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Archive for September, 2010

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Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

Posted by Big Boo on September 29th, 2010

cozy coupeWhat was the best selling car in America in 2008? A Ford perhaps? Maybe a Chevrolet. Nope, it was actually the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, which shifted nearly half a million in the US alone! OK, trick question, but I thought it was an interesting little nugget of information!

I certainly remember these from my childhood, although I never had one (instead I had a cool police pedal car instead). I did however recently get one for my daughter for her birthday, and she absolutely loves it.

The Cozy Coupe celebrated it’s 30th anniversary last year (it actually first went on sale in 1979) and to celebrate it has been given a little remodel and now boasts a large pair of comic eyes on the front, a licence plate (OK, a sticker) on the back, an ignition key, and, get this, a drinks holder!

Despite these new additions though it basically still looks exactly the same as it always has, and the picture above is from before the restyle. This classic design comprises a red plastic body, complete with a single opening door and petrol filler cap, and a yellow curved roof on yellow supports plonked on top.

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2000AD

Posted by Big Boo on September 27th, 2010

2000adI’m not quite sure how, but for some reason I managed to completely miss out on the legend that is the 2000AD comic. I really don’t know why I never got into it, as it was all about spaceships and aliens and that kind of thing, so I should have loved it. The best excuse I can think of is that when I used to buy comics I somehow thought that 2000AD was for much older kids, and by the time I was that age comics had lost their appeal to me as I was heavily into computer magazines.

I was first introduced to 2000AD by some school friends, who were talking about a character named Judge Dredd, surely the most well known name to have come from the comic’s pages. What they were describing just didn’t sound like it should be a comic book, as I expected comic books to be full of either slapstick comedy or superheroes in the Superman or Batman mould.

I couldn’t work out from what my mates said whether Judge Dredd was supposed to be a hero or a villain. He was supposed to be a policeman, judge and jury all rolled into one, but given some of his actions he didn’t sound particularly lawful at times. However, given the state of things in Mega-City One, his kind of justice was probably a necessity – I certainly wouldn’t want to live there!

Interesting though it sounded I still wasn’t tempted to get a copy of the comic myself, simply because I didn’t realise there was way more to 2000AD than just Judge Dredd. Over the years it has seen a great variety of comic strips written and drawn by some of today’s best known comic book authors. I’m not a big comic fan, but I have heard of Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison, who were just two of the many.

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Fireball Jawbreakers

Posted by Big Boo on September 24th, 2010

Fireball JawbreakersThese gobstopper style sweets were lethal in many ways, but they did represent good value for money as you got three in a packet and they lasted ages! In no particular order here are the reasons why you had to be careful eating them.

Lethality 1: They truly deserved the name Fireball as they made your tongue start to burn not long after popping one in your mouth. I’m not sure what the ingredient was that made them so hot, but hot they most certainly were.

Lethality 2: These guys were also pretty big, at least for the average child sized mouth anyway. You could just be a baby and lick at them I suppose, but that would take forever to eat and what is the fun in that. No, you had to pop them into your mouth whole, moving them around to relieve your burning tongue and forever sucking to stop bucket loads of saliva dripping down your chin.

Lethality 3: As the name Jawbreaker suggests these sweets were also incredibly hard to bite into, but because there was a piece of bubble gum lurking in the centre of them you just couldn’t help but try to bite into them every so often. These sweets must have caused many an emergency dentist visit.

Lethality 4: Finally, as if the danger to your teeth wasn’t already bad enough, the fact they were sat in your mouth for so long generating sugary sweet spit meant that you probably weren’t helping your chances of avoiding a few more fillings.

They are still available today, as are their more tongue (but not tooth) friendly fruity flavoured cousins.

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Mars Cool ‘Em Advert

Posted by Big Boo on September 22nd, 2010

mars cool em advertTodays choice of TV advert is one of those ones which has just stuck in my head for some reason due to the song in it. I may not be able to play an instrument or have a good singing voice, but I’m sure I’m not alone in finding that certain pieces of music just seem to lodge in my mind.

The advert in question is one for chocolate bars manufactured by Mars, including Milky Way, Marathon (yep, we hadn’t gone all global at this point), Bounty, Topic (they’re getting increasingly more difficult to find, and have disappeared entirely from the Celebrations mini chocs I believe) and of course the good old Mars bar itself.

The advert ran in the summer months and was intended to encourage you to eat the above chocolate bars during the summer months. “Are you crazy”, we all said, “it’s the summer, the chocolate will melt!” (yeah, right, this is the UK we’re talking about). “Ah! No!” came the man from Mars’ advertising agency’s reply, “put them in the fridge! Cool ’em, if you will!”

Cue several million hands slapping their owners foreheads. “Why didn’t we think of that!, we chorus. So we march to the shops, buy up all the chocolate bars we can get our hands on and stuff them into the fridge, grinning wildly as we think about the lovely chocolatey goodness to come.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Zoids

Posted by Big Boo on September 20th, 2010

ZoidsZoids were a range of mechanical robot toys from the mid eighties created by Japanese toy company Tomy. Given Japan’s liking for all things robotic, it comes as a bit of a surprise that when the toys were originally launched in Japan in 1982, under the name Mechabonica, they failed to take off.

It wasn’t until the toys were renamed Zoids and released in the US and Europe a couple of years later that they became popular, prompting a far more successful relaunch in Japan.

Unlike other robot toys like Transformers, the Zoids needed to be assembled before they could be played with, which meant if you had more than one set you could potentially make your own designs. They also came with motorised parts, so your completed model could even be made to walk.

Most of the original Zoids kits resembled dinosaurs such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus or other prehistoric animals such as the Sabre Tooth Tiger, rather than the perhaps more expected tanks and airplanes.

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And The All Time Bestest Mario Game Is…

Posted by Big Boo on September 18th, 2010

To round off Super Mario week I’m setting the obvious survey. What is your favourite Mario game of all time? I’ve listed possibly the core titles below, but feel free to add your own, even if it’s because you want to vote for a particular version of a title – for example, you might favour Super Mario Kart Wii over the original SNES Super Mario Kart.

The main reason I have listed every possible title is because there are way too many. Mario has appeared in over 200 games, so listing all of them would be quite a task!

For me, it has to be Super Mario World. It was the first Mario game I ever completed, and I still enjoy playing it today, which is more than can be said for some old games!

Which is your favourite Mario game... ever?
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Super Mario Bros Super Show

Posted by Big Boo on September 17th, 2010

Super Mario Bros Super ShowWith the Super Mario videogames proving so popular, it was inevitable that Mario would sooner or later receive his own animated TV show, and sure enough in 1989 it happened. In actual fact he had more than one show, but the one I remember most was the Super Mario Bros Super Show.

As I recall it was shown in the UK at the end of TV-am at the weekends (though I might be wrong about that) and it was kind of unusual for a cartoon show because it also featured a couple of live action sections at the beginning and the end.

The cartoon itself was pretty much what you would expect, with Mario and Luigi having to rescue Peach from Bowser in many episodes, all set for the most part in a version of the Mushroom Kingdom not dissimilar to that from the games.

The live action section is what I remember most about the show though, if only because it was cheesier than a 12 pound chunk of cheddar. It featured Mario and Luigi running their plumbing business in Brooklyn, and was basically a bunch of corny sketches which normally bore little in the way of links to the cartoon segment.

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Super Mario Bros The Movie

Posted by Big Boo on September 15th, 2010

Super Mario Bros FilmIf it were not for this week being Super Mario week, this film would not otherwise have made it on to these pages, given that it was released in 1993.

In a similar way to how people generally remark that sequels to films are never as good as the original, there is a similar rule to films that are connected in some way to video games. Most generally tend to end up being classified as stinkers, and the Super Mario Bros film is normally looked on as a classic example of a bad videogame movie.

Looking at the evidence you have to agree, and even the actors who appeared in the film like to distance themselves from it. Bob Hoskins, who played Mario, has publicly stated that he sees this movie as being his biggest mistake of all time, and the late Dennis Hopper (who played King Koopa) wasn’t too fond of it either.

The strange thing about the film is that it has most of the main features of a Mario videogame, but they are all slightly wrong. King Koopa is a humanoid evolved from a dinosaur, rather than being a giant turtle. They chose to use Daisy (who was the damsel in distress from Donkey Kong) rather than Princess Peach as the love interest, and they made her fall in love with Luigi rather than Mario.

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