Sunday, April 4, 2010

Roland Will Rock You OUT OF YOUR MIND

Sometimes I think I could write a whole blog about video and computer game products purportedly designed to drive the purchaser out of his or her mind.  It's certainly a common theme in vintage magazine ads, giving the impression that ad execs thought gamers were more-or-less the same as drug addicts.

Even Roland, the music synthesizer company whose MT-32 was the standard for computer game music in the late 1980's, was capable of resorting to a little hyperbole when the new LAPC-1 card was ready to ship (and no, Wikipedia, the actual name of the card was not the LAPC-I -- at least if it was, nobody told the marketing department):

There's no question the Roland MIDI synthesizers sounded great, even by today's standards -- they were sample-based, finely tuned machines intended for professional musicians, and they made games sound fantastic, especially as compared to the IBM PC's weedy internal speaker.

But sound waves, based on all available evidence, are not capable of transforming mild-mannered gaming geeks into colorful cartoon psychotics.

That takes something more -- like, say, a corrupted game save about forty hours in.


  1. It's curious to see them boasting software support from both Activision AND Mediagenic.

  2. Thanks for the note -- I hadn't noticed that! This ad would have been run a few years after the Mediagenic organization swallowed Activision and acquired Infocom, but perhaps Roland had promotional contacts or arrangements with Mediagenic and was unclear on which name(s) to use. As far as I know there was never a game published under Mediagenic as a brand name, so it wouldn't have made a lot of sense to use it this way.

  3. I distinctly remember this advertisement, and know exactly what you are talking about when you say that you could make an entire entry just about things that seemingly drive you out of your mind. In fact, I heartily encourage you to do so. Video and audio cards for PCs in the late 1980s/early 1990s would be a great place to start, though there are such things everywhere you look.

    Tangentially speaking, one of my favorite games these days is looking at characters on cereal boxes and determining whether their expressions say "excitement" or "sheer madness." Lucky from Lucky Charms is almost always firmly in "sheer madness."