Friday, January 26, 2024

The Killing Machine

A different kind of deadly contest achieves THOIA's highest score possible, from the January - February 1979 issue of The Unexpected #189. You old school arcade freaks are gonna dig this one, so line up your quarters, get into your groove, and prepare yourself for a whole new definition of GAME OVER...


Brian Barnes said...

About a year earlier Marvel introduced Arcade featuring heroes trapped in a giant pinball game, I suspect this took some cue from that.

I love that the solution to this is a tilt -- ah, pre-code, never change!

As before, in DC's 70s horror output, the art is gorgeous, from the spooky house, to the cave to hell, to the bats, etc. The paneling on page 7 is a bit distracting, though, but that's a minor complaint.

BTW: the cover on this issue is wild, no idea if the inner story actually has an image like that but I love big silly horror concepts.

JMR777 said...

That deaf, dumb and blind kid Sure plays a mean pinball.

Mr. Bzeel, they should have known he was going to cause them trouble.

Why can't the devil give himself a boring name like Smith or Jones or Brown, ol' scratch is only fooling himself in thinking his victims can't put two and two together and realize he is the boss of the zip code mortals wish to avoid.

And lest we forget, All Hail Karswell as the Joust Champion of the world.

Mr. Cavin said...

As late as 1979 this already feels like bringing a Bally to an Atari fight. Hard to imagine choosing to tell this story with pinball machines instead of video cabinets. I feel like the limitations were evident, too: The story was nearly stumped trying to imagine a varied enough range of fatalities to hip these players to the idea that their deaths were related to gameplay. "I was annihilated by nukes! I was invaded from space! I was totally ponged, man!" Video games bring the creative kills. Pinball is great, but games all end the same way: "My balls fell down the wrong side of the flippers again."

I do love to see a little pearl-clutching side-eye thrown at seventies arcade culture (look ma, I'm on TV!). The art was lovely, even though I wish it had actually depicted pinball games a bit more than it ended up doing. The usual technophobic scarelore culmination--my god I'm trapped in the very machine!--was extra awesome in this case. I'd love to see this one as a sixties Star Trek or Avengers episode. Imagining the sweat on Kirk's face makes me want to see a Rudy Palais Eerie Pubs version of this story, too. Though I know both these flights of fancy predate the original story, at least they also predate video games.

Mr. Karswell said...

>And lest we forget, All Hail Karswell as the Joust Champion of the world.

LOL! I'm impressed that you remembered my tale of monumental momentary teenage superstardom!! It never got any better than that for me, I'm afraid haha... :)

Get ready to pay another visit to dreary old Scotland-- UP NEXT!