When I was a kid, the closest I ever got to a real arcade was the game room in the back of the local bowling alley. Dirty carpet, a change machine that wouldn’t accept my crinkled dollar bills, and neon beer signs illuminating the TMNT machine that I could never get a turn at. I always imagined that somewhere there were kids living it up in a real video game paradise, and Brick Grayson has brought that paradise to life. Just looking at it, you can hear the cacophony of music and laser fire and cries of “hadouken!” that must echo through the place. The choice of colors does a great job of implying neon without there being any actual lights. And I particularly like the Pac-Man and Ghosts on the side of the building made mostly from sausages. If I could just get inside, I bet I could finally take a turn as Raphael.
The Atari VCS console is one of those objects that instantly trigger an emotional response. Seeing Build Better Bricks’ faithful LEGO model of the gaming system takes me back to my childhood, and I suspect will do the same for many other video game fans. Although much smaller than the original machine – consoles back in the late 70s really were bricks – it embodies the wood-fronted spirit of the console. There’s an eye for detail too, with inverted clip and claws mounted on inset bars to create the iconic flick switches, as well as superbly built joysticks. Before you know it, I’m sure this build will have you pining for a quick round of Combat tanks!
I don’t want to hear about the Play-Box 420 or the Dream Station 5000 or even the hopelessly derivative Intellivision; the greatest video game system of all time is the Atari 2600 and TBB regular Chris McVeigh (powerpig) has finally brought the mighty console to life. Back in the day we only needed one button to shoot/jump/kill and it was red so you couldn’t miss it even if you were all jacked up from too much caffeine and sugar. So set the dial on the way-back machine to 1977, grab your unscratchable copy of Journey Escape and revel in the four-switch “wood veneer” greatness. If you don’t believe me, just check out a very young Heisenberg react to the 2600 in this advertisement from the early 1980’s. Who needs ultra pure crystal meth when you have Mega Force!
While Iain Heath and I were geeking out this weekend at a comic book convention, something strange happened.
To be honest, I think these designs are, well, not that great. It’ll be interesting to see what transformation they undergo as LEGO works through the design process with “atarifan401”.