Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Old School Lane Unboxing 3/25/2015

In this unboxing, Patricia receives two packages from the mail that are associated with two people she interviewed for Casual Chats. What did she get? Let's see and find out.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: Why Are 70's and Early 80's Nickelodeon Shows Ignored and Forgotten?

Ever since Kevin and I came up with the idea of the Nickelodeon tribute three years ago, we dedicated our time watching almost all the Nickelodeon shows and movies, both good and bad. There are so many of them that are still fondly remembered, mostly from the late 80's and 90's. Even still to this day, people constantly talk about how amazing these shows are. I've seen numerous reviews, listened to countless podcasts, and even saw one or two Nickelodeon rants on how today's shows suck and that it'll never be as good as shows that had aired 10 or 20 years ago. It's even gotten to the point in which people think that Nickelodeon started in 1985 or even as late as 1990. I find it hilarious, but sad at the same time. While there are some people out there that grew up with shows such as Pinwheel, Today's Special, The Tomorrow People, The Third Eye, You Can't Do That on Television, and Special Delivery, the most earliest show that people can recall back in the 80's are Double Dare and Hey Dude! All of the shows that I mentioned plus many, many, more have either been ignored and forgotten or they've never even heard of them. Heck, Kevin and I never heard of any of the 70's and early 80's Nickelodeon shows until we started the Nickelodeon tribute. But why? Well I may not give the definitive answer, I'll try my best to give a decent explanation.

The most common reason as to why most Nickelodeon fans don't recall the programs that aired in the 70's and early 80's was that we didn't exist then or we were very, very young so we never had a chance to see them. Growing up as kids in the 90's, all of our friends in school would talk about all the shows that we also watched such as the original Nicktoons, the live action shows, and the game shows. With the possible exception of our parents, siblings, or older friends, nobody else had seen or heard of Pinwheel or The Third Eye.

The second reason on why most people don't remember 70's and 80's Nick is based on a respond that one of the nickslimecastpodcast YouTube followers had posted on part 1 at Nick at 35.

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According to an article called "History of Cable" from, cable around the 1960's were "frozen" due to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) because local television companies felt threatened by cable companies getting more lucrative and stayed that way until the early 70's when it became slowly more available. At the end of the decade, 15 million people had cable. Then the '92 Act by Congress opened up other ways of people getting cable in a more affordable price such as satellite and wireless cable. At the end of the decade, over 57% of people owned cable with over 170 channels ready for viewers to watch. The era of local TV was long gone, which is where Nickelodeon was born from. Speaking of which.

The third reason is because Nickelodeon's original roots of its inception was a local network that only aired in Columbus, Ohio when it was known as the Pinwheel Network. Back then, their main focus was featuring educational programs for young children. Unfortunately, pretty much all of their educational programs were all low budget and were all acquired from either other networks or other countries. Many other television networks such as PBS, CBS, NBC, and ABC were airing original content that were both educational and entertaining with decent budgets and mainstream actors. So there was no reason for Nickelodeon to exist. But even then, that's a huge debate on that statement. The 80's was known as the dark age of children's programs focusing on cartoons based on toys, movies, or even celebrities. Plus the booming popularity of MTV didn't exactly help. With programs that no one cared about, most people didn't watch Nickelodeon. As time went on, Nickelodeon lost more money and eventually went into bankruptcy being called the worst network on television. Then 1984 came along and restarted from the ground up with the results ended up being the #1 kids' network and Nickelodeon left their struggling years behind them calling it their vegetable state. Even some of our followers don't acknowledge 80's Nickelodeon.

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I usually compare Nickelodeon to Nintendo. Nintendo started as a playing card company in 1889. However, as time went on, they experimented on other things to stay afloat such as opening a taxi company, love hotels, a food company, and more. None of them worked. That is until the 1960's when they focused on making toys. It would be the stepping stone for the eventual turn into making video games around the 70's and would become a household name by being the main reason video games became popular in the 80's. Most people don't recall Nintendo during their early years, but their profitable years. Same with Nickelodeon, we don't look back on their early years, but their profitable years when they were creating original, groundbreaking shows.

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Going back to our time as kids in the 90's, we stopped watching Nickelodeon around 8:00 pm since the Nicktoons stopped airing and Nick at Nite started. We either watched Cartoon Network or went to bed. While there were reruns of You Can't Do That on Television and Pinwheel, they aired around the mornings or around early afternoons. Where were kids around during those times? They were in school.

For example, here's the schedule of the Nickelodeon shows that aired in the year 1991.

Now let's take a look at the Nickelodeon shows schedules in 1993.

You Can't Do That on Television is gone completely from the schedule and more new content was being created replacing the reruns of older acquired shows. For our last comparison, here's the Nickelodeon schedule from 1998.

The simple, humble roots of low budget educational shows that were originally from other countries or networks were long gone from people's memories and the new generation of kids never knew of its existence. Even though that today we have the Internet, here's another reason that 70's and 80's Nickelodeon shows had been forgotten. For the longest time, Pinwheel, Hocus Focus, Special Delivery, The Tomorrow People, Today's Special, and more were pretty much impossible to find online. The only 80's shows that had numerous episodes were Double Dare and You Can't Do That on Television. Since Nickelodeon gradually stopped airing these programs around the late 80's and the 90's, it's hard finding them in high quality. You would probably find low quality VHS recordings of them uploaded to YouTube, but there were too few and far between. So, it's very hard to become nostalgic or appreciate the early years of Nickelodeon when they're not fully available. But things are getting better. Some of the shows are being released on iTunes and there have been more recordings of these shows recently on YouTube. When I first reviewed Pinwheel two and a half years ago, there were only little clips of them that lasted for only 5 to 10 minutes when back in 1977, they aired 6 hour marathons of them every day! Now, there are over 3 hour videos of Pinwheel and the full Pinwheel Song Book. 

The final reason why these programs have been forgotten is the abundance of groundbreaking Nickelodeon shows that came out. The late 80's was the first step in the right direction with creating their own original content and original bumpers with what little resources they had. Then the 90's came with them opening Nickelodeon Studios and debuting the original Nicktoons being so different than any other cartoons that had ever came out during this time period. The Ren & Stimpy Show, being the most influential, brought the idea of creator driven cartoons and gross out humor. Rugrats brought in odd animation with a simple concept for both kids and adults. Doug, despite aging the worst out of the original 3, was ahead of its time bringing in the slice of life concept that would popularize later on with shows such as Hey Arnold!, Recess, Ed, Edd, and Eddy, and more. Most people stayed on their comfort zone and watched the plentiful new Nickelodeon shows that came out year after year and most of them became instant classics. 

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In conclusion, we have a small idea as to why 70's and early 80's Nickelodeon shows are the main discussion of the network compared to the shows that came out later. There may be more reasons for this, but I just wanted to bring up the reasons on why I think it happened. But do they deserve to be ignored and forgotten? Of course not! While these shows are very low budget and didn't originally air on Nickelodeon, they have a unique charm to them that I can't help but to look back and smile. It makes us appreciate on where the network was before shows such as SpongeBob, Ren & Stimpy, Double Dare, and You Can't Do that on Television existed. It's like what the Happy Video Game Nerd said when reviewing Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, "Great successes come from great failures". Everything can be applied from this lesson. My suggestion: go online and check out these programs. You may not like them, but at least realize that this is where Nickelodeon started and this was all there was. It makes you appreciate the shows we had in the 90's a lot more.

That's all for now. Let me know in the comments below on what you thought of this article. Maybe I'll write similar articles like this in the future. What are your opinions of late 70's and early 80's Nickelodeon programs? 

Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nick Jukebox Episode 16: The Musical Tale of Rudy and the ChalkZone Gang

In this special episode of Nick Jukebox, Patricia features the songs from the 2002 Nicktoon ChalkZone suggested by the listeners. Special thanks to John Beauregard, Nicholas Carruth, and Kyle Norty for choosing most of the songs.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Old School Lane Presents: Top 10 Little Miss Gamer Episodes

Today is International Women's Day! A day to commemorate all females from around the world and celebrate their accomplishments. I already discussed about the 20 female role models of Nickelodeon a few years back, so click here and here to check them out. Today, I want to dedicate this article on another person whom I've really admired for years. She has been in my list of top 50 influences as well as being a special guest on Casual Chats. It's none other than former PBC Productions member and video game reviewer Lindsey "Little Miss Gamer" Briggs.

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In a time where video game reviewers were booming into popularity and many Angry Video Game Nerd ripoffs reviewed shitty games with an angry attitude, Little Miss Gamer came along around 2007 and brought in a sweet, humorous, positive, and personal persona discussing about video games that she grew up with on the Atart 2600, NES, and Adam as well as reading fan mail at the end of every episode. While it's been almost 5 years since she's reviewed anything due to her being a full time puppeteer, wife, and mother, I still go back and watch her videos from time to time. While there have been many, many wonderful and talented video game reviewers, it seems that no one could capture the charm that Lindsey brought in her video game discussions. So with that said, here's my list of my top 10 Little Miss Gamer episodes.

10. Food Fight

Before she began her review series on PBC Productions, she guest starred on an episode of Still Gaming discussing about one of her favorite video games of all time Food Fight for the Atari 7800. The game is about a kid avoiding 4 chefs throwing food at him so he can reach the goal of eating his ice cream cone. It's a really good episode because she not only discusses about the game, but also having fond memories being a young girl playing her Atari, the various foods that the chefs throw, and more. However, it's really low on this list because it's not really a Little Miss game episode. Plus, it's shot in the same style as Still Gaming in which the movements are very stilted. But it's one of the more important episodes because this is where it all started.

9. Missile Command

The very first episode of Little Miss Gamer has to be on this list. The game is about you protecting six cities from being attacked by missiles by moving a crosshair and position it to place a disk where the missiles can blow up there as oppose to the cities. She starts the episode with a skit where she's a young girl playing Missile Command nonstop and her mother continues to call her to come downstairs or stop playing the game. Then she discusses about the game saying that it terrified her due to not being able to beat the game and seeing the cities explode indicating the entire civilization has been wiped out. She also was playing the Jakks Pacific Plug & Play port where she felt it was waterdown and "nicer" compared to the original. She concludes the episode saying that while the original was scary to her, it felt more at stake to rescuing the cities as oppose to the Atari port making her appreciate the game even more.

8. A Boy and His Blob

In this episode, Little Miss Gamer discusses about the quirky NES game A Boy and His Blob about a boy and his blob going around collecting treasure to buy vitamins to stop an evil emperor blob who forces his citizens to eat marshmallows and chocolate. She discusses about the interesting concept of feeding the blob jelly beans to change into various items from a hole, does a skit about how the plot kinda was a bit confusing and ironic on the task that the boy and the blob are doing, and giving tips on beating the game. She concludes the episode discussing about the sequel for the Game Boy and a remake that were going to be released in 2001, but were canceled for some reason or another. Since then, there was a re-imagining of A Boy and his Blob on the Wii in 2009 which is super fun, charming, and less frustrating than the original. It's a shame that she didn't do a follow up review on it. It would have been so nice if she would have discussed about it and compared the Wii game to the NES game. 

7. Kirby's Adventure

In this episode, Little Miss Gamer discusses about one of the best games to be released on the NES, Kirby's Adventure. She discusses about the game, the commercial, the power ups, and more. It seems like a match made in heaven with a charming game discussed about a charming reviewer. Not much more to say.

6. High Compatibility

In this episode, Little Miss Gamer doesn't review any particular, but discusses about all the gamer boyfriends that she's had and the 5 different types of gamers there are: the casual gamers, the hardcore gamers, the retro gamers, the import gamers, and the professional gamer. She even gives a mention to the table gamer as well. Her discussion about each gamer is so accurate and very hilarious on how there are actual people like this in real life. Since this video's release, there have been more different types of gamers such as the Let's Player, the PC gamer, the indie gamer, and the completionist. She concludes the episode saying that people are very nitpicky and take apart games and analyze it without having fun, the main purpose on why you should play video games in the first place. That message still holds up today.

5. WiiFit on Elm Street

When I think of Wii Fit, I don't think of Nightmare on Elm Street. But this episode made this concept work so well. In this episode, the Wii Fit board is possessed and forces Little Miss Gamer to work out more. She then woke up realizing it was a bad dream. Next, she discusses about the games offered in Wii Fit with her friend performing the moves, performing the ski jump and hula hoop movements with a ninja joking about if the moves have any purpose at all, and being held hostage by the board telling people to buy the Wii Fit. While this episode is pretty fun, I'm not a Nightmare of Elm Street fan, so I can't bring this episode any higher.

4. Adam & Z

When I think of the Adam computer, well I don't really since I didn't grow up with it But I would never think of Back to the Future. In this episode, Little Miss Gamer plays a rom of a game she grew up with on the Adam computer, but she was stopped by a scary federal agent saying that if she doesn't bring in her original copies of the game in 1 hour, she would be jailed and fined. She decides to go back in time in 1985 and plays her old Adam computer with the 3 games that she grew up with: Cabbage Patch Kids: Adventures in the Park, Dragon's Lair, and Chop Lifter. She then returns to the present with the games to show to the agent discussing about how sometimes emulating can be a good thing for sales. The episode concludes with a future Little Miss Gamer saying that the future needs her to stop her 16 kids from doing evil...or something. I don't know. Click here to watch it.

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3. Gitaroo Man

In this episode, Little Miss Gamer discusses about one of the most overlooked rhythm games of all time Gitaroo Man for the PlayStation 2. It has, hands down, the best skit in all of her videos with having some paper animation with her having a bad day dealing with falling out of her bed, missing the subway, wanting to get ice cream but only having hot dog flavored, the rain falling down on her, running from a large group of cats, and not being able to play Rocket Race on Halo 3 with a demon troll yelling at her, and defeating him by showcasing Gitaroo Man. The game is about a young boy named U-1 defeating numerous enemies by the power of rock transforming into Gitaroo Man. I had never heard of this game until I saw this review. It looks like an awesome game that never got the same recognition as other rhythm games such as Parappa the Rapper, Space Channel 5, Guitar Hero, and Rock Band. Even still to this day, it remains a cult classic. With Rock Band 4 coming out this year, I wouldn't be surprised if rhythm games would make a huge comeback. If it does, let's bring Gitaroo Man to the PlayStation Store or even a new game for the PS4. But that's wishful thinking.

2. You Gonna Finish That?

In this episode, Little Miss Gamer begins to procrastinate in doing tasks such as reading, eating a donut, knitting a scarf, and playing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the PlayStation. When falling asleep, she gets inside the game and is confronted by Dracula to finish the game. While trying to come up with excuses on why she hasn't finished it, it doesn't seem to convince Dracula. She then discusses about the numerous reasons on why some people don't finish games whether they don't have the time, its difficulty, not wanting the experience to end, or life being in the way. However, she then learns that just because you finish something, it doesn't mean that it's over. Even if the game is over, there must be closure in your life, otherwise you'll feel incomplete. There are even numerous ways to continue a game such as new game plus. This episode has PBC Productions member Darrin DeMarco voicing Dracula and he does an amazing impression of the Count. Also, the remix music of the Castlevania songs are really well done.

1. Psychonauts

The last video game review of Little Miss Gamer was her best discussing about her favorite video game of all time Psychonauts for the PlayStation 2. Little Miss Gamer has lost her control of her powers causing squirrels to be lit on fire. Lee from Still Gaming guest stars in this episode training Little Miss Gamer to control her powers and helping her review the game. Little Miss Gamer hesitates since she's afraid of not doing a good job reviewing her favorite game of all time. Lee places a brain tumbler on Little Miss Gamer where she ended up becoming the character of Raz walking around in her own brain. Lee tells her on how she got introduced to the game. This was the game that brought her back into gaming after being out of it for a very long time. She discusses everything that she loves about it: the plot, the powers, the collecting, the story, and the characters. It concludes with Lee congratulating Little Miss Gamer on conquering her fear of reviewing her favorite game of all time. It's a really informative and personal episode that I felt that Lindsey told from the bottom of her heart on how much Psychonauts meant to her and I felt it was a good closure to her review series. Looking back on her shows, I don't think anyone could ever replace her. She brought in a heartfelt, genuine, kind, and sweet personality that was a great change of pace from all the anger and cynical reviews of bad games. Now that video game reviews have come so far since then, it's nice to look back on something as simple as Little Miss Gamer.

That's my top 10 list. What are your favorite Little Miss Gamer episodes? Post in the comments below and let us know. Also if you haven't had the chance, check out my interview with Lindsay that I did last year. 

That's all for now. Our next top 10 list will be the top 10 Nicktoons that deserve comic book adaptations collaborating with Kat "Comic Uno" West. Also, the next episode of Nick Jukebox will feature the songs from ChalkZone chosen by YOU! Let me know in the comments what song you want to hear. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 41: Interview with Gabi Hankins

In this episode of Casual Chats, Patricia interviews recent Chapman University graduate, actress, and the daughter of Candi Milo, Gabi Hankins.

Check out Gabi's links below

Click here to watch The Interns pilot and please help fund their first season!