Armagideon Time

Dead alive in 1995

April 6th, 2018

I remember next to nothing about MTV’s Club Dead, apart from the lingering feelings of horror and disdain the whole “full motion video” CD-ROM game fad of the early-to-mid-Nineties instilled in me. Ballyhooed as the “Next Big Thing,” the FMV game thing was really just a massive cop-out that took advantage of the CD-ROM format’s massive leap in storage space from its floppy disc forebears. It ended up manifesting as an aggressively hyped nightmare of grainy compression, made-for-public-access-TV stage sets, and too many struggling and/or failed actors addressing the screen with a unsettling tone of familiarity.

Dragon’s Lair might’ve been simplistic on the gameplay front, but at least it was backed up by some gorgeous Don Bluth animation — not a haggard former child actor going through the motions for bail money. I have no nostalgia for these games and the only curiosity I might harbor about them is of the most morbid variety.

That said, the 1995 SPIN Magazine ad for MTV’s Club Dead is a masterpiece of middle 1990s trash futurism.

Just look at that garish motherfucker. It’s like someone tried to recreate a Vaughn Oliver 4AD album cover with a shareware graphics editing program…while blindfolded. There’s a hideous majesty in its meat-thumbed attempts to channel the technological zeitgeist into a pitch for some film school dropouts’ attempt at interactive cyberpunk fiction.

So a pretty solid summation of the era, actually.

2 Responses to “Dead alive in 1995”

  1. John

    It says a lot about this game that it doesn’t even rate a Wikipedia entry.

  2. Chris Wuchte

    That was a weird couple of years, when people actually talked about wanting to work in “CD-ROMs”, and magazines actually had Top 10 CD-ROM Charts, as if they were movies or record albums. I remember wasting time viewing videos on Encarta and Roger Ebert’s Cinemania, until the internet made them useless.

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