Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Elsewhere: Activision Keystone Kapers TV Commercial

Next week, if I'm lucky, I will have a new podcast episode to share with you.  This week, I direct your attention to this vintage TV commercial for Activision's classic Atari 2600 title, Keystone Kapers, designed by Garry Kitchen:

The game is pretty good and remains playable today, with more variety than the quick shots seen in the ad.

Kitchen's game was inspired by Mack Sennett's classic Keystone Kops silent comedy shorts, produced between 1912 and 1917.  Enough time had passed that, as far as I know, nobody at Activision worried about official licensing of the name; in fact, Warner Brothers and Universal Studios made Keystone Kops movies in the 1930's and 1950's, so the name was in the public domain long before videogames came along. 

A little Wiki-research on the topic reminded me about just why I write this blog.  In 2010, a lost 1914 Keystone Kops short was rediscovered, featuring a "previously unknown" cameo by Charlie Chaplin.  Obviously, SOMEBODY knew about it circa 1914 -- but human beings don't live very long, movies were considered a fad and a novelty at the time, and such tidbits of history can easily be lost.  I care about games as a hobby, and moreover as an art form -- I'm doing what I can to preserve its weird and wonderful history.

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