"I was a little scared by the box’s blatant abuse of the word “gnarly,” but let all be forgiven by the image of one woman – Martha Quinn. If you grew up with cable TV, you shouldn’t need an introduction to this illustrious VJ."
I am a born nostalgic, and 1980-89 was the greatest decade I’ve known. I was too young to care about The Cold War, Reaganomics, or how stupid those dresses with the shoulder pads looked. When I think back, I see the decade that gave me Saturday morning cartoons, the rebirth of gaming, and new mixtures of musical flavors. We didn’t have protests or social movements to rally behind. We were united by TV screens, overdramatic teen movies, and transforming toys. As far as I’m concerned, The Goonies alone made the whole decade worthwhile. I couldn’t say no to an 80s trivia game, and I’m glad that I didn’t.
What was the first, major arcade game designed by a woman?
I was a little scared by the box’s blatant abuse of the word “gnarly,” but let all be forgiven by the image of one woman – Martha Quinn. If you grew up with cable TV, you shouldn’t need an introduction to this illustrious VJ. She may be 48 years old, but she’s still one of the cutest women in showbiz. I think I’m getting a boyhood crush all over again. I suppose I should stop ogling Martha and start talking about the game.
Excluding Martha, there is nothing visually stunning about The 80’s Game, unless you consider a two-dimensional palette of bluish hues impressive. No motion-captured contestants, no cheering audience, and not a single picture or video. It does have showers of fluorescent stars exploding from Martha’s angelic hands when you answer a question correctly, and in the end, the questions are what matter. There are over 3,000 of them, with the traditional stable of categories and some surprisingly diverse topics. The musical sections include the usual gamut of one-hit wonder questions, but just as many, if not more, about long-lasting acts like Pat Benatar and Billy Joel.
What caused Julie McCullogh, who played Julie on Growing Pains to be written off the show?
If you go for Free Play mode, you won’t have to worry that you spent your evenings watching Cheers instead of Current Affair. Each round has three subjects with different point values to pick from so you can work your strengths. When the question pops up, click “I Know It!” for potential bonus points, or “I’ll Guess It!” if you’re unsure what the answer will be. It’s all multiple-choice after that. Challenge mode is about the same, except you pick from a list of categories to begin, and hopefully all those years of rotting your brain can get you on the scoreboard.
Jeopardy rules don’t apply so you don’t lose points for getting a question wrong. Instead, you lose 80s Power, and magical Martha stars. Keep getting answers right and your 80s Power rises, along with the point values. Pretty soon you’ll go from measly 400 point questions to laying 30,000+ on the line. The Wager questions are especially intense. You can bet a quarter, half, or all your points on one mystery question. It’s risky, but worth it. I got my first pieces of Gear (awards) for topping 100,000 points on one wager, and subsequently, getting 500,000 in a single game. It’s kind of pointless, but it feels good to see how much my useless knowledge is worth.
In what city did the Jamaican bobsled team make its Olympic debut? You saw Cool Runnings, right?
When playing solo, proving my self-worth through 20-year old history was only temporarily entertaining. With only Martha’s static smile to keep me company, I felt like I might as well have sat down with a lonely bag of Doritos and a box of Trivial Pursuit cards. For this reason, Versus mode is a highlight of the menu. Even if you’re not feeling competitive, working the single-player modes with a group of friends is sure to kick up old memories and get the conversations flowing. I might even hook my laptop to the TV for my next party.
I have to applaud Funkitron. They could have made a stereotypical hodge-podge filled with new wave hairstyles, Michael Jackson jokes, and valley girl rejects. Instead, they took the dignified route with a simple interface, an awesome collection of trivia, and the perfect host. A few videos and pictures would have made this trek through time exponentially better, but it’s sincerely entertaining, and if you need a nostalgia fix, far less degrading than dragging out the photo albums.
(Centipede, posing for Playboy, and Calgary)
Staff review by Brian Rowe (December 04, 2007)
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