The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Lightsabers and Pitfall!

My hetero life mate Hoade finally got around to mailing my Christmas birthday Valentine's Day gift, and I must say, much fun. The first item in the package was the Activision Flashback Blast gaming system, an Atari 2600 in a modern game controller (technically, the games are stored in the HDMI interface that the game controller connects to), and of the twenty games included, I've only heard of half of them, the standout one being Pitfall! The one standout game I never heard of (and by “standout” I mean “WTF was Activision thinking?”) is Crackpots, a kind of reverse Space Invaders, but instead of bug-eyed aliens marching down towards you, it's actual bugs crawling up towards you. Interesting take on the genre, but still a WTF moment the first time I played it.

In fact, not having instructions makes these game all the more fun. Back in high school and through college, my friend Bill and I would often … um … aquire … games and attempt to play them without knowing how to play. I still recall playing Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior with Bill and both of us falling over laughing when suddenly and rather unexpectedly, one of us somehow managed to chop the head off the other player.

The other gift Hoade sent was a “Lightsaber™ Ice Pop Maker.” A kit of four small lightsabers (two modelled after Darth Vader's saber, and two moddeled after Luke Skywalker's second, green lightsaber) and a mold to make four pops at a time.

[My hand, holding up a Darth Vader Lightsaber™ Ice Pop that isn't quite lit up all the way] “I find your lack of lightsaber … disturbing!”

As a test, we used cranberry juice for two of them (one for Darth's, one for Luke's—just to see how the green LED interacts with the red cranberry juice) and ginger ale for the other two. I'm not sure if we left them in the freezer long enough, because the first two I attemped to pull out broke apart. The third one came out (after running hot water over the mold) but Bunny and I learned that we should have used flat ginger ale—the carbonation caused large pits in the “light” portion of the lightsaber. And as you can see in the image above, the light doesn't quite go all the way through.

We have ideas for other attempts.

Anyway, I want to thank Hoade for the gifts. They were much appreciated and caused some great merriment here in Chez Boca.

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