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Vestron Video

How to Beat Home Video Games (in 1982)

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Vestron Video
In 1982, Vestron Video released a series of "professional lessons in mastering home video games" on VHS. How to Beat Home Video Games is an 80s-tastic guide to just what it sounds like; released in three volumes, each tape covered an hour's worth of detailed hints and tricks about the biggest hits of the day. It's wildly retro, and actually quite useful -- if you're hoping to master Atari 2600, Vectrex, or Colecovision games. And how's this for irony: many of these games are actually unbeatable (they end with the player dying, always), so the title of the series is inaccurate at best. But still, dive in. Oh, and while we normally bring you five movies each night, I figured three one-hour movies was good enough for one gloriously wasted evening.

Volume I: The Best Games

Atari 2600 all the way, dudes. Includes: Space Invaders, Demon Attack, Space Cavern, Missile Command, Atlantis, Cosmic Ark, Asteroids, Yar's Revenge, Defender, Chopper Command, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Stampede, Barnstorming, Kaboom!, Breakout, Warlords, Circus Atari, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man. Okay, Atari 2600 fans. Did you know the "double-shot" bug in Space Invaders, invoked by holding down the Reset button on launch?

Volume II: The Hot New Games

Featuring yet more Atari 2600 titles. Includes: E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Megamania, Astroblast, Encounter at L-5, Star Master, Space Attack, Planet Patrol, Nexar, Berzerk, Dark Cavern, Venture, Pitfall, Riddle of the Sphynx, Shark Attack, Mouse Trap, Lock N Chase, Tapeworm, Lost Luggage, Super Breakout, Demons to Diamonds, Gangster Alley. "Most of these games are so new that strategies for beating them haven't been published before now!" -Spoken just before we see shots of E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Volume III: Arcade Quality For The Home

This one finally has Atari 5200, Vectrex, and Colecovision titles (the Vectrex stuff is totally awesome). Featuring: Mine Storm, Hyperchase, Clean Sweep, Rip-Off, Berzerk, Cosmic Chasm, Scramble, Venture, Cosmic Avenger, Donkey Kong, Zaxxon, Lady Bug, Smurf, Pac-Man, Centipede, Defender, Galaxian, Super Breakout, Star Raiders, Space Invaders.
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Courtesy Ben Barrett-Forrest
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Learn All About Fonts by Playing With These Poker Cards
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Courtesy Ben Barrett-Forrest

Want to learn about fonts? Try playing poker with the Font Deck, a pack of cards designed to help users learn the finer points of typography and font design.

The deck is the work of Canadian designer Ben Barrett-Forrest, who runs a graphic design studio based out of Ontario and the Yukon. In 2014, Barrett-Forrest designed the precursor to the Font Deck, a product called the Design Deck that aimed to teach users about the ins and outs of graphic design. Some of the Design Deck cards feature typography lessons, but the Font Deck—available for $17 a deck on Barrett-Forrest’s website or on Kickstarter—gives the topic a deeper dive.

A male hand holds fanned-out cards next to a Font Deck box and a stack of playing cards.
Courtesy Ben Barrett-Forrest

The deck includes topics like letter anatomy, old style typefaces, the difference between a font and a typeface, and profiles of specific typefaces, like Helvetica. The cards themselves are printed by the same company that makes popular playing cards like Bicycle and Bee, so they’re gambling ready, if you feel like betting your fortune on that slab serif card.

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iStock
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Dungeons & Dragons Gets a Digital Makeover
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iStock

Since the 1970s, players have been constructing elaborate campaigns in Dungeons & Dragons using nothing but paper, pencils, rule books, and 20-sided dice. That simple formula has made D&D the quintessential role-playing game, but the game's publisher thinks it can be improved with a few 21st-century updates. As The Verge reports, Wizards of the Coast is launching a digital toolset meant to enhance the gaming experience.

The tool, called D&D Beyond, isn’t meant to be a replacement for face-to-face gameplay. Rather, it’s designed to save players time and energy that could be better spent developing characters or battling orcs. The resource includes a fifth-edition rule book users can search by keyword. At the start of a new campaign, they can build monsters and characters within the program. And players don’t need to worry about forgetting to bring their notes to a quest—D&D Beyond keeps track of information like items and spells in one convenient location.

"D&D Beyond speaks to the way gamers are able to blend digital tools with the fun of storytelling around the table with your friends,” Nathan Stewart, senior director of Dungeons & Dragons, said in a statement when the concept was first announced. "These tools represent a way forward for D&D.”

This isn’t the first attempt to bring D&D into the digital age; videogames inspired by the fictional world have been produced since the 1980s. Unlike those titles, though, D&D Beyond will still highlight the imagination-fueled role-playing aspect of the game when it launches August 15.

[h/t The Verge]

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