The Big Picture: Power Drain

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Power Drain

MovieBob takes an in-depth look into the early days of co-opting videogame culture.

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Well OK. So that was a thing that happened. Can't say I recall if I ever saw that one or not.

Wonder what that kind of show would look like today if someone like EA or Activision tried to do it?

The terribleness of it all. I feel unclean...

Does it ever go away?

That second season reminded me a lot of Video & Arcade Top 10, which I think might have only been shown in Canada. I remember loving that show when I was younger.

Now I miss it again.

Good to know there were other, similar shows happening elsewhere, even as bad as this one looked.

Oh God, I fucking remember this show. Not too much, but I distinctly remember a cartoon about a monster truck, a tomato, and a basketball player fighting crime.

And Captain N was awesome, I don't care what anyone says.

oh god the 90s...

Wait... what were we talking about again? Something about bad videogame cartoons or something, I guess I forgot...

Captain N was still kind of crappy, though... The Super Mario Bros. Super Show was... unique, I'll say that much, I actually kind of like the super nuts Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, I don't think I need to say anything about the SatAM Sonic since everything good about it has already been said, and Mega Man? Well... I didn't like how ultra buff the characters looked, but otherwise, yeah, it was alright.

Power Team/Power Hour... Wait, where did Bob get that footage? From what I heard, that sort of stuff is impossible to find, even hear on the Internet! WHERE?! Because I must see this show for myself!

You left out one thing Mr. Big always had special NES cartages that could send anything into the game world and always threaten to send the heroes back to the game world leaving no one to stop him in pretty much every episode.

That second season reminded me a lot of Video & Arcade Top 10, which I think might have only been shown in Canada. I remember loving that show when I was younger.

Now I miss it again.

Good to know there were other, similar shows happening elsewhere, even as bad as this one looked.

That show was pretty much a platform to showcase N64 games right? I remember the episode where they had to play Pokemon Snap.

Gotta say, I feel like a dodged a bullet by being born in '92. I wasn't around at all for the '80s, and for most of the eight years of the '90s that I lived through, I was too young for the majority of that crap to be targeted at me.

Hey Bob why don't you talk about the adaptations that worked fine like Pokémon and... uh... Pokémon?! Video games are hard to translate to other media.

Oh 90s you so cray cray!

It's one of those times that I am glad to be an innocent 2-6 year old during the 90's.
Because boy that was painful.

Soviet Heavy:
That show was pretty much a platform to showcase N64 games right? I remember the episode where they had to play Pokemon Snap.

Well, it ran until 2006, so presumably other consoles got involved, too. I think I remember that they did have all three of the PS2, Xbox and GameCube, and they played games on all of them. There likely was some bias that I'm neglecting to remember (especially because I had an N64 so I would always be happy if it was on that and not the PS1).

These day's Kwirk would be replaced by the Red M&M.

Thank goodness we live in the '10s now so we realize how weird he '90s was.

I loved NARC. And I remember NARC cabinets sticking around for quite a while. But in the 1980s, entertainment properties aimed at kids could stretch the usual (already flexible) violence and death limitations if they were part of the "War on Drugs" messaging, which NARC most definitely was.

That second season reminded me a lot of Video & Arcade Top 10, which I think might have only been shown in Canada. I remember loving that show when I was younger.

I loved that show! But I don't remember Lexa Doig being on it!

I was 7-9 years old when that show aired and I still remember it. Even back then, I realized Tyrone was stupidly out of place. The only fragments of the cartoon I recall are that it had one of those "we want to go home" episodes these kinds of shows always had (even as a kid, I found the "we hate being unique and special" schtick insufferable) and a short segment that took place in one of Kwirk's puzzles. I also remember really liking the idea to the game show (if just because I was a kid that liked video games a lot and it showed other kids getting a lot of them). I also remember somebody at one of my summer camps watching an episode of that show on a Game Gear with the television attachment (insert totally radical joke here).

Another amusing memory: even at that young age, I realized Acclaim games were generally shit.

Too. Much. NINETIES!

Sometimes I really thank God that I had CBBC when I was a kid. We had Get You Own Back, and Get You Own Back was the shit!

"He was angry about what Mr. Big was doing with the tomatoes- and he took it personally!"


"Yeah, Joe. He's a drug lord. And he's doing something evil with tomatoes... Because one of the heroes of the show is a tomato, that's why. Look, you're not being paid to think about this, get writing!"

Also... Tulsa Doom had third-party content? ;)

Man. I am rocking some serious nostalgia with some of these screenshots. Especially wizards and warriors.

One thing I missed from the 90s were the game shows

Out of these 2 Big Pictures Nick Arcade was the only one I remembered.

I actually cringed when he rapped "WORD!" and yelled "OH GOD" like someone just presented me with a dismembered head... that was painful, JESUS

I *did* see this back in the day.
Wow, was thinking about shows I'd seen as a kid in bed last night, and out of over 35, this one didn't come up.

So, memorability of this one: Super low...
Think the tomato was OK though, I had that game :P

That was probably the most "90's" thing to ever be put on this website.

It's funny to see commercials today that still haven't learned from the mistakes made twenty years ago, but I'm glad that most normal shows don't do things like that anymore.

Can't take it, too much nostalgia, purple everywhere. Stroke imminent...

I remember pointing out to my girlfriend that it IS Fabio on the cover of W&W II.
She laughed, and so did I... :P

So I prefer replacing any memory I have of ARCADE SHOWS or whatever with a healthy dose of Industrial or Grunge...
The 90s where not ALL bad. ;D

(It s the clothing that hurt the most)

I was born in 1975 so my childhood was pretty much in the 1980s and I was a teenager and young adult during the 1990s. As a result this one kind of flew under the radar with me, having apparently been around at a time when I was moving out of the target audience, though I was enough of a nerd where I did follow some cartoons from around the same time period (I believe) like say "The Bionic Six" and other "super hero" type fare, a lot of which wasn't great, but you pretty much take what you can get.

To be honest, I find a lot of irony in the whole "90s sucked" mentality. I do understand it though, after all it's cool for kids to diss the previous generation, and "Generation X" is the lost generation and pretty much got skipped over economically and socially for reasons well beyond it's control.... screwed to irrelevency from birth in a very really sense.

The irony comes from the simple fact that when it comes to geek culture, the 1990s were probably one of the biggest periods of actual innovation we've ever seen. The 00s and 10s largely just aping off of what happened in the 90s, while producing very little of it's own in an increasing culture drought. You see this in things like video games where people still talk about, play, and refurbish things like "Black Isle" games and go through epic feats of engineering to create programs like Exult to play things like "Ultima 7" on modern machines. Graphics and sound and such might have progressed but from an actual concept and gameplay perspective old games were simply better, and typically that's what people are looking back towards when talking about the dumbing down and degeneration of quality inherant in current games. This is also when we started to really see things like "The Comics Code Authority" fall and the birth of what was a true golden age for comics, with things like the X-men catapulting from relative obscurity to major success, and mature, violent storylines starting to appear once again in comics. To a large extent recent comics culture, movies, etc... seems to be an attempt to return to that status quo.

I can see how a lot of the surrounding culture is confusing to post-gen-Xers who actually have hope. The combination of angst over irrelevency, combined with overly upbeat attempts at "hip escapism" just doesn't make sense to someone who isn't lost in a social sense. However even so from those stories when there was genuine angst involved among the fan base you see people trying to recapture it (or ape it badly) in current media. Not getting that if your not Gen-X you really can't "get it" or have it apply to you, because your inherantly something differant. No generation is going to even be capable of understanding until another "lost generation" arrives for sociological reasons.

The 1990s were also when we saw things like "The Buffyverse" start, "Charmed", Trek was still being made on TV, and Anime and Manga were starting to seriously appear in the geek culture in a big way, with people paying upwards of $30 for a couple of episodes on a subtitled VHS tape, which began the evolving trend of eastern culture and those kind of geedkdom conventions intermeshing more heavily with out own, leading to some of the hybrids and stylization you see now. To be honest there haven't been as many periods as good as the 1990s from a geekdom/escapism perspective with that many science fiction/fantasy TV shows on all at once, at the same time things like comics were also flourishing, and we were seeing an innovative drive in video games and such, with games like "Torment" and "Baldur's Gate" still being held up as examples of what gaming should aspire to be as opposed to the "dialed in" crap that dominates today, 90s quality of gameplay and depth combined with 2010 technology is pretty much the holy grail of gaming, and what the industry has been reluctant to produce due to the work it involves (and a lot of the talent of the time period having sold out, and being resistant to new talent coming in to replace them).

Such are my thoughts at any rate.

One thing I do agree with is that in the 1990s children's programming did well and truely blow chips, taking negative trends that started in the 1980s to an extreme. The whole "30 minute toy commercial" criticisms are pretty valid, and honestly when you consider shows like the one is Bob is talking about kind of exists to shill video games beyond anything else, it shouldn't surprise anyone.

This trend however does show one important sociological truth, the baby boomers held all the real power and Gen X was viewed as being more or less irrelevent. There was less concern over wanting to build up a sense of loyalty, nostolgia, and long term marketing with Gen X than with any other generation before it due to complete and total irrelevency. The idea being the Baby Boomers had the money, and Generation Y would wind up with it. Thus the only real value in Gen X children was seen to be in getting them to whine to get their Baby Boomer parents to buy them things. When you got into High School and started taking Civics, Sociology, and similar things and basically spend hours listening to teachers tell you how irrelevent you are, and explain why in detail (in ironic competition to the upbeat messages of self validation others would bombard you with), you can see why the 1990s youth culture was what it was, especially in the mainstream. Nobody in the mainstream media or marketing wanted YOU, they wanted your parents money, in a far more direct way that these trends existed before (and they always did, and still do, just not like then). To be honest I think the proliferation of geek culture for that generation was because the non-mainstream media was for about 15 minutes happy to be a little more genuine than the rest of it, happy to have a willingly paying audience, when it had been neglected in the past. A sort of perfect story of events that lead to a golden age of all of the things nerds love, and what amounts to a post millenium decade+ long cycle of "monkey see, monkey do" trying to recapture it, while maintaining an increasingly ruthless corperate mentality throughout geekdom reminiscent of a lot of the trends that people wanted to get away from when it got that boost during the 1990s (though to be fair it was still present, just not to the current extent).

Am I the only one who can't tell how this terrible cartoon is supposed to be any worse than the shitty 80s cartoons people on the internet inexplicably obsess about?

PS: Yes, I realize I'm probably not the only one. It's a fucking figure of speech.

I don't get how Bob dislike anime but has time to watch and review this shit (pardon the expression, but it's the most accurate). Seriously, this is pretty bad.
It would be cool to have Bob giving his insights on some anime, but no, we have to hear him talking about shitty comics and shitty cartoons.

The biggest problem I have with Marvel/CD comics and every cartoon is that there's hardly any story, it's easy to watch an episode or two, but in the end it's garbage.

We had that second season buried for a reason, Bob. You know this.

I'm so very happy that wreck it Ralph came along and did this concept right it didn't even have some annoying audience surrogate kid.

If they ever make a sequel to wreck it Ralph it should take place in a pc my pc preferably the story should be about the impact of steam on the gaming world and the rivalry between my pc games and my ps3 games(I have them both connected to the same monitor).

The main characters should be rayman(the rayman 2 version)a roman general(rome total war) the courier commander shepard Reimu hakurei and ezio auditore the villain should be mima angry at the fact that she disappeared after the fifth touhou game and her plan involves the reapers the climax takes place in galactic civilization 2.

He was angry about what Mr. Big was doing with the tomatoes, and took it personally.

I kind of want this on a t-shirt, now. Not to ever actually wear it, but to be able to stumble across it in my closet every now and then, and remember that, yes, that was a thing at one time.

I'm too young to remember most of this stuff, but I do recall thinking how obnoxious most of the kids that 'hosted' TV shows were. Doesn't look like that one managed to avoid it in any way.


Anoni Mus:
It would be cool to have Bob giving his insights on some anime, but no, we have to hear him talking about shitty comics and shitty cartoons.

I think a while back when he did his 'this is a list of all the stuff I won't do segments on' segment, he mentioned that he wasn't well-versed enough in anime culture to be able to provide any insightful commentary on it. Video games and comic books are his forte because that's how he grew up, but anime wasn't part of it.

I may just be making that up, though: that episode was a while ago.

EDIT: I kind of was making it up. He addresses that he doesn't know much about manga, but doesn't actually mention anime. You might take the explanation of one as reason for the other, though. Either way, there's the link, if you want it.

The Gentleman:
The terribleness of it all. I feel unclean...

Does it ever go away?

Now you know why MovieBob drinks.

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