Gaming in the Clinton Years
March 21, 2011 8:45 AM   Subscribe

In the mid-1990s, a man named George Wood created a TV show called Flights of Fantasy on a Maryland public-access channel. The show was was dedicated to videogames, and gained quite a few detractors; Wood was not known for his playing skills, research, or good taste, and the production was rather cheap. He would also tend to go off-topic, sometimes markedly so.

It had a small following, being a local public-access show, but would have been lost forever had Wood not joined a video gaming association called NAViGaTR, who archived the entire series, edited each episode, and put them online as Gaming in the Clinton Years.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko (12 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I suddenly am interested in purchasing cruise tickets.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:00 AM on March 21, 2011

A piece from Cracked on the insight and nuance that make George's reviews so special.
posted by kittensofthenight at 10:01 AM on March 21, 2011

On Super Mario World 2:

"Super Mario World 2 is far better than the less-than-pleasing Super Mario World that was released back in 1991."

Sorry, George. That sentence disqualifies you from doing video game reviews.
posted by koeselitz at 10:16 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have nothing better to do so I watched the videos and pulled out quotes.

"These nifty bonuses can only be accessed if you beat the game in every mode on the expert level. In other words, forget about it!" - George Wood on 1080 Snowboarding

"Nobody buys a game specifically for multiplayer options." "Beating the game is impossible on the higher difficulty levels. Do yourself a favor and don't even try them." - George Wood on Goldeneye 64

"What are the ingredients for the ultimate racing game? Take a car, airplane and hovercraft and stir vigorously with super mario 64 style graphics..." - George Wood on Diddy Kong Racing

"So you'll just have to wait till next year to see if a decent hockey title hits to N64. SO PLEEAASSEE somebody, make worthy one before this fall. ::deep breath in::" - George Wood on NHL Breakaway 98

"This is kind of a short review, but HEY, it's a short game. For those of you that never get to play this masterpiece here's what happens when you win ::cut to 1 minute ending video::" - George Wood on Wave Race 64

Most reviews audio starting out with him settling into his creaky chair was a nice touch too.
I read the cracked article after I got done watching these videos and laughed way harder than I should have. What a gem, I wish I would have known about this show so I could have seen it live when I was a kid in MD.
posted by zephyr_words at 10:39 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Your name is Chrono and the game begins with your mom waking you up.
This is appropriate, since many kids need BOMBS to get themselves out of bed in the morning.
In fact some of us still do."
posted by St. Sorryass at 10:47 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

He seems to have a remarkable knack for getting it wrong on what's going to be remembered fondly or poorly. His VirtualBoy reviews are surprisingly positive, or at least neutral, for a system that's widely seen as pretty flawed to provide only one gimmick. And he's kind of dismissive of Smash Brothers, which is pretty funny as it's probably the most played N64 game these days, at least based on what I've seen on college campuses. Yes, some people still prefer the original to Melee and Brawl.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:52 AM on March 21, 2011

Your name is Chrono and the game begins with your mom waking you up.


posted by adamdschneider at 11:17 AM on March 21, 2011

As someone who has clocked hundreds of hours in Smash Bros, Brawl was the biggest dud ever, to be fair we got a Wii popped it in gave it 20 minutes and went back to Melee.

The original is still fun, but its like playing in molasses...
posted by stratastar at 12:06 PM on March 21, 2011

I love every word of his Final Fantasy VII review.

" brings nothing new in terms of game design."
"The text is boring. So boring, in fact, that you may fall asleep."
"We are such fans of the Final Fantasy series that it pains us to go on, but the flaws keep mounting."
"The enemies take too long to defeat."
"The music and sound, well, they blow chunks."
"We expected more from this game."

"While this is the best role-playing game ever made..."
posted by Spatch at 2:31 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

George is the only guy to write an honest review of Final Fantasy 7.
posted by GilloD at 3:40 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I get the impression the beginning of Final Fantasy Tactics fatigued him mightily. He does have a point that it has a lot of reading, but he could've skipped a lot of it, I think.
posted by dragonplayer at 7:00 PM on March 21, 2011

I have to say that he's completely right about Donkey Kong Country.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:57 PM on March 22, 2011

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