Here's the pattern in slow motion

You know, I think it's perfectly fair to track the decline of modern society to video games.

Why, this instructional video doesn't even use the word "cheat" when it tells you how to make Atari 2600 Space Invaders allow two bullets on screen at once.

It's a small step, I tell you. A small freakin' step.

Actually, apart from the fact that 2600 Space Invaders was so good (though no Solaris, sure), I was attracted to this clip (and the others in the same series) because of its extraordinarily fine video quality. YouTube's sub-Google-Video resolution is pretty much a perfect match to VHS transfers, but most VHS YouTube uploads are from awful old flaky tapes, badly digitised, replete with noise bars, horizontal wiggling and poor deinterlacing. Oh, and terrible audio, too - I don't know about you, but I can tolerate a lot of video crappiness, but only if the soundtrack is clear.

This, in comparison, is perfect. The resolution's still low, but it's clean as a whistle in both audio and video. So either it's from an untouched VHS tape stored in nitrogen, or it's been processed and stabilised out the wazoo, or someone dug up their Ampex master reels.


4 Responses to “Here's the pattern in slow motion”

  1. Doormat Says:

    unrelated comment: video "quality" is my greatest fear for the future. I'm not sure what it's like in Aus, but in the UK we now have the delights of Freeview, aka DVB-T-based over-the-air broadcast telly. And, sometimes, it's brilliant. For a couple of channels. Every so often. But, for the most part, it's used to give me 40 channels of motion-induced MPEG blocking. Great. For talking heads - brilliant. For anything moving - nightmare.

  2. Laco Says:

    I was going to point out the obvious possibility of emulation, but no, they show the actual machine. Ahh, that gloriously chunky sound.

    On another note, videos like this have a certain quality I find hard to describe. I don't know exactly what it is, but 70s and 80s science videos have it too; a sense that everything is simple and all is right with the world. Maybe it's the voiceover guy..

  3. corinoco Says:

    Anyone care to take a stab at how much a Space-Invaders tips video cost in today's money? Something frightening, I'm sure.

    And as for Look Around You - they got that spot on! We had videos almost the same as that; played, if My memory serves me correctly, on 1-inch reel-to-reel video players. Ah, NSW Gov. Schools!

    Favourites were ones from engineering science - so close to 'The Secret Life of Machines' it would be difficult to tell them apart now - although lawnmowers never caught fire in engineering science videos. Engineering science, by the way, was as fantastic as it sounds - I scored about 98% in that in my HSC!

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