March 31, 2018

SUPER MARIO CEREAL


SUPER MARIO CEREAL

Kellogg’s


           
Super Mario Odyssey was the first game in the Mario Bros. franchise to be released for the Nintendo Switch. Once again, Mario was tasked with rescuing Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser. The game, released on October 27, 2017, saw a return to the 3D open worlds from Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine and a life meter last seen in Super Mario Galaxy. However, the traditional power-up system was replaced by a new ability/sidekick: Cappy. Cappy was a spirit that resembled Mario’s cap and allowed him to possess various beings in the world in order to use their unique abilities to complete objectives and pass obstacles. All the while, Mario had to collect Regional Coins and Power Moons in each level to progress and purchase new hats and costumes needed for certain tasks.



The game was a hit with fans and critics, being called one of the best in the series and taking home numerous awards. By the end of the year, it had sold over nine million copies. To help promote the game, Nintendo partnered with Kellogg’s to release a limited-edition cereal: Super Mario Cereal. This marked the first time Mario had headlined a cereal since Ralston’s Nintendo Cereal System at the end of the 1980s. The cereal was officially released in December of 2017 but didn’t hit store shelves until early 2018.

Back of the box.

Ironically, even though Odyssey doesn’t feature any of the usual power-ups from the franchise, the cereal based on it is full of them. The cereal pieces were shaped like Starmen with a hint of berry flavoring. The cereal also had marshmallows shaped like Question Mark Blocks, 1-Up Mushrooms, and Mario’s hat. On the back of the box, there was a maze game and Mario trivia amongst images of Mario, Bowser, Peach, Yoshi, coins, a goomba, piranha plants, Super Mushrooms and Fire Flowers (the latter two not even featured in the game).



A special feature of the box was that it’s also an amiibo that worked with the game. Amiibo are figurines that could be purchased to add content to various 3DS, Wii U and now Switch games by placing their base on a sensor. Similarly, the box has a chip located in a marked corner of the back of the box that can be held to the Switch’s scanner on the controller. Known as the “delicious amiibo”, it gave the players a number of coins and a heart, and could be used multiple times, and could be used with the in-game character Uncle amiibo for an extra Power Moon finder.

Comparison of the prototype box art and the newly released box.

In March of 2018, it was revealed that new boxes of Super Mario Cereal had begun hitting store shelves. These boxes closely resemble an early prototype, which featured Mario holding a spoon behind the cereal with the Mushroom Kingdom in the background. The official box included Bowser and Peach between Mario and the background. But, the biggest change seems to have been the removal of the amiibo functionality.

March 24, 2018

PAC-MAN AND THE GHOSTLY ADVENTURES


PAC-MAN AND THE GHOSTLY ADVENTURES
(Disney XD, Family Chrgd, Netflix, June 15, 2013-May 29, 2015 US
Tokyo MXTV, BS11, April 5, 2014-June 27, 2015 JAP)

41 Entertainment, Arad Animation Inc., Bandai Namco Entertainment, OLM Digital, Sprite Animation Studios




MAIN CAST:
Erin Mathews – Pac-Man, Ms. Globular
Andrea Libman – Cylindria
Sam Vincent – Spiralton, Lord Betrayus Sneakerus Spheros, President Stratos Spheros, Count Pacula
Ian James Corlett – Blinky, Sir Cumference, The Pacinator
Lee Tockar – Inky, Mr. Dome, King Obtuse, Cyclops Ghosts, Tentacle Ghosts, Fuzbitz
Ashleigh Ball – Pinky, Spheria Suprema, The Easter Pac-Peep
Brian Drummond – Clyde, Butt-ler, Dr. A.H. Buttocks, Ogle, Professor Pointybrains


            Developed by Tom Ruegger and Paul Rugg, two of the people responsible for the Warner Bros. Television Animation renaissance of the 90s, and Avi Arad, who was responsible for the majority of Marvel Comics’ television and film output since the 1990s, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures saw the return of Namco’s classic character since the 1980s Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

Betrayus while he was still alive.


            The computer animated series centered around an orphaned and teenaged Pac-Man (Erin Mathews). His parents had fought in the war against the ghosts, led by Lord Betrayus Sneakerus Spheros (Sam Vincent), who tried to conquer Pac-World. He was stripped of his corporeal form and banished to the Netherworld with the ghosts. The seal to the Netherworld was accidentally opened by Pac when he was avoiding school bully Skeebo (Matt Hill), allowing Betrayus and his ghosts access to Pac-World once again.

The Ghost Gang: Blinky, Clyde, Inky and Pinky.

            As in the video games on which the show is based, Pac had the ability to eat ghosts and destroy their ectoplasm, leaving only their eyeballs to fly off and reconstitute their forms in a regeneration chamber. This was because he was a Yellow Pac, and one of the last—if not THE last—in all of Pac-World. The ghosts are made tastier when Pac eats berries from the Tree of Life, which also give him a variety of different powers and allow him to withstand the hostile environment of the Netherworld. Included from the games was the Ghost Gang: crafty leader Blinky (Ian James Corlett), smart and sarcastic Inky (Lee Tockar), dim-witted-though-wise and caring Clyde (Brain Drummond), and Pinky (Ashleigh Ball), who developed a crush on Pac. Unlike in the games, they only pretend to serve Betrayus; playing dumb and foiling his plans in an effort to aid Pac in exchange for access to their bodies held in the hidden repository.

Pac with Spiral and Cylindria.

            Pac lived at Maze Academy, a boarding school in the city of Pacopolis, with his friends Cylindria (Andrea Libman) and Spiralton (Vincent). They often aided Pac in his adventures, and Cylindria tended to get into arguments with Pinky who believed she also had a crush on Pac. Sir Circumference (Corlett) was a goofy scientist who created a variety of gadgets to help fight against the ghosts and was in charge of the repository. The President of Pac-World was Stratos Spheros (Vincent), the younger brother of Betrayus.

Betrayus amidst a horde of ghosts with Dr. Buttocks and Butt-ler.

            Serving Betrayus was the mad scientist ghost Dr. A.H. Buttocks (Brian Drummond), who specialized in monster experimentation and created a variety of device to aid in Betrayus’ schemes. He often suspected that the Ghost Gang was working with Pac, but Betrayus chose to ignore his warnings. His brother, Butt-ler (also Drummond), served as Betrayus’ servant and sometimes spy. Specter (Brendon Ryan Barrett) was a spy ghost who was stronger and smarter than the others since he was never eaten by a Pac. Master Goo (Vincent Tong) was a calm yet cocky ninja ghost who was a master of Pac-Fu and trained Betrayus’ armies.

A mean genie.

            Aside from ghosts, other inhabitants of the Netherworld included Count Pacula (a play on Dracula, voiced by Vincent), a vampire who could only be summoned when two moons turned blue every 100 Halloweens; Madame Ghoulasha (Kathleen Barr), a witch who did favors for Betrayus in order to win his affections; Jean (Nicole Oliver), a genie used by Buttocks to trap Pac and keep the ghosts in Pac-World; The Easter Pac-Peep (Ball), a humanoid marshmallow chicken who became hostile due to Betrayus’ past pranks; Dentures of Doom (Paul Dobson), living dentures belonging to the Mummy Wizard (also Dobson) that brings him to life and gives him his powers; and Dr. Pacenstein (a play on Frankenstein), a mad scientist who was a talking brain in a glass jar whose limbs were granted autonomy and usually annoyed him. Aliens, known as Pointy Heads, also frequently set their sights on Pac-World; particularly their overlord, Apex (Colin Murdock), scientist Professor Pointybrains (Drummond), and minion Tip (Gabe Khouth).

Pac and his friends leaving Maze Academy.

            Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures debuted on Disney XD on June 15, 2013 in the United States. It subsequently ran on Disney XD, and later Family Chrgd, in Canada beginning on March 17, 2014, and on Tokyo MX and BS11 in Japan on April 5, 2014. The series was produced by 41 Entertainment, Arad Productions and Bandai Namco Entertainment, and was animated by Sprite Animation Studios and OLM Digitial, Inc. The theme was composed by William Anderson with lyrics by Arad, and performed by Gabriel C. Brown. The rest of the series’ music was composed by Tetsuya Takahashi, Naoyuki Horiko, Shogo Ohnishi, Reiji Kitazato, Masafumi Okubo and Kuniyuki Morohashi and often took cues from the games’ sound effects. Tetsuya Ishii was the lead character designer.

The Netherworld.

            The first season ran for 26 episodes. The second season was set to run for the same length but was instead cut in half by distributors to make a third season. The new third season aired in Japan first between January and April of 2015, while in the United States it didn’t begin until that May. Two specials were made: Santa Pac’s Merry Berry Day and Pac’s Scary Halloween, which were later broken up into the episodes “Happy Holidays and a Merry Berry Day” and “Santa Pac” and the two-part “Pac’s Very Scary Halloween” respectively. The Halloween and second Christmas episodes first aired on Netflix in the United States. The series was written by Arad, Ruegger and Rugg, along with Ken Pontac, Marcy Brown, Dennis Haley, Michael Maurer, Jymn Magon, Cydne Clark, Bob Forward, Steve Granat, Glenn Leopold, Eric Shaw, Len Uhley, Mark Young, Alexandra Bland and story editor Sean Catherine Derek.

Pinky flirts with Pac.

            Episodes of the series have been released to DVD beginning in 2013. In Australia, 12 episodes were released between the sets The Adventure Begins and Pac to the Future. In North America in 2014, The Adventure Begins was released containing only the first episode. Following that, each release contained four episodes each: Pac is Back (initially a Wal-Mart exclusive), All You Can Eat, Let the Games Begin! (exclusive to Target), Ghost Patrol! and A Berry Scary Night. Three-episode collections Indiana Pac and the Temple of Slime and Mission Impacable! were released exclusively to Redbox, with Pac to the Future going to Redbox Canada. Additional collections included Movie 4-Pac, Jurassic Pac and 8-Pac, as well as a 3-DVD collection. The series has also been made available for streaming on Amazon Prime and Netflix.



            Bandai produced a line of toys to coincide with the show. They included standard figures of Pac and his friends, spinning figures, three versions of Pac with special tongue features, and plush dolls. There was also a giant Pac who could spit-up slime from his mouth, symbolizing his having just eaten some ghosts. K’Nex put out a several sets with figures to form a constructible maze playsetVideo games based on the show were also published by Bandai Namco. An endless runner for mobile devices called Pac-Man Dash! was developed by M2 and released in 2013. It was available until Bandai Namco had it removed from online stores in 2017. A 3D platformer sharing the show’s name was developed by Monkey Bar Games was released for home consoles in late 2013, with a 2D platformer for the Nintendo 3DS following by Inti Creates. A sequel for the home consoles followed in October 2014. The characters from the show were also featured in the menus of the compilation game Pac-Man Museum (the games based on the show, however, were not included).



EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“The Adventure Begins, Part I” (6/15/13) – Pac accidently unleashes ghosts on Pac-World and they manage to steal the Tree of Life.

“The Adventure Begins, Part II” (6/15/13) – When Pac and his friends fall into a trap, Pac pretends to have a crush on Pinky in order to be set free and escape with the Tree.

“No Pets Allowed…Especially Monsters!, Part I” (6/19/13) – Betrayus sends an army of cloned monsters after Pac.

“No Pets Allowed…Especially Monsters!, Part II” (6/20/13) – Dr. Buttocks creates a machine that makes monsters giant, forcing Pac to go on a size-changing adventure.

“All You Can Eat” (6/21/13) – Learning Pac’s weakness is food, Betrayus has his ghost minions feed Pac until he’s too full to eat ghosts.

“President Possessed!” (6/24/13) – Buttocks possesses President Spheros and turns the town against Pac.

“Is Zit You Or Is Zit Me?” (6/25/13) – When stress causes Pac to get a lot of zits, Betrayus sends ghosts to make sure Pac is nice and constantly stressed.

“Pac To The Future” (6/26/13)- Sir Cumference’s vehicle sends Pac back in time where he ends up babysitting himself as a baby.

“Heebo-Skeebo” (6/27/13) – Skeebo wants to be a hero so he steals Pac’s berries, which Obtuse and Betrayus want as well.

“Mission ImPacable!” (6/28/13) – Pac tries to gain some self-control over his eating just as Betrayus wants him to eat a ghost with a chip that will let him control Pac.

“No Body Knows” (7/1/13) – When President Spheros discovers slug cams in the roundhouse, Sir Cumference worries Betrayus may have discovered the repository.

“Seems Like Old Times” (7/2/13) – Sir Cumference needs a very dangerous Netherworld item for his latest invention, but he worries he isn’t the freedom fighter he used to be.

“Betrayus Turns the Heat Up” (7/3/13) – Buttocks creates a super furnace that increases the already high heat in PacWorld; a heat that threatens to dry out and kill the Tree of Life.

“Pac-Pong Fever” (7/5/13) – Betrayus challenges Pac’s aunt to a pac-pong game, believing she cheated him out of a victory many years ago.

“Driver’s Pac” (7/22/13) – As Pac and his friends learn to drive, Buttocks creates a giant drill to burrow into the netherworld that could sink the entire city.

“Jinxed” (7/23/13) – Buttocks discovers the ghosts have been helping Pac, and Betrayus sends for a curse from the netherworld to turn Pac into a jinx.

“Indiana Pac and the Temple of Slime” (8/31/13) – Pac and his friends discover a strange artifact that belong to his parents, and Buttocks discovers it holds the key to the secret of the Tree.

“Planet Pac” (9/14/13) – Buttocks lures in a planet-sized ghost to destroy PacWorld, but Betrayus discovers it would destroy the netherworld as well.

“Stand By Your Pac-Man” (9/21/13) – As Pinky and Cylindria fight for Pac’s affections, Betrayus summons the being who killed every other yellow pac: the Pacinator.

“PacLantis” (9/28/13) – Pac and his friends learn Betrayus plans to find PacLantis and the berry bush of youth, which could reanimate Betrayus back into his original form.

“Jurassic Pac” (10/5/13) – When Fuzbit finds a dinosaur bone, Buttocks uses his machine on it to create an army of radio-controlled dinos.

“A Berry Scary Night” (10/12/13) – It’s Halloween and Betrayus and his minions call upon Count Pacula to drain Pac.

“The Great Chase!” (10/19/13) – Betrayus possesses his mother as she visits President Spheros and Pac.

“Robo Woes” (10/26/13) – A giant alien robot named Apex seeks to take over PacWorld by kidnapping President Spheros and rendering the Power Berries powerless.

“The Spy Who Slimed Me” (11/2/13) – A spy ghost possesses Aunt Sphera’s dog in order to infiltrate Sir Cumference’s lab and conquer both PacWorld and the netherworld.

“Invasion of the Pointy Heads” (11/9/13) – Apex returns and proposes an alliance with Betrayus to lead an all-out assault, but Apex ends up betraying him in order to rule by himself.

Season 2:
“Ride the Wild Pac-Topus” (6/9/14) – Buttocks rigs various carnival rides in an attempt to steal a key Pac is guarding.

“Meanie Genie” (6/10/14) – Pac is tricked into finding a genie whose wishes turn out to be problematic.

“Cave Pac-Man” (6/11/14) – Pac discovers a prehistoric Cave Pac-Kid while attempting to stop Mt. Packinely from erupting.

“Cosmic Contest” (6/12/14) – When the constant battles awaken an ancient napping alien race, three teams are made to compete in a race to settle the conflict once and for all.

“That Smarts!” (6/16/14) – A brainy berry leads to a giant robot battle between Pac and Buttocks while Betrayus spires on Sir C’s romantic getaway with Spheria and becomes depressed.

“Pac-Mania” (6/17/14) – Pac gets a TV show based on his life, but the fame doesn’t seem worth he and his friends being made to look like fools.

“Rip Van Packle” (6/23/14) – A wormhole sends Pac 70 years into the future where Betrayus rules Pacworld.

“Spooka-Bazooka!” (6/24/14) – Buttocks puts Pac out of a job by inventing a bazooka that can catch ghosts, but it secretly puts its user to sleep for 100 minutes to allow Betrayus to invade.

“The Pac Be With You” (6/30/14) – A ninja ghost trains Betrayus’ army, prompting Blinky to train Pac with a new fighting technique.

“The Shadow of the Were-Pac” (10/8/14) – Were-Pac attacks threaten the President’s spookiest Halloween party.

“Cap’n Banshee and his Interstellar Buccaneers” (10/14/14) – A summer cruise is interrupted by ghostly pirates from outer space.

“A Hard Dazed Knight” (10/15/14) – Buttocks develops an armor coating that allows a ghostly army to avoid being eaten by Pac.

“Happy Holidays and a Merry Berry Day” (12/2/14) – When Pac’s parents return from a top-secret mission, Pac goes to great lengths to hide them from his friends.

Season 3:
“Peace Without Slime” (1/31/15 JAP, 5/18/15 US) – Betrayus rigs the Pac-World election to get Obtuse into power while Cylindria and Skeebo run for class president.

“The Ghost Behind the Throne” (2/7/15 JAP, 5/19/15 US) – Pac and his friends smuggle the Tree of Life and the repository out of the Round House before Obtuse can be sworn in.

“Nerd is the Word” (2/14/15 JAP, 5/20/15 US) – Betrauys and Buttocks send Butt-ler to spy on Pac and his friends, but their kindness towards him leads him to betray his evil masters.

“Bride of the Griner” (2/21/15 JAP, 5/21/15 US) – Grinder builds a girlfriend for himself which Buttocks steals and plans to use for his next evil plot.

“The Legend of Creepy Hollow” (3/7/15 JAP, 5/22/15 US) – When Skeebo scares Pac and his friends with the legend of Hugefoot, Betrayus has Buttocks build a robot version of the myth.

“Easter Egg Island” (2/28/15 JAP, 5/26/15 US) – The Pac-Peep has kidnapped all the ghosts from the Netherworld, prompting Betrayus to ask for Pac’s help to retrieve them.

“The Wizard of Odd” (3/14/15 JAP, 5/27/15 US) – A space worm summoned by Buttocks sends Pac and Fuzbitz to an alternate dimension.

“Indiana Pac and the Dentures of Doom” (3/21/15 JAP, 5/28/15 US) – If an evil mummy is reunited with his cursed dentures, it could spell the end for Pacworld.

“Honey, I Digitized the Pac-Man” (3/28/15 JAP, 5/29/15 US) – Sir C sends Pac into cyberspace to stop Buttocks’ deadly computer virus.

“Pac’s Very Scary Halloween – Part One” (4/4/15 JAP, 10/4/16 US) – Dr. Pacenstein invites Pac and his friends to his castle for a Halloween dinner and ends up trading bodies with Pac.

“Pac’s Very Scary Halloween – Part Two” (4/11/15 JAP, 10/4/16 US) – Spiral and Cylindria try to get help from Count Pacula to stop Dr. Pacenstein.

“Santa Pac” (4/18/15 JAP, 9/5/15 US) – Pac has to save Santa-Pac and his round-deer after they’re kidnapped to the Netherworld.

“New Girl in Town” (4/25/15 JAP, 5/29/15 US) – Betrayus plans to use the President’s beautiful niece to seduce Pac and lead him to the repository.

March 17, 2018

SATURDAY SUPERCADE: PITFALL!

PITFALL!
(CBS, September 17-December 3, 1983)

Ruby-Spears Productions



MAIN CAST:
Robert Ridgely – Pitfall Harry
Noelle North – Rhonda
Kenneth Mars – Quickclaw


            In 1979, game developer David Crane came up with the technology that could display a realistic running man in a video game. Searching for a suitable game to use it in, Crane sat down with a piece of paper and ended up scribbling a stick figure man running through a jungle collecting treasures and avoiding enemies. That simple idea became the basis for Pitfall! 




The player controlled Pitfall Harry as he ran through a maze-like jungle to collect 32 treasures comprised of bags of money, gold and silver bars and diamond rings within a set time limit. Meanwhile, Harry had to avoid numerous obstacles such as pits, quicksand, rolling logs, fire, snakes, scorpions and crocodiles by jumping over them, climbing, or swinging on vines (which was accompanied by a Tarzan-like yell sound effect). Points would be lost whenever Harry fell into a hole or hit a log, and a life with every other peril.



            Activision released the game on April 20, 1982 for the Atari 2600. The technical achievements of Crane’s programming meant that multiple animated sprites could appear on the screen without causing any flickering on the otherwise primitive graphics hardware. The game was a hit, spending 64 weeks as a #1 best-seller and receiving high praise for its graphics and gameplay; often credited with creating the side-scrolling genre (even though it didn’t actually scroll). It was even awarded “Best Adventure Video Game” in the 4th annual Arkie Awards. The game was subsequently ported to the various gaming systems available at the time and went on to sell over 4 million copies throughout the 1980s.




Around the time of the game’s release, CBS was looking to get in on the video game craze and to combat ABC’s Pac-Man produced by Hanna-Barbera. Figuring to hedge their bets, they licensed several gaming properties and commissioned former Hanna-Barbera employees Joe Ruby and Ken Spears to handle it through their company, Ruby-Spears Productions. The resulting series was Saturday Supercade.

Harry with Rhonda and Quickclaw.

Making up the Supercade every week were segments based on Frogger, Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr., while Pitfall! alternated its slot with Q*Bert. As in the game, Pitfall Harry (Robert Ridgely) navigated the many perils of the jungle as he searched for all kinds of treasure. Joining him were the newly created characters of his adventure-seeking niece, Rhonda (Noelle North), and their cowardly pet mountain lion, Quickclaw (Kenneth Mars). Ken Boyer and Patrick A. Ventura served as Supercade’s character designers and fleshed out Harry from his pixelated blocky form.

Harry and Quickclaw hanging out with Donkey Kong.

Pitfall! debuted with the rest of Supercade on September 17, 1983. It had the shortest run of all the featured segments, topping out at only seven episodes. When Supercade was renewed for a second season, Pitfall!, along with Frogger  and Donkey Kong Jr., were dropped in favor of new segments Space Ace and Kangaroo.



Before Pitfall!’s cancellation, work had begun on the 1984 sequel to the game, Pitfall II: Lost Caverns. The game was the last major release for the Atari 2600 and featured further technological advancements by Crane; such as a soundtrack and 27 horizontal levels. Included in the game were the characters of Rhonda and Quickclaw, both of whom needed to be collected in order to win the game. Like the earlier game, Pitfall II was ported to additional systems. The Atari 5200 and 8-bit versions were called Adventurer’s Edition due to the extra level added by designer Mike Lorenzen, while the Famicom (the Japanese name for the Nintendo Entertainment System) got a loose remake called Super Pitfall. 1984 also saw the release of a Pitfall! coloring book from Golden Books, which was based on the cartoon itself. In 1985, Sega licensed the game to create an arcade version, which was actually a combination of both Pitfall games with better detailed graphics. The Quickclaw name was later reused for a jaguar included in the sixth and final Pitfall game, 2004’s The Lost Expedition (known as The Big Adventure on Nintendo Wii)



EPISODE GUIDE:
“Pitfall’s Panda Puzzle” (9/17/83) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Amazon Jungle Bungle” (9/24/83) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Raiders of the Lost Shark” (10/8/83) – Harry is called to recover rare coins from The Shark and his crew of pirates.

“Tibetan Treasure Trouble” (10/22/83) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Masked Menace Mess” (11/5/83) – The Star of India ruby is taken from Harry while he transports it to the Calcutta museum.

“The Sabretooth Goof” (11/19/83) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.


“The Pyramid Panic” (12/3/83) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.