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Article 37—MIDWAY PROMO VIDEO (1999)


If you worked for a video-game magazine or Web site in the late 1990s and you needed information about Midway’s console and handheld games, the guy you talked to was an
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affable, mild-mannered Texan named Andrew Hoolan. Andrew’s approach to public relations was unlike that of most other video-game PR reps; his polite drawl and “aw, shucks” mannerisms made it easy for him to ingratiate himself with those of us who wrote about games for a living.

Hoolan doesn’t appear in this promo video from June of 1999, but his presence is felt in the embedded clips of interviews he conducted with the editors of several video-game magazines and Web sites. It takes a special kind of talent to elicit such ringing endorsements from the gaming enthusiast press, which was as snarky and jaded then as it is now. The guilty parties, in order of appearance, are Matt Casamassina (IGN.com), Jeff Gerstmann (Videogames.com), Blake Fischer (Next Generation magazine), Brandon Justice (IGNPSX.com), Jason E. Wilson (Tips & Tricks magazine), Ryan MacDonald (Videogames.com), Chris Charla (Next Generation magazine), Aaron
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Boulding (IGN64.com) and myself. In retrospect, I find it a little embarrassing that we were all so willing to shill for Midway products with barely any prompting!

I like how the passage of time has changed this video into something different from its original intent. Because of Hoolan’s interviews, it now plays like a quasi-nostalgic snapshot of the video-game press in the late 1990s. Streaming Internet video was not commonplace then, so most readers did not get to see the faces and hear the voices of game reviewers of that era. Yet here they are, in their actual offices, as seen through the eyes of a publisher of games that they wrote about, like a mirror reflecting the industry back upon itself.

The video also includes one game that was never released, at least not in the form shown here. Arcade 12 Pack Classics Collection was supposed to be a compilation of 12
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classic Midway, Williams and Atari arcade games for the PlayStation. The video reveals 11 of the 12 games that would have been included: Gorf, Klax, Rampage, Satan’s Hollow, APB, Toobin’, Super Sprint, Gauntlet II, Smash TV, Two Tigers and Wizard of Wor. As far as I know, Two Tigers still has never been ported to a home console. A much less ambitious version of this collection was eventually released as Arcade Party Pak. It included just six games: 720 Degrees, Smash TV, Klax, Rampage, Super Sprint and Toobin’. What kind of party promises you a 12-pack and only brings a sixer?

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