Click to View: Editorial News Guest Editorial Multivision Ad

These four scans come from the January 1983 issue of Video Review magazine, which probably hit the newsstands in late 1982. Like its rival Video magazine, Video Review was primarily about home video equipment, videotapes and laserdiscs, but it also included a small amount of video-game coverage. (Earlier that year, the video-game magazine Electronic Fun had been launched as a spinoff from Video Review—following in the footsteps of Electronic Games, which had its roots in a game review column in Video.)

The story that ties these four pages together is the 1982 release of Custer’s Revenge, an
“adult” video game that managed to offend on two different levels. As explained in the news story linked above, the game’s announcement was greeted with an organized protest that condemned Custer’s Revenge as an example of both pornography and racism. The story includes a photo of the protest, with Native Americans and conservatives holding up signs that proclaimed “Custer’s Revenge Says Rape Is Fun.”

Video Review was in a unique position to comment on the Custer’s Revenge controversy, as it regularly included racy ads for pornographic videotapes in its back pages. This same issue has offers like “Adult Video Cassettes SO HOT…most stores can’t sell them!” and “Seka & The Texas Longhorn Together At Last!” from various mail-order outlets. (By contrast, the more conservative Electronic Games magazine once censored an ad with an illustration of a woman in a G-string.) The lead opinion piece by editor David Hajdu does offer a half-hearted condemnation of Custer’s Revenge and its ilk, but then goes on to encourage the development of more adult-themed games…and even makes some gameplay suggestions! To its credit, the magazine also offered a guest editorial spot to a representative of Women Against Pornography, one of the New York-based groups involved in the protest.

For classic gaming fans, though, the most intriguing item in this vintage magazine is
the ad for Multivision games that appears on page 127. Based in Beverly Hills, California, Multivision—at various times—announced at least six adult-themed games for the Atari Video Computer System. Five titles are mentioned in this advertisement (Battle of the Sexes, Harem I: Garden of a Thousand Pleasures, Harem II: Secrets of the Harem, Tic-Tac-Strip and Getcha, the latter two licensed from board games by the man who created the infamous drinking game Pass-Out), but the company folded before it had a chance to release any of them. The presence of this ad casts Hajdu’s editorial in a different light; his call for “a new realm of video games for adults” seems presciently in tune with Multivision’s promise of games that “come out of toyland.” I wonder if he saw the ad before he wrote that.

© 2011 Chris Bieniek. Certain video game images, characters and logos on this Web site are copyrighted or trademarked by their respective publishers.