December 5, 2007

Secondhand Nostalgia: The Wizard

Last night The Boy and I had a few drinks and watched The Wizard, as part of his continuing need to share the fundamental pop culture influences of his youth.

I mentioned this in my bio, but I have basically no gaming credentials. Unlike The Boy, who grew up playing Mario Bros in the original Japanese on a Famicom in his basement, World of Warcraft is my first MMO, and one of my first games, period. So watching a camped-up 1989 kiddie Rain Man of my generation's gaming youth was sort of bizarre.

The basic plot involves Fred Savage rescuing his savant-like younger brother from a mental institution and traveling from Utah to Los Angeles to compete in the National Video Game Championships. To do this, they spend hours on the phone with Nintendo support getting a list of every possible game that might appear in the finals (all, say, 100 of them), and then sitting wonder-boy Jimmy in front of Play Choice 10 machines in Reno casinos to play them all.

The film is loosely put together at best: passable child acting strung together with stock footage of highway America, constantly interspersed with product placement from Universal Studios and Nintendo. All of which adds up to a certain campy charm, at least if you've drunk enough to appreciate it. We nearly died laughing when the kids' arch-nemesis unboxed his NES peripherals and uttered the quiet, almost-reverent line: "I love my Power Glove." You could almost hear the (TM) on the end.

Call it naive, call it an early example of shameless commercial creep, but you've got to love this simplicity of pandering to the 80s child fan base: hitchhike your way across country on underage gambling revenue, and Super Mario Brothers 3 will bring your broken family back together!

And that's all I have to say about that. Back to WoW tomorrow.


Guy said...

wow.. i hadn't thoguth of that movie in years. i can recall being in the target age group for that movie when it came out. in my recollection it was an amazingly cool movie, however listening to your description of it i had to laugh at myself. that movie was schlock but i sure couldn't tell at that age. thanks for being continuously insightful.

Pike said...

I never saw that movie, but the Nintendo nerd in me thinks I really should. Super Mario Bros. 3 was a great game... enough to bring your family back together? Dunno, but it wouldn't surprise me, haha.

My boyfriend and I love the movie "Hackers" for similar reasons though. So dorky, so wrong, so great.

Matticus said...

"I mentioned this in my bio, but I have basically no gaming credentials."

You downed Vashj. Credentials enough! =)

Girl Meets WoW said...

Well, outside of WoW, Matt. I've already been the most hardcore WoW player in my section of the midnight tBC release line. Hm... maybe I should write about that sometime.

Girl Meets WoW said...

Oh, and @guy: don't take from my commentary that you should be ashamed at liking The Wizard! Everyone gets a few schlocky childhood pop culture things to reminisce about. I just happen to have been deprived, so mine are things like, well, Mathnet on PBS.

~One Among Many~ said...

I've seen that movie...probably too many times to mention here...drat.

FYI dont see The Maze...more based on a D&D game that spawns to life with Tom Hanks as the main actor before his true hay days. The movie was five bucks at Walmart, how could I not buy it? lol well...don't. It may not be too horrible, but its uh...bad. Pre-good tom hanks.

I've always been a console gamer though, I didn't get into PC gaming until Serious Sam and Alice. When WoW came out, that was my first MMO. There was such a huge learning curve considering I was playing alone at that point. It took my ex over 3 months to finally start playing (he'd watch me on occasion but never wanted to jump in).

well enough gabbering. Hi!

Messyah said...

I'm going to date myself even further back and bring up the movie "Cloak & Dagger" which was one of the first live-action movies based on a Video Game. Well, it involved the game more than being based on it. This was back in 1984 and it starred Dabney Coleman.

Then there's the classic of all geek classics... "WarGames" (1983) and it too had Dabney Coleman in it.

The password is "Joshua". ;-)

Damn, I feel old. LOL

Messyah said...

Pike - Hackers introduced us to Angelina Jolie and that dream-sequence scene she had in the latex body suit... Yowza!!! Well, I damn near had a heart attack.

That was the first time I wanted to download my data into her storage unit. BOING! LOL

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