Phosphor Dot Fossils: TheLogBook.com’s Guide to the Classic Arcade and Home Video and Computer Games
I’m the type of guy who can have a good time by simply walking through an arcade, never spending a quarter. Just being close to the sights and sounds of those old games is enough to put a smile on my face. Don’t get me wrong — I like playing games as much as the next guy, but sometimes just seeing and hearing those old machines in action is all I need to make my day. And Earl Green’s DVD, Phosphor Dot Fossils: The Early History of Video Games, is just that: a virtual walk down videogame memory lane.
Green’s DVD spans fifteen years of videogame history, beginning in 1971 and going through 1986. Each year contains a series of video clips, consisting of videogame commercials, trivia, quizzes, and lots and lots of in-game footage. As game footage is shown in action on screen it is surrounded by trivia, publisher information, and in the case of arcade games, their marquees. Every year can be directly accessed from the DVD’s main menu, and each video clip can also be directly accessed through the same menu. This is a nice feature, considering the amount of clips contained within the program.
The game clips are fairly evenly dispersed between arcade games, console videogames, and home computer games. Although the menu spans from 1971-1986, the disc is heavily focused on the earlier years. For example, while the 1982 program is over 45 minutes in length, 1986 is less than three minutes long. Older viewers will find the DVD an informative trip down memory lane, while younger viewers may find the DVD more of a history lesson — neither of which is a bad thing, in my opinion.
Interspersed throughout the program are several television commercials for videogames and gaming-related cartoons such as Pac-Man, Q*Bert, and Dragon’s Lair. I haven’t seen some of these shows in years and the commercials were a nice touch. The videogame commercials are a hoot as well; anyone who remembers “It’s the Legend of Zelda and it’s really rad,” will get a kick out of the old blurbs.
It’s taken me probably half a dozen viewings to make it all the way through Phosphor Dot Fossils — not because it’s bad, but because it’s so long! With more than three hours of clips, I have found myself watching the video clips a few at a time over the past few weeks. It’s a great video to put on in the background while cleaning or just hanging out, and other than a fleeting shot of low-res nudity in the “Custer’s Revenge” sequence, the DVD also works great as an electronic babysitter for youngsters.
Green also runs GreenhouseFX.tv, an audio/visual production company, and his experience in digital media production is quite evident throughout the program. The graphics, logos and layout of the DVD are very professional in quality. As previously mentioned the menus are simply to navigate, and the literally hundreds of chapter stops making finding specific clips a breeze.
Whether you remember the early years of gaming or not, Phosphor Dot Fossils is a fun romp through the days of classic gaming. Highly recommended to all fans of the gaming days of yesteryear.