Thursday, June 20, 2013

Further research

Vintage Houston Yellow Pages.
From the author's personal collection.
There's Photon, accidentally
listed as Synchro Management!

I have had the pleasure this past Spring to visit our downtown library to see if there were any obvious traces of Star Laser Force in newspapers of the day. To avoid suspense, I'll tell you now that I did not find anything mentioning SLF.  Photon was a national phenomenon sufficient to generate TV features, news coverage, the cartoon spinoff and of course the home version.  There was none of that for SLF which seems to have been just a bit of whimsy for a short season, and even when it was here in Houston it seems to have been nearly ignored by the major papers, the Chronicle and the Post.

To put that into perspective, though, in those same papers I found zero coverage of video games, either home or arcade, in an era where both dominated the amusement sphere of a large chunk of the next generation - kids, teens, and up. The people who edited the paper did not foresee the significance of games in the culture, and only those who beat the publicity drum in the right way could expect to be noticed. Movies were well represented in the entertainment sections; amusement parks were reliable news generators as well. As for laser tag, well, they didn't even have a name for it at first. Still, when Photon showed up, I imagine it was played up as the amusement park of the future, based on various accounts. In the next few posts, I'll document the response of the press here in Houston to the curious newcomer, Photon.

While on this trip I also visited the delightful Texas Room where a collection of local ephemera and documents of all kinds awaits the determined researcher. They pulled the entertainment file for me, and it was fascinating seeing what was meant to be fun throughout the past 100 years. There wasn't anything about SLF there either, sorry to say, but I enjoyed seeing first-hand entertainment ads for the defunct Busch Gardens Houston, which I had never heard of; wrestling, sports events, and much more.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I remember being taken to Busch Gardens, and seeing a trained bird show. I wondered where those memories were from. Glad to know they were real. Good finds. I only played SLF a few times, but they were good times.