Saturday, November 30, 2013

White Castle Stuffing

White Castle Stuffing
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

I'm going to start by giving credit where credit is due, this recipe comes straight from the White Castle website.  My mom made it for us for Thanksgiving this year, and it was quite the hit.  Growing up in St. Louis, White Castle was a part of my childhood.  We'd get "belly bombers" quite often, and I wish there was one near where I live now in Illinois.

Anyway, back to the recipe.  People who didn't come to our dinner actually asked to try the stuffing, and after posting a pic on Facebook and Instagram, I got several requests, so here it is. This recipe is more than 20 years old, having won a White Castle recipe contest in 1991.

10 White Castle burgers (buns, onions, and pickles)

1 1/2 cup diced celery

1 1/4 tsp. thyme

1 1/2 tsp. sage

3/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 cup chicken broth

Dinner is served

In a large mixing bowl, tear the burgers into pieces and add diced celery and seasonings. Toss and add chicken broth. Toss well. Stuff cavity of turkey just before roasting. Makes about 9 cups (enough for a 10- to 12-pound turkey). Note: Allow 1 hamburger for each pound of turkey, which will be the equivalent of 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound.

My mom increased the ingredients by one half.  She also opted to not cook the stuffing inside the turkey, that's just a personal preference for us.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: The Thanksgiving Song

Adam Sandler on SNL, 1992
Courtesy: NBC/SNL
By Kevin Hunsperger 
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Through the years there have been more Christmas carols produced and recorded than you can ever imagine.  There are even Halloween themed songs and we all play some patriotic tunes on the 4th of July.  Even Easter has the Peter Cottontail song.  But there are very few that pay tribute to Thanksgiving.

That's where comedian and Saturday Night Live star Adam Sandler righted the wrong.  In November 1992, he performed the wildly popular and now (dare I say cult hit), The Thanksgiving Song on SNL.  It became a popular tune among the college crowd.  I can say that because I was in college at the time.

The next year when Sandler released the album "They're All Going to Laugh at You", The Thanksgiving Song was a part of it.  I'd play it all the time, especially when the holiday got closer.  Who couldn't help but to laugh at lines like "my brother likes to masturbate with baby oil" and "Jimmie Walker, used to say Dyn-o-mite, that's right!"  Neither line has anything to do with Thanksgiving, but if you've heard a Sandler song, you understand why the lines are there.

The radio plays The Thanksgiving Song on Turkey Day.  Of course, the masturbation line has been rubbed out (yes, I went there) to make it safe for young ears listening.  Sandler released another song a short time later paying homage to Hanukkah.  While funny, I still laugh out loud hearing the Thanksgiving Song.  And since Hanukkah kicks off on Thanksgiving this year, let's pay tribute to both holidays.  Mazel tov!  Then last year Nicole Westbrook released "It's Thanksgiving!"  It comes from the people behind Rebecca Black's Friday, so be warned...  Also, here's a list of other Thanksgiving related songs.  I was surprised by the ones on here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving is NOT Dead

Norman Rockwell's "Freedom from Want"
By Kevin Hunsperger 
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Since I'm a journalist, I typically do not voice my opinion on things happening the news.  I avoid topics like politics, religion, and anything else that might be considered controversial.  Of the now 1,031 posts on this blog, about  90% of them are about wrestling.  But after weeks of letting this fester, I think now is the time to share with the world.

I saw a post on Facebook recently that became the straw that broke the camel's back.  In short, it suggested that because Black Friday shopping has seeped into Thanksgiving, that the holiday is dead or at least dying.  I disagree for a number of reasons, and if you're in the retail business and reading this, I apologize if my words offend you.

I have worked every Thanksgiving since 2003.  Thursday will mark my 11th consecutive Thanksgiving at work.  I'm not saying that to complain, but rather to let you know where I'm coming from as I write this post.  While I'm at it, I have worked more Christmases than I've been off in my years in TV news too.  It's something that comes with the territory.

Black Friday madness
Other comments I've seen on social media suggests that we shouldn't shop on Thanksgiving.  If you truly want to buck this trend of stores being open on Thanksgiving, that's a good course of action.  Let's face it, if business is bad, I'd have to believe stores would reexamine the idea of expanding their hours.  However, I think if people are willing to trample one another for a deeply discounted flat screen TV or the latest X-Box, they're not going to mind cutting their visit with Grandma short.  As of Monday (days before the sales start) people are already lined up outside of some Best Buy stores.

If you do plan to boycott the malls and stores on Thanksgiving, are you going to also not watch the news?  What about the football games that will be on TV all day or the holiday tradition of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?  It's not just the people you see on the screen working, but also the hundreds of behind the scenes folks running cameras, directing the show, and producing things.  They're all working too.  Skip the movies that night, as the men and women at the theater are also spending their holiday away from home, and don't turn on the radio either.

One of the many who work on Thanksgiving
That's just the entertainment side of things.  There are countless other professions who clock in every day, no matter what the calendar says.  Doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, emergency personnel, hospital support staff, troops serving overseas, restaurant workers, nursing home workers, gas station attendants, cab drivers, pilots, flight attendants, TSA screeners, train conductors, and bus drivers will all be working on Thanksgiving.  I know I'm leaving professions out, and for that I apologize, but you get the point.

I know this comes as no comfort to the men and women in retail who will spend their first Thanksgiving at work.  That's where new traditions can be born.  You may not be able to eat turkey and the trimmings on Thursday, perhaps a weekend celebration will work out for you.

A couple of other points.  Not everyone in this country celebrates Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Some people who work in retail may need the extra money that comes along with spending a holiday on the clock.  Of course, I'm assuming that people who work Thanksgiving will be compensated for it.  If that's not the case, I apologize for this.  Plus, no one is forcing shoppers to head out.  It's a choice.  If someone would rather spend their time looking for cheap gadgets for Christmas instead of hearing Uncle Phil yammer on about his bunions after eating pumpkin pie on Thursday afternoon, so be it.  It's part of being an American and having that option.

In closing, I don't think stores being open will kill the concept of Thanksgiving. When I was a kid, stores were closed on Sundays.  Target, Walmart, Venture, even the malls were closed.  Maybe this was just a thing in Missouri, but when stores did open on Sundays, death did not come to that day.  It's changed sure, but we've all adapted to those changes.

Hunsperger Thanksgiving
After work of course
I'm not saying it's a good or bad thing that stores are staying open on Thanksgiving, but what I am saying is, in this day and age when businesses are struggling to stay alive, they have to do what works for them.  If everyone who I've seen on Facebook and Twitter are true to their word, they're actions of staying home on Thursday may interrupt this new concept.  So, what are you doing on Turkey Day?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fantasy Friday: Sting

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Sting is one of the few wrestling stars of the modern era to not compete in the WWE. Through the years, he always stayed loyal to WCW.  Today, I take a closer look at three guys I wish Sting would have had the opportunity to wrestle.  Not everyone on my list is from the WWE. And for the record, I prefer the "beach bum" version of Sting over "Crow" or "Joker" Sting.

Shawn Michaels
Photo courtesy: WWE
1. Shawn Michaels: Sting came from a history of tag team wrestling, being paired early in his career with the Ultimate Warrior as the Blade Runners, and then with Rick Steiner in the UWF.  He and Chris Adams also teamed briefly after Sting's face turn and of course he and Lex Luger and Nikita Koloff were paired up in WCW.  My point is, like Shawn Michaels, Sting comes from a tag team past.  But then both men excelled and achieved singles success.  Sting and the Heartbreak Kid are among the greatest wrestlers of all time.  They've both had great matches with Ric Flair.

I think that Sting rose quicker to super stardom and maintained that spot much longer.  Michaels of course was sidelined for years with that back injury, but returned to the ring despite the odds.  Of the three dream opponents I'm going to write about in this post, this has been the hardest one for me to pick a clear cut winner.  It would be an evenly contested match in my opinion, but I am going to give the edge to Sting, but just barely.  I think had this match happened around 1994, it would have been one we'd still be talking about today.

The Dragon
2. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat: I don't think Ricky Steamboat could have a bad match against anyone.  The Dragon is one of those guys I look back on and remember as a hard worker and great technician.  His matches with Flair from the 70's and 80's, along with the "Macho Man" Randy Savage feud in 86-87 made him the legend he is today.  Despite all that though, I do think that Sting would have the advantage in this face vs. face contest.  The two wrestled for years under the WCW banner at the same time, but I'm pretty sure they never had a match against each other.  If I'm wrong, someone please correct me.

Magnum T.A.
3.  Magnum T.A.: Magnum T.A.'s career was cut way too short after his car crash in 1986.  Luckily, T.A. survived the ordeal, but he was never able to get back in the ring.  For younger readers, you may not have heard of Magnum T.A. or had the chance to see him wrestle, but he was a fast rising star in the mid 80's.  Magnum had already held the United States and NWA TV championships prior to his crash. He had classic matches with the likes of Flair, Tully Blanchard, and Nikita Koloff.  Had it not been for that accident, I'd like to believe he was on track to defeat Flair for the NWA World's Heavyweight Title.  Unfortunately, we don't know if he would have fulfilled that destiny.  T.A. and Sting are the same age, but because of the things Sting went on to accomplish, I'd give the former TNA and WCW champion the win in this contest too.  I feel had Magnum stayed healthy, this match may have actually happened at some point.

Ultimate Warrior & Sting
Who else would you like to have seen Sting wrestle?  I purposely left the Undertaker off the list because so many people think that's the ultimate dream match.  Speaking of ultimate, I had also consider adding Warrior to the list, as I think the two would have a decent match, with Sting (much like Randy Savage did at Wrestlemania VII) pulling the best out of the Warrior.  Another potential dream opponent for Sting would have been The Rock.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Good grief, he can cook
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I blog a lot about Halloween and Christmas, but not really about Thanksgiving.  So I decided to change that with the next couple of Way Back WhensDay blogs.  The first goes back to the year I was born (1973) and the first airing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

When I was a kid, we would always go to my grandparents' house for Thanksgiving.  Cousins, aunts, uncles, and great-grandparents would gather around large tables in the basement and share a home cooked meal.  It was tradition.  But as we all got older, and the kids went off to college, got engaged, and eventually married, tradition started changing.  Now, family members are scattered around the country, and some years we improvise the celebration.

But there has been a constant in my 40 years on this planet, and that's the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special.  I've watched the 30 minute classic every year for as long as I can remember.  As an adult, it takes me back to my childhood, being carefree and knowing that we'd have a couple of days off from school.  Back then, that was a big deal.  Everything seemed so right with the world.

Dinner is served...
I still get a kick out of how bossy Peppermint Patty is and how much of a pushover Charlie Brown is when it comes to dealing with her and Lucy.  Charlie Brown becomes the reluctant host of a Thanksgiving meal, that only a boy and his pet beagle could come up with.  If you recall, the menu for the day included toast, pretzel sticks, popcorn, and jellybeans.  The gang dines on a ping pong table with mismatched chairs.  It's not exactly what the Indians shared with the Pilgrims, but the point is that Charlie Brown opened his home and his heart to his friends when they needed somewhere to go.  Eventually, the Peanuts gang heads over to Charlie Brown's grandmother's house (or condo) for a more traditional dinner.

That leaves Snoopy and Woodstock alone and of course ready to cook their own meal.  The duo comes up with a feast worthy of the first Thanksgiving, including turkey, the trimmings, and some pumpkin pie.  So time and distance may get in the way of celebrating with everyone in the family each year, but this special cartoon is a Thanksgiving tradition in our house.  They just don't make cartoons like that anymore.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Things We Do For Love

Will you marry me?
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Confession time: I'm a big chicken when it comes to crawling under my house.  Why would I ever have to do that?  Well, I was cleaning our master bathroom to surprise my wife, when I picked up her wedding ring (Why wasn't she wearing it?  Good question...) it slipped out of my hands and bounced on the floor and right down a small hole where our bathtub sits.

The hole of course was big enough for the ring to drop through, but I couldn't reach it (refrain from the jokes).  That left one solution, enter the crawl space and military crawl across the length of the house.  Those who live in southern Illinois know we have had quite a bit of rain in the last few days, which left a muddy mess underneath the tarps left by the builders.  As my body pressed down the plastic, muddy water oozed out and drenched me.  By the time I made it to the end of the house, I was frustrated to find that the opening to the bathroom wasn't big enough for me to fit through, until I saw the actual opening.  Wheeew....

I made my way through that space, dodging the hanging PVC pipes and various wires, praying that I wasn't going to get zapped in the process.  I worried if I did that my kids would come home to find me dead under the house.  After a few minutes of searching, I spotted the ring, snatched it up and made my exit ala Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, just in crawling mode.

My other big fear besides electrocution was finding some kind of critter under the house.  We've had cats under there before, but luckily this time around no sign of skunks, mice, or raccoons.  As you can see in the picture, I was a muddy mess at the end, but I knew I had to get that ring.  Happy wife, happy life.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Bad Habit Destroyer
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

My friend Jeff Rose writes a very successful blog on finances.  He's been featured on national (and local) television and has recently written and published a book called "Soldier of Finance."  Last year, he started a grassroots movement to make people more aware of the importance of life insurance.  It was a project I had a little fun with while helping get the word out.  Now Jeff is helping people break their bad habits or at least create some good ones.  I read his post and watched his video on the Bad Habit Destroyer and thought this is something I needed to be a part of too.

Over the course of 21 days, I plan to develop better habits.  Call it an early look into my New Year's Resolutions.  If you haven't already clicked the link to Jeff's site that I posted in the opening paragraph, do that now.  You'll find a downloadable chart to keep track of your progress for the next three weeks.

An apple a day....
I have plenty of bad habits that I'd like to break, but there are also things I think I can do in my life to implement positive change.  So instead of saying I'm going to cut out sweets cold turkey, instead one of my goals over the next 21 days is to reintroduce more fresh produce into my diet.  I used to eat a lot more fruits and vegetables throughout the course of a day.  Lately, I've stopped.  October through the end of December is a bad time for me in terms of letting my sweet tooth take over my life.  I go from eating Halloween candy to the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving (along with all the other delicious foods) to Christmas cookies throughout the month of December.

So the first goal in my 21 Days is going to be to get at least the five daily recommended servings of produce every day, including the weekends.  Right now, you should be getting between 5 and 13 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.  In addition to eating all that extra produce, I want to be more consistent with my exercise schedule.  I do 60 push ups each weekday morning before going to work.  I'm going to bump that up to 75, and carry it over into the weekends too.

Doing some DDP Yoga
I recently accomplished my goal of running 500 miles in 2013.  My new goal for running is completing a half marathon, which is happening in February.  I've got some work to do to train for that, but in addition to the running, I am going to focus more on doing DDP Yoga as well.  I've started it twice now, but as they say the third time is the charm.

I hope by getting this habit destroying program in place now, I'll be better adjusted for the changes I typically try to make in the New Year.  What habits do you want to change?  Let's work together and share our progress in three weeks.  Don't forget to download the score card on the Good Financial Cents website.  Good luck!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fantasy Friday: Andre the Giant

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I'm starting a new feature here on the blog.  Each Friday, I'll look at a wrestler from the past and talk about three opponents I wish that star would have had in their career.  I'm kicking things off with the late, great Andre the Giant.  He faced many legends in his career including Hall of Famers like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Jerry "The King" Lawler.  Even though he only had a reign as WWF tag team champion, Andre is among the best in the history of wrestling.

1.  The Undertaker:  The Phenom and Andre probably crossed paths a time or two in the locker room of the WWF.  Both appeared on the Wrestlemania VII card as the Undertaker beat "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka and Andre was in the corner of the Big Bossman in his quest for the Intercontinental title against Mr. Perfect.  Taker's arrival in the WWF came as Andre was winding down, in fact, he had already retired from in ring action by that time.

Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez
Photo courtesy: WWE
Undertaker proved early on he could handle giant challenges, including his feud with the Giant Gonzalez in 1993.  He took it to The Big Show, Yokozuna, and Vader through the years too.  But in his prime, Andre was a nearly unstoppable star.  It wasn't until 1987 that Andre was pinned for the first time in his match against Hulk Hogan.  The Ultimate Warrior is the only other superstar to hold that distinction.  I think in their primes, these two would have put on a helluva match, and the Deadman could have taken Andre to the limit.  Would Undertaker have enough to put Andre down for the three count?  Of the men I'm looking at today, he has the best chance of achieving that nearly impossible task.

Photo courtesy: WWE
2.  Yokozuna: Arguably, Yokozuna and Andre are two of the WWE's greatest big men of all time.  Yoko could do things no other 600 pounder I'd ever seen do in the ring.  If ever there would have been an irresistible force meeting the immovable object it would have been in an encounter between Andre and Yokozuna.  Despite his record with wins over Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, and The Undertaker,  I think Andre would have reigned supreme in this contest.  The ring would have to be reinforced for this showdown too.

Big Show vs. Andre (2K14)
Photo courtesy: WWE
3.  The Big Show: This match has actually been down on the WWE 2K14 video game.  How cool would this match have been as WCW was promoting The Giant (Big Show's gimmick back then) as the son of Andre the Giant.  A classic father vs. son feud, right?  Andre was Big Show's current age 41, when he wrestled Hogan at Wrestlemania III.  Obviously, Andre was nearing the end of his career (and life) at that time.  Big Show is clearly more mobile and appears to be in better shape than Andre was back then.  But if we're going for a match while Andre was in his prime, I'd give the edge to him, beating the man who once claimed to be his son.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: Cabbage Patch Kid Koosas

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

It's hard to believe that 2013 marks the 30 year anniversary of the Cabbage Patch Kids.  I never owned one of the human versions of the doll, but I did have one of their pets, known as Koosas.  Yes, I'm actually admitting to that.  I'm going to probably embarrass my brother with this story too, but here goes.

Growing up, I loved stuffed animals.  It only seemed natural that I would add one of the popular Koosas to my collection.  Our dad won a cat Koosa in some kind of drawing at the bank we used.  For whatever reason, my brother and I both wanted it, but somehow he ended up getting it.  So I asked for one for Christmas.  That year, I opened up my very own dog version of the Cabbage Patch Kid pet.  Since it was the holiday, I opted to name him Starr (yes with two R's).

Not the real Starr, but it's his twin.
Starr had short brown hair on the top of his head with brown skin.  He had big blue eyes and came with a pair of red overalls.  Like I mentioned, I was already into stuffed animals, so he just joined the dozens of other ones in my collection.  I can remember attaching a dog leash to his collar and dragging him around the house.

These animals looked just like their Cabbage Patch Kid counterparts, but somehow it seemed more masculine to have a dog or cat instead of the baby doll.  I don't know what, but there was something alluring about the Koosas.  I don't remember them ever having their own cartoon or cereal like their counterparts, but they were a fun part of my childhood.

Cats to go
I kept Starr for years, stowed away with my other stuffed animals.  A few years ago, in a purge, I put him in a garage sale.  I had checked out eBay to see if the Koosas were selling, but they really weren't, plus it had years of wear and tear from the many adventures we'd gone on.  (Did I just say that outloud?)  None-the-less, I'm confident Starr found a good home with another kid in my community who may someday grow up to write about his fondness for this blast from the past.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

RIP Survivor Series

Survivor Series 1987
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

In 1987, I was a freshman in high school.  In the fall of that year, the announcers on WWF Superstars started hyping a new pay-per-view called The Survivor Series.  It would air on Thanksgiving night (against the NWA's Starrcade event) and feature teams of five taking on each other in elimination style matches.  Heavyweight champion Hulk Hogan would captain a team against his Wrestlemania III challenger Andre the Giant in the main event.  It was a concept I was in love with before ever seeing the show.

Because it was the 80's and there was no Internet and I didn't have the ability to watch the show live, I waited patiently until Monday afternoon at lunch after the long holiday break to find out what had happened.  I had a friend named Bobby who watched the event and described how Hogan's team lost.  I was shocked by this to the point that I didn't believe it.  It wasn't until that following Sunday when the results were announced on Superstars again.  I couldn't wait for the WWF to release the show on Coliseum Home Video, which was how I watched most big events back then.

Tag team elimination
Photo courtesy: WWE
I was captivated by the action.  The fact that there were 10 tag teams to participate in the tag team elimination match is something that blows my mind considering today's environment.  There were 10 women wrestlers competing in their own match.  The Intercontinental champ The Honky Tonk Man led a team into battle against the "Macho Man" Randy Savage.  I loved EVERYTHING about the show (except Hogan's team losing, but I was a mark back then).

Each Thanksgiving the WWF would serve up another exciting Survivor Series pay per view.  The card remained stacked with elimination matches.  Yes, some of them started to feature guys who you wouldn't normally see on PPV, but I still loved the concept.  The team sizes dropped to four, but there were more matches added to the card. Then in 1991, the company added its first singles match to the show.  Hulk Hogan lost the WWF title to the Undertaker.  Again, another shocking evening, but I think that match set a new precedence for the Survivor Series pay-per-view. One that I do not like.

Survivor Series 1992
Photo courtesy: WWE
In 1992, not only did the WWF move the PPV to the night BEFORE Thanksgiving (which I don't begrudge them as I would imagine the wrestlers, announcers, referees, managers, and crew members would rather have the holiday at home), but the company dropped the elimination match concept.  The main event featured Bret Hart defending the WWF title against IC champ Shawn Michaels.  Razor Ramon and Ric Flair teamed up against Randy Savage and Mr. Perfect.  There was just one elimination match, which was incredibly lame as The Natural Disasters and the Nasty Boys beat Money Inc. and the Beverly Brothers.  

Survivor Series 1993
The "Doinks"
Photo courtesy: WWE
I rejoiced in '93 as the team concept returned (even with the "Doinks" on the show).  There were no singles matches, just one traditional tag team match that featured the Rock 'n Roll Express against the Heavenly Bodies.  Up until 1998, the Survivor Series featured a couple of non-elimination matches, but for the most part, the event lived up to my expectations.  It was 1998 where there were NO elimination matches.  The concept was replaced with the Deadly Game tournament to crown a new WWF champion, which ended up being the Rock.

The elimination matches returned a year later in 1999, and that concept stuck around, but the singles and traditional tag team matches outweighed the usual Survivor Series matches for many years.  In 2008 and 09, there was an even number of elimination matches and traditional matches, but things shifted again in 2010 in favor of just one or two elimination matches.

The King's Court
Photo courtesy: WWE
Another change I didn't care for was the changing of team names.  The cool team names from the early days like The Dream Team (captained by Dusty Rhodes), the Visionaries (captained by Rick Martel), and the Enforcers (captained by The Big Boss Man) simply became Team Triple H, Team Randy Orton, and Team Umaga.  Boring...

As I write this on November 12, there have been no announcements of elimination matches for the 2013 Survivor Series.  John Cena is defending the World Heavyweight Championship, Randy Orton is defending the WWE Title, and a few minutes ago I got a WWE text message saying the Wyatt Family would be taking on CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.  I'm going to remain positive and tell myself that there will be at least ONE traditional Survivor Series style match at the pay-per-view with the same name.

I understand wanting to have title defenses and other matches on the show.  But in my opinion, the Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble were those two pay per views every year where the unpredictable could happen because you never knew for sure who was going to end up in the ring together.  I think the WWE could keep the current storylines in play and just have the element of the elimination match thrown into the mix, so Survivor Series isn't just like every other pay-per-view or episode of Raw or SmackDown!

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: Q*bert

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I've used my Way Back WhensDay blogs to talk about some of my favorite things from my childhood. My favorite videos games growing up included Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and today's submission: Q*bert.  There was something captivating about that little orange creature with a giant nose and no arms.

The point of Q*bert was to get him to hop around a cubed pyramid, changing the colors of each block before advancing to the next stage.  To add to the challenge, different monsters would appear and try to thwart the effort.  Q*Bert never talked, but muttered inexplicable phrases as he went on a mission. Different symbols appeared in a speech bubble over Q*bert's head.  I always imagined he was cussing over the nerves involved in all the hopping and the frustration of the evil doers like Colly, Ugg, Wrong-Way, Sam, and Slick.  Those guys would try to force Q*bert (who the player controls) over the edge of the pyramid.

Q*bert arcade game
Q*bert is another one of those video games we'd play at the skating rink or local pizza restaurant.  Eventually, it was released for the Atari.  I still remember playing it at one point on a little black and white TV at my grandma's house, which made it next to impossible to do, since the goal of the game is to change the blocks into different colors.

In 2012, Q*bert caught my attention during the movie "Wreck it Ralph."  His appearance in the film was brief, but brought back fond memories of playing the game in the early 80's.  Hopefully he's appearance sparked the interest in the next generation of gamers.

I think it's safe to safe that Q*bert will go down in history with my other favorites Pac-Man and Donkey Kong as one of the all-time great classic games.