Moment of Zen – Arcades and Dragons!

Everybody and their mom knows that Pac-Man was supposed to be called Puckman, and not because he looks like a hockey punk, but because it comes from the Japanese phrase “Paku-Paku” which means to flap one’s mouth open and closed. Of course, they adjusted his name because they were worried that kids would try to alter the P to an F on the arcade machine marquees.

I assume we’ve all seen Scott Pilgrim vs the World?

What you might not know is that in 1978, the arcade game Space Invaders was so popular that it caused a nationwide shortage of 100 yen coins.

In 1981, Americans spent a total of $20 billion dollars of 1980s money in arcades alone. That’s twice the income of every casino in Nevada combined.

Two years later, we saw the Video Game Crash of 1983. The entire industry crashed and the gaming market suffered a whopping 97% drop. That all changed when I turned three in 1985 and got myself a hobby.

Cool story, needs more dragons?

An early popular arcade game known as Dragon’s Lair, famous for it’s traditionally animated characters, was animated by Don Bluth, the same guy behind American Tail and All Dogs Go to Heaven.

Not really dragon-related, Don Bluth’s All Dogs Go to Heaven features a big-lipped alligator moment. This is a surprisingly common trope in movies where a reptile-esque creature shows up for no god-damn reason and sings an overly sexual song only to seductively wangle out of the movie and never be mentioned or referenced again.

All Dogs Go to Heaven’s Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:

1992’s FernGully; The Last Rainforest is often mistaken as a Don Bluth film, possibly because it contains its own Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:

The tradition lives on with Disney’s 2016 hit, Moana, which features a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, but instead it’s a giant crab played by Jemaine Clement.

How this will influence the sexual development of younger audiences is something that most of us older millennials can probably answer for you if you get a few drinks in us and ask the right questions.

But You Want More Dragons?

The 1978 video game Adventure, which featured three dragons, is recognized for being the first game with an Easter egg. If you follow a very precise set of steps, you get to see a secret message that the developer coded into the game. This was also a major plot point of Ready Player One.

You see, back then, it wasn’t the norm for developers to get credited for the games they made, so Warren Robinett, the guy who coded Adventure, displayed his name if you found the Easter egg.

This little factoid is not entirely accurate though. While Adventure gets the credit, the first actual Easter egg was in the 1977 Atari game, Starship 1. If you perform a specific sequence while the Starship 1 arcade machine is booting, you gain 10 extra lives and the game displays the message “Hi Ron!”

Finally, I bring us to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which also features some dragons. One of these dragons is voiced by Charles Martinet.

Charles Martinet is fairly well-known as a video voice over artist, and for good reason. He has provided the iconic voice of Super Mario for well over two decades. I also can’t watch this wholesome interview of him without busting a tear duct all over my face.



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