Saturday, March 27, 2010

Manholes of Venus

Talking about adverts in old Marvel comics in my last blog reminded me of their early 80s adverts for Atari games and consoles. I specifically remember one advert where some kid had a really uncool game system, and everyone mocked him for it.

A little internet investigation locates the advert in question -

Isn't this a tragic tale? Particularly poignant is the cruel way the girl with the blond pony tale rejects Maxy. No doubt Maxy organised the whole games night merely as an excuse to invite her over. But when she finds out he only has inferior games, she storms out, crushing him with the cutting phrase 'Later baby.'

Young Maxy would undoubtedly be devastated. Later in life he'd need therapy for his romantic failures. Even then he'd never really be comfortable around girls.

The blond haired girl does appear again in the last panel. But by then it's obvious she only likes Maxy for his games. You can tell from her body language that's she's not really interested in him. Probably by this time she's secretly dating the lead guitarist in the local speed-metal band.

What really sticks in my mind about this advert is not just the way Maxy is spurned by the woman he loves, it's that the game he's mocked for owning is called 'Manholes of Venus.' At the time, nothing struck me as odd about that name. But now I think about it, it's a very strange title for a kids game. Manholes of Venus? Did whoever wrote the advert realise the various interpretations you could put on that phrase? It sounds like something written by Petronius for the Emperor Nero, detailing events at their latest orgy. I really want to play Manholes of Venus.

At the time, at the start of the 80s, an Atari games console would have seemed to me like an unobtainable luxury item. I never knew anyone who owned one. But I recently bought myself a PS3. Ha. Take that, writing career.


  1. Anonymous4:03 pm

    Of course she rejected poor Maxy, the blond girl obviously has some sort of Oedipus complex going on. Look at her in the last panel, the only thing on her mind is playing Pac-Man with her dad. Maxy never stood a chance.

  2. Anonymous8:52 pm

    Dig Dug

  3. Anonymous2:19 am

    Wow. This is so wrong. Even the dog is happy to see Maxy now that he's on his way to purchase the "right" games. Ugh! I wonder how many kids noticed the evil behind this at the time. I wonder how many cared if they did notice.

  4. Anonymous5:19 pm

    You got a PS3! Awesome!

  5. That name gave me the same idea. Totally an adult game.