Archive for the 'Starcade: The Game Show' Category

Starcade Prizes: The Bionic Chair

“Portable and lightweight, the chair rocks, rotates, and allows back support and total freedom of movement. A futuristic way to play—the Bionic Chair.”

I’m not sure what makes it bionic, but I would sit in this thing all day if I had one. My wife made me toss out my prized red velvet beanbag when we moved in together, so this would be a sweet revenge.

“Hon, can you take out the trash, please?”

“Sorry, hon, I’m in my Bionic Chair playing some old school Atari shit. Maybe next week.”

Starcade Prizes: Spectravideo and the Aquarius Home Computer System

“Spectravideo: The personal computer you grow into and not out of.” Built in joystick? Bad Idea Jeans.

The Aquarius system, released in 1983, was Mattel’s attempt to get into the home computer game.  It didn’t do so well, which is why they had to give the damn things away every week on Starcade.

Starcade Prizes: Crappy Records and Beamscope II

Wow. Look at what one of these poor kids had to take home. The Chariots of Fire soundtrack? Swing 2? Country Rainbow?

Not only did this thing not double the size of your TV, the quality of the magnified image sucked. This doesn’t come as a great surprise. But hey, it’s better than those crappy records…

Image via


Starcade Prizes: RB5X, ‘The Intelligent Robot’


The RB5X, which is apparently still being manufactured today, was the grand prize on quite a few Starcade episodes, though I’ve yet to see anyone win it. Originally retailing for around $3500, it goes for at least $2000 today (the arm will cost you another thousand or two). The kick-ass ad below is from a kick-ass site called Vintage Computing and Gaming (Scorched Earth, anyone? Yes, please).


The following clip is a news story from 1984 summarizing the state of robotics at the time. You’ll see the Topo robot and the RB5X in action, and you’ll hear the same kinds of pronouncements we hear from the A.I. crowd today—that robots will soon learn to think, provide security, do our household chores, become like part of the family, etc., etc.

Starcade Prizes: ColecoVision and Cobra Phone

You got it. As I watch and rewatch every single available episode of Starcade, I’m going to post pics of all the cool prizes on offer. I never had ColecoVision, but I remember befriending the annoying rich kid in my neighborhood so I could give it a try. I just love those coiled controller cords.

These early cordless phones never worked. But the cobra graphic rocks.

Starcade: The Game Show (1982 – 1983)

Where was I when this show was airing? Did I get knocked unconscious after falling into a ravine while looking for my stupid little brother, and wake up 30 years later to find that everyone else has aged but me? I hereby (retroactively) declare it the greatest show ever to appear on television. Here are a few reasons why:

1. The show aired from 1982 to 1983. Contestants play the greatest video games ever designed, and win anything from little Casio keyboards and handheld Pac-Mans to ColecoVision, Texas Instruments home computers, and full cabinet versions of the greatest video games ever designed.

2. In the first few episodes at least, little boys and girls are pitted against creepy, unemployed old men, one of whom refers to himself as a “magician.”

3. The first host, Mark Richards, knows absolutely nothing about these games or how one might play them, so it’s pretty funny watching him try to talk his way through the show.

4. The prize advertisements are almost as awesome as getting to see all these games again.

You can get the complete history of Starcade here, and you can watch most of the episodes for free here.




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