at the cost of an inferior product.

It didn’t end there either. Sun Electronics also sold the license to its Arabian arcade title a few months later. But it’s worth pointing out that not all games that Atari decided to licence around this time were as poor in gameplay terms as Kangaroo. Namco’s Dig Dug and Pole Position spring to mind. Both were big hits respectively.

Atari Kangaroo Production Line
The Atari Kangaroo production line during the fall of 1982

But despite all the venom directed at Kangaroo and what it represented internally at Atari, it was actually a success. Over 9,803 cabinets were produced and sold (and ironically compare this to the number of Rich Adam’s game Gravitar that were eventually produced – just 5,427). Kangaroo was even syndicated as a Saturday morning kids cartoon on US TV networks in 1982! Not bad for a title regarded as “half-done” by Rich Adams himself, and as “awful” by the idiot penning this article. Maybe Rich and I were wrong? There’s no accounting for taste I suppose.

dig_dug_and_kangaroo_marketing_photo
An Atari marketing photo shoot for Dig Dug & Kangaroo. Credit: The Strong, Rochester, New York

So, Atari Kangaroo. Check it out on MAME if you can and see what you think. It’s a quirky game for sure, if for no other reason than it caused quite a stir internally at Atari.

For a more in-depth look at Kangaroo‘s cabinet and gameplay, check out this excellent video.

Thanks for reading this week.

Tony

Thanks to Dan Coogan and his excellent Gravitar website. His published Atari documentation about Gravitar (and Rich’s memo specifically) formed the basis of this article.

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03 Nov 18:35

So this hotel called fire department because there was so much smoke coming from a room.

by /u/GeorgeCrowned
26 Oct 13:54

I remembered a funny old commercial to show my 11 year old kid, then turned to dust and blew away when I saw what the ad was for.

by /u/thejohnblog
23 Oct 13:58

Sky Skipper: UK arcade reveal!

by Tony
Dj10bear

amazing how far these nerds went to re-create an arcade

Well over a year ago, I wrote about Nintendo’s Sky Skipper arcade game, after UK collector Alex Crowley found an original PCB game board during an arcade raid. If you’re new to this topic, do take 5 minutes to familiarise yourself with the story up to that point here.

In short: Alex discovered a Nintendo PCB in a warehouse that was clearly marked as a Sky Skipper arcade game. It had been factory converted to Popeye. Very few of these boards exist, and he was able to get the PCB reverse-engineered, back to play the unreleased Sky Skipper game.

Sky Skipper Screen Grab

A great deal has happened since the board was found. Once Alex had the board in his hands and fully working, together with fellow collector Olly Cotton, he started piecing together the cabinet artwork, by studying the handful of flyers and pictures they were able to track down.  The ultimate plan was to recreate the cabinet true to the original design. Together with his US-based counterpart, Whitney Roberts, the plan was to reveal the cabinet both in the USA and the UK. But there were issues as Whitney explains:

When I initially signed onto the project with Alex and Olly, we truly only had a color flyer and a lot of enthusiasm as our main ingredients to restoring the cabinets.  Olly had done a tremendous amount of work with the artwork available at the time, and we felt we could piece together some of the missing details to flesh out a passing example of what we thought Sky Skipper would have looked like.  The fact remained, however, that despite our best efforts, we were shy any real details that would allow us to finish this project with any semblance of historical accuracy.

After much research, Whitney got a lead from none other than Billy Mitchell (he of King of Kong fame and the first person officially recognised to have scored a perfect game of Pac-Man). Amazingly, it turned out that Bill remembered playing the game at Nintendo of America back in the day, during a promotional visit of some sort. Bill asked Whitney for some time, and promised to pull some strings. Whitney couldn’t believe his luck:

Right then I knew we had hit pay dirt.  Not only had Billy seen the game, he had played on it and confirmed what we had previously could only assume to be true. With just one sentence, the project leaped forward significantly.  We had confirmed the game actually existed in a playable form at some point in the past AND it had sat on American soil.

This was quite the coup. Whitney knew that he had to get into Nintendo of America (something very few people outside of the company manage to do) and see the machine for himself. But what were the chances of NOA opening their doors and letting him see and scan the artwork? Well it turned out that the odds were in fact pretty good. With Billy’s help, Whitney got a personal invite from the head of Nintendo’s archives to come into the campus, and spend two hours with the only Sky Skipper cabinet known to exist anywhere in the world.

On arrival at NOA, Whitney was escorted to a room:

I was never left unsupervised – which is actually good.  I didn’t want something to happen and I then be found liable due to circumstance.  So I made sure she was OK with me taking 60-90 minutes to scan the cabinet artwork and document it to the best of my ability and she said “It’s all yours”.

She swung open the door, flicked on the light switch and there it was….

37799568091_b013e08b94_z
Whitney with the original (and only) original Sky Skipper cabinet

Sky Skipper serial number 0001 had been saved and stored by Nintendo. The condition was remarkably good considering its age. Apart from some fading to the artwork, and damage to the white t-molding, everything was complete. Scarcely able to contain his excitement, Whitney set to work. Working methodically around the cabinet he used a portable scanner to scan every inch of artwork. The marquee, the side art, the control panel and bezel.

37751335316_da36da7186_z
Whitney was able to remove the marquee to scan its artwork

What I find amazing, is that NOA were happy to support the project – they were fully aware as to what the guys intended to do and gave them their blessing to go ahead and reproduce this artwork for their big reveal on both sides of the Atlantic. For a company renowned for its secrecy and staunch protection of its Intellectual Properties, this was a huge gesture of good faith.

After several hours’ at the facility, Whitney scurried away from NOA armed with his precious scans and hundreds of pictures of the cabinet. These files were shared with Olly, and he was able to fully recreate the artwork after many hours of work. This was no mean feat, as much of the original art had faded over time. But after getting arcade art company This Old Game on board to produce the final artwork, the team was now ready to reveal the cabinets to the world.

The first reveal was at the Southern Fried Game Expo in June 2017 – Alex flew over to be a part of the proceedings, and for the first time, the wider American public was able to clap eyes on what the Sky Skipper project had been up to!

37009313494_005b9216f0_z
L-R: Walter Day, Alex, Whitney, Billy Mitchell and Rich from ThisOldGame.com

Here’s a video of the proceedings in America if you want to watch the whole thing.

But next up, it was the turn of the UK. After much thought, it was decided that the cabinet would be unveiled at Arcade Club in Bury. Whitney flew over with his family and had none other than John from John’s Arcade in tow for the ride (yeah yeah hey guys! we are in the basement, etc, etc). Anyway…

It was now Alex’s turn to get his hands dirty, and restore a rather shabby looking Nintendo Donkey Kong cabinet that had been badly converted to a Vs cabinet. Armed with his tools and the newly produced art kit send across the Atlantic from Rich at This Old Game, he got to work:

23938568928_4e98bed092_z
ThisOldGame.com produced the finished artwork package

After many hours of stress, restoring the cabinet to as-new condition, applying the side art, bezel, control panel and marquee, re-wiring the cab and soak testing, Alex was finally ready. With Arcade Club chosen to host the big reveal – it’s an intimate environment – it was felt that the people there would really appreciate seeing the cab for the first time. Andy, Arcade Club’s owner, put on a great event for us, and all tickets were sold out.

So on Saturday 14th October at Arcade Club, a great turnout from the UK collector community got to see for the first time, the recreated Sky Skipper cabinet in all its glory:

37684882952_149bb624c1_z
Sky Skipper Revealed: The covers finally come off at Arcade Club, Bury, UK!

The guys did a great job on stage, sharing the whole story with the crowd and detailing some of the challenges they had along the way. In fact the event was way more than just about the reveal – the UK community got together and we had a great weekend, playing games and catching up with friends both old and new:

37461252500_a9b46b4d05_z
There was a great turnout for the big reveal
37461252450_195c246607_z
Whitney and Alex with the UK Sky Skipper cabinet
37687679822_7e4af3d6ab_z
Sky Skipper’s control panel
37687680452_349b9f7774_z
A close up of the marquee
37687682872_4b1853bd02_z
Custom serial plate at the back of the cab
37687692652_994764804e_z
John from John’s Arcade getting a game in
37671416296_4682b1366f_z
The UK guys queuing up for a chance to play
37098431564_98362b70aa_z
The re-created side art

So there you have it – Sky Skipper has been resurrected. It’s a quirky, typically Japanese game, but after a few plays, you realise there’s a great deal of depth to it. I really enjoyed the couple of games I managed on the cab, and have fired a few games up since on my MAME cabinet – I’m definitely a fan.

So what of the future? Whitney and Alex are acutely aware that Nintendo has put a great deal of trust in them, in allowing them to do what they’ve done, so any discussions about releasing some sort of kit for the public were played down. Nothing along those lines will be considered without the express permission of Nintendo – but watch this space, who knows.

37461252060_29c9931b1c_z
What a great looking cabinet

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone involved in getting Sky Skipper back out to the public. This was a fantastic journey from start to finish, and Alex, Whitney, Olly, Bill, Rich and of course Nintendo of America all deserve medals for pulling off what seemed like just a pipe dream at the moment Alex discovered the original board a couple of years ago. The final result is nothing short of spectacular:

37048764243_eccdd2b034_z
Sky Skipper lives again!

Great work gentlemen. This is another perfect example of two collectors wanting to preserve history and share rare games with the rest of the world rather than just tryin to make a quick buck. (I know Alex well, and his constant dedication to the hobby is an example to us all – thank you mate for sharing this with us).

Video was shot at the event, more of which I’m sure will appear in the coming days. Here’s an early one if you want to see what the atmosphere was like.

To read more about the project, head over to the excellent Sky Skipper website where you can find much more detail about Whitney’s visit to NOA and the subsequent reveal events. And of course, do subscribe to Alex’s fantastic YouTube channel where he shares a huge amount of great content related to Nintendo’s arcade and console output over the years.

A final quick plug for the artwork guys involved in this project. Rich over at This Old Game produces very high quality artwork (and ships worldwide), and UK collectors can get hold of many difficult-to-find pieces of artwork from Olly’s store Arcade Art Shop. I’ve used both many times over the years, and can recommend their work highly.

Thanks for visiting this week – do share this article using the social media buttons below!

See you next time

Tony

I’ve borrowed various pictures for this article – Alex, Whitney, Chris cNp – thank you!

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15 Oct 03:00

Been travelling around Australia with my cat Willow in a campervan for 2.5 years. We love having little talks in the forest.

by /u/VanCatMeow
Dj10bear

i wish this was me.

12 Oct 13:40

Photographer Captured The Moment These Cats Were Told They are Beautiful

funny cats

A photographer decided that she was going to captured the exact moment she told these cats that they are beautiful. What she was hoping for was a smile or something... what she got was, that they don't really care.


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Tagged: Cats , funny
05 Oct 01:06

Mount Your Smartphone To An Air Vent, Without a Magnet

by Shep McAllister on Deals, shared by Shep McAllister to Jalopnik
Dj10bear

you.

If you like the idea of a low-profile vent mount for your phone, but don’t want to stick a magnet against the back of your device, iOttie’s One Touch Mini is exactly what you’re looking for. Amazon’s running a $2 coupon right now that brings it down to $18, which isn’t an all-time low, but price drops from its usual…

Read more...

04 Oct 20:27

Actually, Alfa Romeos Are Extremely Reliable

by Alanis King

It has been brought to our attention at Jalopnik that we have been very wrong about the car brand “Alfa Romeo.” We have called it unreliable, when it is in fact not. It is very reliable. Luckily, the Real Car Men have explained it to us. Please forgive us for this transgression.

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02 Oct 13:30

Atari Coin-Op: Classic Arcade Marketing

by Tony

This week, I thought it would be interesting to look at Atari Coin-Operated Division’s B2B marketing efforts in the early 80s. By ‘B2B’ I mean the way in which they marketed their coin operated activities to the other businesses they wanted to foster relationships with; namely operators and distributors of their arcade games. It was one thing for players to love Atari games, but how did Atari ensure that their direct customers (the operators and distributors), continued to buy new Atari arcade titles, over and above the other manufacturers around at the time?

It required a different strategy and approach. The focus of the marketing message was not so much on how exciting the new game was to consumers, but also the benefits to the operator. A focus was placed on cabinet options (upright vs cocktail designs for example), or how easy it was to empty coins from the machine, what the book-keeping options were or how certain gameplay elements were going to keep players spending money to play the game. Money and profit were the key buzzwords here.

It is clear that a not-insignificant amount of investment went into generating hype and PR for some of Atari’s coin-op releases. Centipede was a great example. Pictured here, is the rather elaborate set created to promote the release of the game. Dry ice, mushroom props and the three cabinet styles are set up ready for photographing:

Centipede_Marketing_Photo
Atari Centipede promotion: image courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York

You might recognise this image from the arcade flyer produced at the time of the game’s release. This set also formed part of a video produced by Atari to promote the game. Clearly the audience for the video is trade distributors and operators:

Interesting watching how that video was broken down:

  1. Remind the watcher that Atari is the leading manufacturer of coin operated video games
  2. Describe the game and how new and exciting it is
  3. Tell the operator how they can maximise profits, via difficulty settings
  4. Showcase the various cabinet designs and how easy they are to work with
  5. Close out by stating that Centipede is a “High-intensity action game with super-profitability”

Similar videos were produced for several other games of the same era. Here’s one for Space Duel produced around 1982. Voiceover dude gives it his all:

Here’s a really great new game from Atari: Space Duel! A video game that’s so realistic, players will thrill to the experience of a battle beyond the stars!

That’s quite the description for an early vector game, you might argue that Atari perfected the art of ‘sexing-up’ a few lines drawn on a vector monitor. Again, note the way they are talking to their audience – everything geared towards how much money an operator will make by placing this game in their arcade.

Atari’s Gravitar got similar treatment. Mr Voiceover is really going for it:

When you need a new video game with tremendous pulling power, stay with the leader: ATARI!

As it happens, Gravitar turned out to be quite the flop, but let’s not let that get in the way of a great 80s marketing video:

By the way, that cabaret cabinet on the right there never saw a release. Looks cool though.

Here’s an ad for Dig Dug – it is totally bonkers. Atari went all out on the budget here – note that it is actually directed at the playing public, encouraging them to Ask for it where you play coin video games. Presumably getting players to hassle operators to get a new game in their arcade that they didn’t have, was seen as a valid route to generating sales of arcade cabinets:

That ad won a Clio award, and was the first arcade video game to be advertised in cinemas across America. If you’re interested, here is a ‘making of’ feature that was shown on Entertainment Tonight.

Here’s a shorter ad for the same game, aimed at operators:

How about Atari’s Kangaroo?

When you want a pouch full of profits, don’t monkey around, stick with the leader: ATARI!

Hmm. But hey, someone at Atari thought producing these videos was working, and over 9,000 units were produced, so who am I to argue? More on Kangaroo in a future article by the way.

Here’s a picture of Dig Dug and Kangaroo set up and being photographed by Atari’s marketing team. This looks to be positioned as arcade cabinets placed in a convenience store. The message being that retailers could increase earnings from consumers keen to play the latest arcade titles whilst they shopped. Gotta love the store owner apron wearing guy with clipboard:

Dig_Dug_and_Kangaroo_Marketing_Photo
Atari’s Dig Dug & Kangaroo: image courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York

Interesting to see that not every message was aimed at arcade operators, but other businesses where Atari saw an opportunity to sell product. Here’s another Atari photo shoot at a convenience store. See the Tempest cab prominently placed in the window.

Developing these new markets was key to driving cabinet sales:

Marketing_Photograph_for_Arcade_Games_in_a_Convenience_Store
Play Atari at convenience stores! Image courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York

Atari managed to formalise their proposition to retailers with the production of this full-page ad, placed in Grocery Trade publications during 1982:

Atari Arcade in Supermarkets

Notice the use of the word “profit” four times over. Note also the coupon/phone call to action goes back to Atari – who would I assume pass the lead onto an operator to get in contact with the store owner.

A key point here – whether the ads resulted in sales of new cabinets or not, Atari are demonstrating to their operator and distributor customers, that they are helping them to sell machines. In much the same way as we might see an ad for Coca-Cola – this benefits not only Coca-Cola, but also all the retailers who buy stock from them to sell to us. Same principle applies here. Retailers see Coke throwing marketing spend out there, they should stock their product rather than Pepsi. Operators see Atari marketing its products, they will favour Atari arcade games over Williams, or Taito. 

More game-specific marketing here, this time with 1982’s Xevious. Licenced by Atari from Namco, the game is an early top down vertical shooter. Note the voiceover guy is talking to operators, against the backdrop of compelling gameplay, and two hipster chaps having great fun playing:

Although I can’t find it online, in 1983, Xevious was the first arcade game to have a television commercial aired for it for the North American market. Atari promoted the game with the slogan “Are you devious enough to beat Xevious?” and closed the commercial with a tag line branding it “the arcade game you can’t play at home”. Again, Atari driving demand for the coin-op title via consumers. Take  look at these two flyers distributed to operators. They talk about the TV commercial.

Xeviousxevious_invasion-min

Atari is showing its customers that they are on their side, helping them to get coins into their machines – IF they buy Atari titles…

In this static ad, Atari demonstrate an Asteroids Deluxe cabaret cabinet placed in a restaurant location. This was intended to suggest to restauranteurs that putting arcade cabinets inside their restaurants made perfect sense, and they wouldn’t look out-of-place.

Asteroids_Deluxe_Marketing_Photo
image courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York

Note the less-garish and smaller wood grain cabaret model, designed to fit with the surroundings. Cabaret machines were developed with an eye on what Atari called the “special” markets requiring smaller units due to space limitations and a less garish image compared to the full-on artwork of its upright cabinets.

Atari was only ever going to be as successful as its next title. Generating hype, demand and exploring new markets was critical to its growth during the Golden Age of arcade gaming.

I have more B2B marketing materials on file here, that focus more on Atari itself as a business rather than the video games themselves. I’ll share some of these in a future article, as they make for interesting reading.

That’s it for this week – hope you enjoyed this left-field look at how Atari marketed its arcade titles. I’d appreciate it if you would share this piece using the social media buttons below.

Tony

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Dj10bear

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kindlesong:

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