That guy on the front looks vaguely familiar but who is Matthew Laborteaux? Think of a wholesome show from the late 70’s and early 80’s. Got it? Think of a show based in the 1800’s. Do you know yet? Michael Landon? If you haven’t guessed it yet you’ll never guess, it’s Little House on the Prairie. Matthew Laborteaux was Albert Ingalls in the later seasons of Little House on the Prairie when this magazine was released. So why would they put a guy who starred in a show with no electricity on a video game magazine?
Laborteaux enjoyed playing pinball machines and a variety of other video games like Asteroids, Missile Command, and Dig Dug. He was actually a world champion contender in at least two video games. He placed 10th in the Atari World Championships for Centipede and 1st in a Pac-Man tournament. For winning he received his own personal Pac-Man arcade game, which was extremely uncommon in 1982. His placement on the cover makes a little more sense now.
Back to the original question, why should you own this book?
If you were a kid in the late 70’s and early 80’s you were probably feeding a video game addiction one quarter at a time when this magazine was published. Dimly lit arcades were overflowing with obnoxious sounds and convulsion inducing lights while you checked your feathered hair between games. You were wearing Levi Jeans and a concert t-shirt from someone like Bob Seger, Kansas, Black Sabbath, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, David Bowie, or the Rolling Stones. You had some Bubble Yum Bubble Gum in one pocket unless you believed the story about it being made with spider eggs. In the other pocket, you had all of your Dad’s quarters.
During this video game revolution, Donkey Kong was released in July 1981. This game wasn’t like other games of the era because it told a story and there were multiple levels. For two solid years, it was the dominant game and won multiple awards. After Donkey Kong, story games and various levels were common but it was the first.
Blip #1 has the first appearance of Donkey Kong and Mario and Pauline in comic book form. In this goofy little book, you have celebrities of the day, the pop culture trend of 1983 and some of the most famous video game characters 1st appearances. That makes this magazine something that should be in your collection. Plus it is very reasonably priced and should rise in value based on the importance of the characters.
In the years after this release, Mario became the empire that Nintendo built their kingdom from and not Donkey Kong. Amusingly, in the comic book portion of this book, Mario is referred to as “Mario the carpenter” throughout and claims that he doesn’t know Pauline. Please don’t buy it and imagine it to be high art. It’s not a masterpiece but it is something that captures pop culture and has multiple first appearances.
by Ron C.