Wednesday, May 17, 2017

End of the World (of Obscurity)

And I feel fiiiiiiine...

I do not apologize for that earworm.

As you can probably guess from the title of this post, I'm quitting. Again. (I already tried having a blog once before, and that really didn't go well.)

My reasoning: time constraints. That's always been the problem around here; I can never find the time to A) find/record enough content for a blog post, and then B) write about it. It's much easier, at least to me, to just start recording a video and put it on YouTube. That's what I've been doing, actually; I've been trying to put at least one video a week on my channel, so you can subscribe to that if you want to see more content.

On that note, I would like to mention that everything I had planned for this blog (mentioned and unmentioned) will, in some way, be put up on my YouTube channel. Stay tuned for that, I guess. As for this blog, I'll be keeping it open in case anyone out there finds these posts interesting, and I will still respond to your comments, but please do check out my YouTube channel; I would really appreciate any feedback you have.

See you around.

-Johnny Swanson, the Headset Guy

Sunday, April 23, 2017

State of the Blog

Was anyone expecting me to actually make a blog post about the Waterford Early Reading Program?

Yeah, didn't think so.

Also, so much for that resolution. First post of 2017 and it's almost the end of April. Go figure. But anyway, I've made two updates to my post about 5 Obscure Things I Only Vaguely Remember, and that's because I finally figured out the names of three of those five things. The two arcade games were called Total Eclipse and Jungle Joggers, and--I figured this one out very recently--one of the computer games was called Let's Pretend! Volume 2: Space is Our Playground! So, change of plans: the next post is probably going to be about that, if and when I ever get a copy.

And I say that because, again, there are no uploads for it online. However, it is available on Amazon, so eventually I'd like to buy a copy of it so I can review it. But that's going to have to wait, I think, until I get a couple more paychecks, because yes, I finally have a job. Again.

I don't want to go into details here, but I recently got a job, and with the new job comes less free time for writing blog posts like this. I'll try to make it work, but no guarantees I can follow an actual schedule.

As for the Waterford stuff, that's going to take quite some time. I am also still not quite ready to reveal my big Classworks-related project, which at this point might not even happen at all, but if it does, when the time comes, I will reveal it.

That's about all from me for now. I've got plenty of stuff lined up in the meantime, so if I can ever find the time, I will update this blog more frequently.


Monday, December 19, 2016

4 Years

So, um... wow.

It's been 4 years since I made my first post on this blog. Is that crazy or what?

It's hard to imagine that I was just starting college when I first decided to have a new blog, and here I am now just about ready to get my Associates in Computer Science.

But this isn't about my personal life; this is about obscurity. And boy oh boy, I've gotten obscure stuff that I never expected to get. In my humble opinion, the ball started rolling in 2015, when I made the (very inaccurate) post about Learning Voyage. That day was completely awesome, as that's when I discovered the names of so many games I played as a kid that probably nobody else remembers. And all because of one little program: ClassWorks.

As some of you may recall, I hinted in my last post about a project I'm working on involving ClassWorks. I'm still not ready to reveal what that project is, but believe me when I say, it's going to be completely awesome! I hope to have it done by 2017, but (as always) no promises.

Speaking of 2017, I hereby resolve to start updating the blog more regularly. I've got some plans for the blog, including but not limited to:
* Videos of the Learning Voyage games
* Scripted reviews of some books, audio tapes, and vinyl records
* The aforementioned ClassWorks project
* The usual random computer game nonsense

I already have a topic lined up for my next post, so I'll reveal it here.

Coming... sometime: a blog post about the Waterford Early Reading Program (WERP)!

Can't really think of much else to say here. Can't even come up with a joke ending. Anyway, see you in 2017!


Sunday, July 24, 2016


Howdy, all. I know I haven't posted here since May. And there's a reason for that.

Remember how excited I was about finally seeing a video of Learning Voyage? Well, that was the same day I got a job offer, which of course I took. Bottom line, I'm now a working man. It's so awesome to finally have a job! This is also why I've been busy and haven't updated the blog in some time.

Now, one of the great things about having a job is that I get money. And having money means I can buy stuff. Don't worry, I'm budgeting things. I'm using my money wisely, only making the occasional eBay purchase. Such as the Learning Voyage games, at least in the re-branded "Learning Center Series" form.

Yep, I bought those games on eBay today for a great price. They should be coming later this week or over the weekend. When I finally have them, I can actually make a proper review of them. Should be fun.

Wanna know what isn't fun? Buying a 20 year old piece of hardware that I wanted to cover for the blog, like new, only to find out that because of its age, it didn't work. It had never been used, but because of its age it didn't work at all. I won't go into full details now, because I want to surprise y'all. If I can get it fixed, and that is a big "if", expect it whenever I have it working and can find free time to make a review. But for right now, it doesn't work.

One final piece of news: I am working on a project related to Classworks. Once again, I won't give you all the details. You'll have to wait until the project is actually completed, which might take a while.

But between these projects, my job, and school (I'm almost ready to get my Associates), it's been hectic. I haven't found a lot of time, or a lot of subjects, for the blog. Just know that I'm here, I'm alive, I haven't forgotten about the blog, and I am planning to write a proper post eventually. After the Learning Voyage games, I've got some other things in mind. I'm not going to try to do a theme for each month like I tried the last time; that's simply too much for me.

What I'll do instead is what I've been doing: review what I want, when I want to. Things like Mr. Potato Head Saves Veggie Valley would probably take a long time to get the footage, since that's a point-and-click adventure game, versus games like KidPhonics, which is just a phonics-themed activity center. (Speaking of KidPhonics, maybe I should go back and do a proper review of that game?)

So yes, bottom line, stuff is gonna happen. It's exciting. Hope you're looking forward to it! As always, if you have anything obscure you'd like to see me cover, please let me know. See you next time!


Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Triumphant Return

And what a return it is, my God.

Thanks to the awesome Lingyan203 on YouTube, I have discovered more information about the Learning Voyage games!! He uploaded a video here (not embedding it because it's not my video), and INSTANTLY the nostalgia came back.

...Except of course, I was wrong about some things. This post is going to correct what I got wrong once and for all!

So, to start, the family's names. They are called the "DiscoverCraft Crew", because they are the crew of a floating museum called the DiscoverCraft. The dad is named Parsec, the mom is Nanosec, the son is Arno, and the daughter is ZZ. I didn't even know that when I made my original post(s) about these games.

Next, the lines I remembered from the intro. It turns out the museum was invaded by sand worms, not ants.

Parsec: The only way sand worms could have gotten into the engine room is through the back door, and we put worm traps by the back door!
Arno: Uh-oh. I thought you said, "Put trap doors back by the worms"!

And the clown dunking game. It was actually called the "Dunkolator", but there was no way I could have known that because A) I forgot, and B) the only information available was from Classwell's website. Once again they were guilty of "Cowboy Bebop At His Computer". As was I for trusting their information. Also, the puns I remembered from that game were "Here's an exhibit that's bound to make a big splash!" and "Do not try this at home; our clown is a drained professional!" I was pretty close, sure, but I didn't have the quotes exactly right.

Oh yeah, and the "exhibit" thing. The hub for both games (not just Swamped as I had thought before) is a museum lobby, because the DiscoverCraft is a museum. Each minigame is presented as an exhibit in the museum. Watch the video for more.

Last and most importantly, I have found out that the Learning Voyage games were eventually re-branded as part of Davidson's Learning Center Series. Sand Trapped was Davidson's Learning Center Series: 3rd Grade, and Swamped was Davidson's Learning Center Series: 4th Grade. Surprise of surprises. And you know what else? Those releases are actually fairly common! I've seen them at thrift stores many times, and I've also seen them on eBay for a few dollars each. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for them next time I go to a thrift store.

So anyway, that's about it from me. Now I can finally shut up about these games, and instead continue to talk about ClassWorks. In fact, I've got a "History of ClassWorks Gold" video in the works right now. I will also begin to talk about some other games that were featured in ClassWorks, such as Math Sequences and The First "R".

In addition, I found a disk image of another Apple II game I played as a kid: Quilting Bee by MECC! I've got a lot of exciting stuff planned (well, exciting to me, at least). But for now, it's one huge mystery solved, and about a dozen more to go. Until next time, remember to keep on discovering your crafts.

...No? All right, I'll leave the humor to the clown.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Playskool Play-Doh Creations

Stupid me. Stupid, stupid me. Playskool is owned by Hasbro.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, on to this week's post. Sorry I didn't get to it on Friday. I have no excuse this time; I had the video recorded and everything.

This game was published by Hasbro and Playskool some time in the 90s, and was released for Windows and Macintosh. As usual, I recorded this from a Macintosh emulator, using Open Broadcaster Software.

The game starts off with one of the catchiest songs I have ever heard, with some ridiculous lyrics. "Everybody come aboard for the latest sensation! The magical island of Play-Doh Creations!" Then it explains everything that you can do. If you ask me, the theme song is completely unnecessary.

Play-Doh Pete, in all his creepy off-the-can glory
The game takes place on Play-Doh Island, and there's no plot here: it's just an activity center/painting program, kind of like Kid Pix but without the ability to draw anything yourself.

You can visit five different places: the Laboratory, the Factory, the Bakery, the Mall, and the Theatre. However, you can't visit the Theatre until you have some creations.

The laboratory
The bakery
The factory
The mall
Something that bugs me about this game: your creations from other places come with you. For example, I started with the Laboratory. When I go to the Factory, the creature I made in the Laboratory comes with me. This kind of defeats the whole purpose of making something different.

Honestly, that's my biggest complaint about this game: there's very little variety. You go to any place and the goal is the same: make something out of Play-Doh and use tools to make it look somewhat different. The designs are different depending on where you go, but the tools are always the same. Also, you have to use the existing designs. All this adds up to having very little room for creativity.

Anyway, once you've made some creations, you can go to the Theatre and put them in the Great Doh Show. Simply select a creation, then select the scene you want it to be in, then click on the curtain. The applause meter at the top always seems to go all the way to the top, so I don't know why it's even there. Also, the intro lied: you don't need to make a poster at all.

One of the trying-too-hard-to-be-funny scenes you can make in the Great Doh Show
Bottom line: it's easy to see why this is so obscure. The only things I remembered about this game were the Great Doh Show and the song that it plays while it's loading. Other than that, it's pretty boring. Play Kid Pix instead. Or don't. If you like this game still, good for you, but I can't say I do.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me tell you what I've got planned for Friday: a little point-and-click adventure game called Mr. Potato Head Saves Veggie Valley. I know, what a title. Until then, remember: Play-Doh is fun to play with, not to eat!


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Filler video

So... remember that filler video I was supposed to make last week?

Finally got around to it this week.

The video says it all. I'll just say I was supposed to do Tonka Space Station this week, but due to extremely annoying technical difficulties I was unable to get any footage of it. Anyway, I have declared November to be Hasbro/Playskool Month. It was originally going to just be Hasbro Month, but then I realized one of the computer games I wanted to talk about was not published by Hasbro. (Very late edit: Yes it was.) Why I thought it was, I don't know. (Very late edit: IT. WAS. PLAYSKOOL OWNS HASBRO.) The game in question is Playskool Play-Doh Creations for Windows and Mac, and that's going to be for next week's blog post. And I may as well reveal what I have planned for the week after that as well: Mr. Potato Head Saves Veggie Valley.

Anyway, sorry for the short (and late... again...) post this week. See ya next time!