A Couple of Ideas for Your Next Mobile Game…From 30 Years Ago!

cover of blip magazine feb 1983

Click the photo to read the issue.
I had to look up the name of the guy on the cover. He’s one of the kids from Little House on the Prairie.

In the early 1980s, video game arcades and the first generation of consoles that could play games that they weren’t hard-wired for were runaway hits. In response came the first of the videogamer magazines, including Blip, a short-lived effort by Marvel Comics.

Most of the content for these gaming magazines was pretty sad compared to the in-depth sort of stuff we’ve come to expect in the age of The Escapist — a lot of it was filler written hastily in the pursuit of selling advertising space. If you don’t believe me, check out this collection of old Blip magazine scans on Scribd, collected by one “CubemanPDX”.

A common bit of comedic filler that appeared in just about every videogame magazine of that era was “Wacky game ideas we’d like to see”, or as Blip called them, “Games we’ll never see”. Here’s such an article from the February 1983 edition of Blip:

games well never see

These games would’ve been ridiculous ideas in the 1980s, when the number of videogames out there numbered in the few hundreds, processing power was scarce, and getting an audience for your game required either a relationship with an arcade machine manufacturer or a software publishing house. In the world of smartphones, vast app marketplaces, the internet, and the long tail, these ideas could be turned into some interesting games.

Here are close-ups of images showing the two ideas from the articles, with the descriptive text…

Pudding Defender

pudding defender

You’re in the school cafeteria, and there’s only one chocolate pudding left. You want it, but so does everybody else in the place. Fight them all off and get safely to a table to win the game.

Boob Tube

boob tube

You’re watching TV, and your mother says she needs maraschino cherries and worcestershire sauce for dinner. A commercial comes on — and the timer begins a countdown. Dodge traffic, dogs, and little kids to reach the store, make the purchases, and get back before the commercial break ends.

(You may need to re-jig this one slightly. Do kids today know that “boob tube” refers to TV? Do commercial breaks matter as much in the age of DVRs, Netflix, and other goodies that disrupted TV as we knew it in the 1980s?)