’83 TV Mini-Series: Video Game All-Stars

A video post this week. At the height of its popularity, the video arcade industry was everywhere. In the USA, it was simply impossible to ignore. Anyone of a certain age will tell you that arcade culture was very much a way of life for young people in every single state. The years 1979 through to 1983 or so were truly the Golden age of video gaming.

To highlight this, I thought I’d share an amazing mini series from 1983. “Video Game All Stars” was a locally produced Colorado Springs TV show that looked to capitalise on the craze, by filming real players in real arcades. It was commissioned for just three episodes, airing on the KOAA TV network. The producer and director, Artie Romero shared the episodes on YouTube a few years back, in memory of his friend and one of the hosts of the show William Kennedy, pictured there in the feature image, who passed away in 2010.

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-22-19-58-min

Aside from the cringing 80’s cheese of it all, it is a totally authentic portrayal of the culture of video gaming during the arcade gold rush of the early 80s – the cabinets, the players, the arcades themselves; and in the second show, Kennedy plays the role of slightly ironically bemused host of the show perfectly.

Interesting if you watch all three back to back how the production values improve (well, slightly anyway). The introduction of bizarre afro-puppet video game score keeper, “Big Daddy Video” in show number three is pure 80s comedy gold.

Of particular note are the advertisements which are still in the show-reels – these appear to promote the arcades located within the local area. The “5 Cent Arcade” sounds like a place I would have visited regularly.

The shows were filmed at the following Colorado Springs arcade locations: Cue N Flipper, Five Center, Jolly Roger, Play Time, Quarterflash, Space Center II and Token Game World. All long gone sadly… But it’s great to able to see with collector’s eyes, some 30 years later, all these classic cabinets actually on location, being played.

Anyway, enough talking. Sit back and enjoy these three episodes of “Video Game All Stars” – you’ll see what I mean.

Thanks to Artie Romero for uploading this fascinating insight to the sights and sounds of the arcades in 1983 middle America.

See you next week.

Tony

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Cat DeSpira says:

    FABULOUS!!!! Not only is arcade ace, Jason Blatt, in the first episode but the arcade commercial for Jolly Roger Arcade states that it has Foosball tournaments still going in 1983?!. An important note because arcade tournaments were a direct offshoot of Foosball tournaments…and a lot of people in the USA don’t know this. Foosball tourneys began in The 70s and reached their absolute height in 1978 right before Space Invaders and the video craze pretty much killed it. Odd thing is the video craze tournaments never even came close to making or rewarding the kind of money Foosball did until 1997 with Quake Red Annihilation Tournament, the very first real eSport moment. The winner drove away in a Ferrari.

    Great article. Thanks so much for posting it. Really got a thrill out of them all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tony says:

    Thanks Cat. Thought you’d like them!

    Like

  3. David says:

    Loved it! Many thanks for posting these video’s, brings me back to the golden era and the next best thing to free play Florida…

    Liked by 1 person

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