Gone Retro Hunting

What does one do on a lazy Sunday afternoon? They go hunting for some old school classic gear at the local vintage market in Brunswick East.

After a few goes on the Daytona USA and Tazmi’s TX-1 arcade machines, we got hunting. So, what did we find you may ask? Take a gander below…

Here we go!

One always starts their hunting by playing some Daytona USA

Then one must take it back a notch to playing the three-screen marvel, TX-1

Wish we could take this one home!

Cockpit is a bit worse for wear, but it’s still functional

Once we exhaust our coins, we get hunting. This is a pretty good start!

Now that is one cool framed movie poster!

The singing budgerigar – with a giant poster inside! Whoa! 

Who you gonna call?

We wonder if we’ll see a The Last Jedi cup in the near future…

Master System games under $15! That is unheard of! *smiles*

Lights, camera, action!

The menacing King Kong Bundy!

Not the VHS tape we were looking for…

Skateboard anyone? Tony Hawk would be proud.

Liberace would’ve loved this phone!

A Fisher Price record player! No way!

Forget the Fisher Price record play, this is what you should play your vinyl on!

Those eyes!!!

Game of Nightmare, anyone?

G.I. Joe! Hang on, Sloth from The Goonies! *mind blown*

Duck Monster? Nah, that’s a P!

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Masters Of The Universe Affinity

MOTU_Title_altIt is no secret that I am a huge fan of Mattel’s original Masters Of The Universe (MOTU) toy series. I have been a fan since I first encountered the MOTU action figure line at my local Treasureway store (similar to Target / Kmart) in 1983. I remember being mesmerised by the He-Man figure in a big blister pack emblazoned with the MOTU logo. However, $15.99 was a lot of money in 1983 and it was going to require a big effort to convince mum I needed this toy. I got to work (in convincing my mum) and just a few weeks later I was the proud owner of my very own He-Man, but on the back of the packaging were the other figures in the series and I knew I had to have more – and just like that, I was hooked!

My ingenious (as I thought at the time) plan to expand my MOTU collection involved the argument that I needed an even split between ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ to be able to play out my (imaginary) battle on Eternia (a.k.a. the couch). I continued to collect more original MOTU action figures over the years, and although I never completed the set, I was very grateful for and thoroughly enjoyed playing with the figures I had.

Fast forward three decades, and my original MOTU collection is proudly displayed in the home office. I am so glad I kept the action figures all this time – they provide an important link to my childhood, a time where my imagination took me to wondrous places in the universe, thanks to Masters of The Universe.

The most powerful toy line in the universe!
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Yo DJ, spin that MOTU wheel!
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Cel shenanigans
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In the most powerful club in the universe!
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The MOTU story books (latter ones became comics) were damn awesome!
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Very hot MOTU wheels
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Show-bag full of MOTU weapons of mass fun!
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Man-At-Arms vs Skeletor!
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The most awesomest books in the universe!
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Don’t get bored playing Monopoly. Play to save He-Man!
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Laser blasting with the man with Man-E-Faces
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Evil lurks in many corners. Watch out Hulk!
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Great pants Brutus! Oh wait……
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Trouble setting up Castle Grayskull? Don’t worry, this scary looking He-Man will help!
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Oh, so that’s how the labels are applied!
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The showcasing rig
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Giddy-up Cringer! Oops, I mean Battle Cat!
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Toy Shack: A Vegas Toy Story

When was the last time you walked into a toy store and got absolutely wowed? If you are like us, I bet it was way too long ago to remember.

On our recent trip to the US, we didn’t just get wowed, we got absolutely gobsmacked by Toy Shack, a superb toy store in Las Vegas. Nesteled within the Neonopolis shopping complex in downtown Vegas (Fremont Street Experience), Toy Shack is truly a magical place you must visit and experience when you come to the City of Sin! Toy Shack has it all, from every conceivable collectible toy, to old school video games and even some golden age arcade machines to slip a quarter or two to give you that much needed hit of nostalgia.

Both Ms. ausretrogamer and I were mesmerised in each aisle of the store, with vintage 80s toys, comics, games and other collectibles lining the walls, from floor to ceiling – the photos below will attest to that (to an extent)! We had a difficult time leaving Toy Shack with only a handful of bags of super cool items, but the luggage allowance kept us in check.

If you ever find yourself in Vegas and want to do something other than gamble, then head to the Toy Shack for the ultimate in vintage 80s toys – we highly recommend it!

Store: Toy Shack
Address: Neonopolis, 450 Fremont St #117, Las Vegas, NV 89101, USA
Hours: Mon – Sat 11am to 10pm; Closed on Sunday

If you find yourself in other cities within the US, then you may want to check out these places: Musée Mécanique (San Francisco), the Nintendo World Store and the 8-Bit & Up and Video Games NY stores (New York City)

We found it! I wonder what awaits inside…
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I spy, Masters Of The Universe (MOTU) and Super Mario stuff!
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Woo hoo! I love my MOTU gear – brings back great childhood memories
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Oh man, so many MOTU temptations, especially that clock!
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Aha, I thought I spied Super Mario action figures!
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Oo’er, a nice but scary bust!
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Golden oldies! Now when was the last time you found arcade machines in a toy store?
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So much to look at! Wish I had compound eyes!
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Already worked up a thirst, and we have barely scratched the surface in here!
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G.I. Joe baby!
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Holy smokes – more G.I. Joe goodness (among other cool collectibles)!
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Visual sensory overload! Gotta take in all this Hot Wheels awesomeness!
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Haha, this one is for you, Ms. ausretrogamer!
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I wasn’t aware of all the diverse (and cool) Hot Wheels!
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I’ll take that, thank you very much
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Wish we had a limitless luggage (and financial) allowance!
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Chocolate and Miami Vice Hot Wheels? Really? Wow!
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Where do I even focus here!
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Found the cool action figures area! First thing we see, Mobile Suit Gundam wing!
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What the – Lau as a Virtua Fighter 4 action figure? Want!
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Found Lara!
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One for the Final Fantasy fans!
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Very apt seeing this MGS 2 tactical espionage action figure ;-)
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Now this I did not know existed! The temptation to buy is unbearable!
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First it was Virtua Fighter 4 action figures, now it’s Tekken 4! *mind blown*
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Zelda fans rejoice!
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We do need some new plates…….
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Admit it, you wanna sing “Transformers, robots in disguise”
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Found the old school video games section!
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Oooo, GameCube and Tiger gear!
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Whoa! Tele-Pong and Frogger tabletop! I wonder what is behind these….
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Ah, there you are! Great to see a C64 and a Genesis among the stack of retrogaming gear
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Man, this place is too much! I love Toy Shack!
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If I guess what’s inside the box, can I keep it?
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King of the stuntmen indeed
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One for the KISS fans – yep, I am looking at you Mr. Matt Cawley
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Now this is a WrestleFest!
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Which item captures your eye? Could it be the Transformers or those Star Trek figures?
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I knew I was gonna find Star Wars somewhere in here……
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Old school Star Wars nirvana!
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OMG, Heat Packin’ Jack!
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Get in my belly!
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I’ll take one of each, thank you (I wish!)
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The original road warrior!
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I look up and BAM, more MOTU goodness!
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I do need a new alarm clock. This should help me get up on those cold mornings
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Resistance (to buying temptation) is futile!
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Must. Have. That. MOTU vinyl record!
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Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing Mr. Ram Man himself
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I need to unsee this, otherwise my bank manager will be calling me!
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Spawning more goodness
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Diecast to die for!
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I’ll take one of, 154, 459 and 192 pieces, thanks
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I kneel to the defender of the universe!
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Fight of the Century?
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Poke-a-board!
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Yep, there are comics here too!
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I guess E.T. didn’t phone home…….
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The perfect action figure mix, Itchy and Sly
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Your move, creep!
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Be back to Toy Shack, we will!
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Mixed bag! Hang on, that’s an Ecto-1!
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These guys have ball-Z of dragons!
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We see a heartening sight upon our exit – a young lad getting into some old school arcade action. Retrogaming is alive and well!
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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection

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As a kid growing up in the early ’80s, I spent my time playing with action figures, in particular, Mattel’s awesome Masters Of The Universe range. The MOTU figures came with pack-in minicomics (mini-story books), which I loved reading as soon as I busted them out of the packet. I loved “The King Of Castle Grayskull” mini-story book that came with my original He-Man!

Fast forward thirty plus years, and guess what, I still get giddy with excitement when I see any reference to the classic Masters Of The Universe series. To my delight, there is going to be a hardcover MOTU collection book which will feature sixty-eight U.S. story releases, including all mini books/comics from the ’80s Masters of the Universe line, the ’80s Princess of Power line, and the ’80s and ’90s He-Man line, plus an introduction to the minicomics in the current Masters of the Universe classics toy line!

With over 1000 pages of minicomics and interviews with the original comics creators, do yourself a favour, pre-order the “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection” book now! It will definitely take you back so you can relive the illustrated adventures that fueled your imagination!

 

Bazaar Retro Gaming and Toy Hunt

The natural ‘high’ that the thrill of the chase provides can never be underestimated.

There is always excitement and giddy anticipation when hunting at a new locale. With Ms. ausretrogamer in tow, we hit the antiques and collectables bazaar. From vintage toys, kitsch furniture, obscure video games to the oh-my-gosh collectables, we weren’t disappointed.

After a few hours of meticulous hunting, we both walked out with big smiles and a bit lighter in the hip pocket. Nothing satisfies like a fruitful hunt.

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images copyright: ausretrogamer

 

 

Drooling at Lobos Collectables

There are times when words don’t need to be said. This is that exact time! Before you do start scrolling through the below photos, we would urge you to visit Lobos Collectables (503 High Street, Northcote) to browse their awesome wares and buy up as many goodies as your wallet will allow. Now, put your bib on and start drooling.

You have been warned!
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Plenty to look at here. I’ll be back.
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Comic book action superheroes!
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Oh yes, Star Wars!
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Oh wow, more Star Wars stuff!
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I was made for loving you baby!
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I’ma Wario, I’ma gonna win!
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Drool factor 1000, I spot Tron!
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Sleep well Han
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The lovely Tron!
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Oh how I’ve missed this control panel
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Brilliant Tron side-art
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Original MOTU is best!
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I wonder if Skeletor is home?
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Man-At-Arms vs Jitsu
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Classic MOTU action
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I wonder who is flying the Millennium Falcon
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We found the Turtles!
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Some rare MOTU beauties!
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If you have made it this far and want to drool some more, you can read about our garage sale loot at Lobos Collectables – you won’t be disappointed.

 

Andrew Owen: Custom Toy and Games Creator

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While the American’s may have Dan Polydoris (Chicago Toy Collector), we have Andrew Owen – Australia’s creative genius! If you don’t believe us, just take a look at Andrew’s custom made creations – amazing stuff! And just think, these are the tip of the iceberg!

We met Andrew at last year’s Computer Games Boot Camp (CGBC) event and got talking about vintage toys and of course, retro gaming. During our discussion about all things nostalgia, Andrew showed us a few of his creative works – to say we were gobsmacked would be a massive understatement. We knew then that we had to bail up Andrew for an interview.

AUSRETROGAMER [ARG]: Andrew, thank you for making time for this interview. Let’s start – were you creative/artistic from a young age?
Andrew Owen [AO]: Yes, I have always been creative. I would always be making my own play sets to compliment my toys. I made a multi level Death Star out of fridge packaging. It was massive and had LED lights and other electronics. Also train and slot car sets with a mini town (full of lights). I was always expanding my toy experience. This continued into Super 8 movies with models, mini sets and masks. Paintings, drawings and animations included. It was an amazing time for a very young kid. Star Wars in the theatres, Battlestar Galactica on TV and Space Invaders machines at the local shops. I didn’t have a computer to make my own games but that didn’t stop me. Around that period Pop Up books were popular! So I made my own arcade games in Pop Up format. All with pull tabs and levers. All hand drawn and painted. The other kids would play them and I learnt a lot about game play. The Pop Up version of Defender was very popular.

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ARG: How did you get into creating custom made items?
AO: When I was kid, I was always looking at how something could look better (to me anyway). Also replacing broken or missing items. Necessity at first and later people would ask me if I could recreate something or add a creative element.

ARG: Where do you get your ideas/inspirations from?
AO: I often wonder what one product would look like in another packaging format. I just go and build it. I do a lot of research first, especially if it will be a replica.

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ARG: How long does a ‘typical’ creation take? Do you have a process?
AO: Sometimes I get an idea and 45 minutes later it’s finished. But other projects can take a few days. This time will mostly be made up of research. I like to try and recreate something to the smallest detail. For example, small logos need to be recreated from scratch. Photos online are very low resolution and not print quality. Plus recreating graphics and logos guarantees a clear print. Also I put an imperfection in everything I do, that way people know it’s a custom or replica. Nothing beats an original!

ARG: Do you have a favourite item you have made?
AO: That’s a tough one! The large six million dollar man and C3PO packaging – I was very happy with how they turned out. The Empire Strikes Back Atari reproduction box. The retro history of Epyx cards and box is a stand out, more so than the retro game Lego packages [ARG: We love your Lego creations a lot!]. The card series is still being produced and will be over a 100 cards. It’s like going back in time while you are researching and creating. I would have loved to have seen this in a shop as a kid!

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ARG: What creation are you working on right now?
AO: Working on many projects and some will be on going. Multiple retro movie and game card sets. More reproduction stickers, packaging and badges. Also a large series of toys – all based on retro titles. The house is starting to turn into an alternative retro universe. Also food packaging and t-shirts.

ARG: You are also the creative mind behind the Computer Games Boot Camp (CGBC) – could you tell us more about this event?
AO: CGBC started 6 years ago and the event is a 7 day interactive experience for high school students. We cover everything connected to ICT , games and multimedia. It’s part interactive experience, trade show, tournament, careers with hands on workshops, presentations with a pop culture experience. It gives high school kids a real world experience and adds community and social aspects. People travel from all over the world to attend. We have a lot of retro gear at the event too. The event is streamed live and later added to YouTube. It’s proving to be a very popular event.

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ARG: Now we will be asking the hard hitting gaming questions. What was your first video gaming system?
AO: Hanimex VC4000 console. German brand Interton Electronic. Played it for hours!

ARG: What is your all-time favourite video game?
AO: Galaga! That’s a tough question. Raid over Moscow , Impossible Mission, Space Invaders. I could be here all day.

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ARG: And finally; Atari, Sinclair, Colecovision, Intellivision, Amstrad, Commodore, Nintendo or Sega – which would be your pick and why?
AO: Amstrad! Made my first games on the 128K. Some of the other systems may have had superior graphics (some) but it was a great system. Mini Disks (built in drive). It was well supported with multiple magazines. One magazine had the “Sugarman” cartoon strip! Practical for school assignments and for home movie credit sequences. It had it all! Lord Sugar was a pioneer and had a major influence on home computing!

Well, all good things come to end. As we wipe away our drool in awe of the Lego Galaga (amongst other jaw dropping items), we leave the talented genius to his latest creations. A big thank you to Andrew for participating in this interview. If you don’t already do so, you can follow Andrew on Twitter.

If you haven’t had enough of Andrew’s creations, here are a few more random picks to whet your appetite. Enjoy!

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image source: Andrew Owen