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June 11, 2024 38 mins

Cast your memories back to the strange days of the 1980s and 1990s -- boy howdy, things were weird. At some point, marketing executives the world round realized that video games could be a new, powerful field of advertising. In the first part of this special two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max dive into the ridiculous evolution of video game tie-ins, from soda pop mascots to the notorious Noid of Domino's pizza (along with the tragic story behind the fall of the Noid).

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Ridiculous History is a production of iHeartRadio. Welcome back to

(00:27):
the show Ridiculous Historians. Thank you, as always so much
for tuning in. Let's hear it for the man the myth,
our very own dally Bop sound super producer mister Max Williams.

Speaker 2 (00:38):
Dealing about sounds amazing like up be up, oh right, right, right,
right right? How does one become a myth?

Speaker 3 (00:46):
You know?

Speaker 2 (00:47):
Is the myth is a myth the same as a legend?
What is thenoid considered a myth or a legend or
an urban legend?

Speaker 1 (00:54):
The nooid is, I think at this point, considered a mascot.
It would need a couple of centuries for there to
be a legend of the noid for me. But we
can see it for me now. I've been bulling you're
an old round to that, and I.

Speaker 4 (01:08):
Got a side note kick us off with because it
seems very fitting for today's episode. You guys know my
sound qure that's at the beginning of the episode. Yes,
it's a ship of thesis. It is something I'm adding
more onto and changing throughout time. But the original of it,
I don't know if you fill you guys this it's
a game boy sp advance, turning on one going forwards,
one backwards.

Speaker 3 (01:29):
That's what it day.

Speaker 1 (01:30):
The secrets have been revealed. The secrets have been revealed.
We've we've saved all the posts that will get on
Ridiculous Historians. But folks, if you are on our Facebook group,
we hope you enjoyed this one. There have been some
comments in the past because I I'll monitor the Ridiculous
Historians page about our love of video games. So a

(01:52):
while back we decided we're going to lean into it
and do at least one video game episode.

Speaker 3 (01:59):
We'll probably do.

Speaker 1 (02:00):
I think there's a history of Bethesda on the way.
But we had a cool conversation briefly before we started
rolling today about just the sheer concentrated nostalgia of video
games and back in the day some listeners of a
certain age may remember. Add folks and marketing people throughout

(02:24):
all these different industries, from your favorite fast food to
film and just you name it, right, they said, let's
expand our promotional opportunities. Let's not just sell toys with
a happy meal, Let's not just sell t shirts or
thermoses with the movie stars on them. Let's see if
we can put them in a video game.

Speaker 2 (02:46):
Well it's funny too because now those product tie ins
appear more in the form of skins and things that
are like added or layered on top of an existing
video game. Of course, I'm looking at you, Fortnite. You
know where you've got you can get your Peter Griffin,
you know, playable character.

Speaker 1 (03:04):
Like Mortal Kombat, they add a lot of creatures from
comic books or even characters from The Walking Dead, Like, yeah,
I don't.

Speaker 2 (03:15):
I don't know teching as much, but I definitely have
played some of the more recent iterations in Mortal Kombat
that add like you can play as Rocky not Rocky Rambo,
you can play as Jason Vorhees, and you know, the
Zeno more for whatever. And I think the reason for
that is that to designing games is hard, okay, designing

(03:35):
games that are enjoyable to play, not so difficult that
they're like oppressive and like you know, rage quitty, and
also that will create some buzz and create a community
around it.

Speaker 3 (03:45):
So to kind of.

Speaker 2 (03:46):
Squander all of that on exclusively a product tie in
today feels like a fool's errand, or it feels like
something that time has proven to be a bad fit
for today. We're talking about the time where this is
exactly what was done.

Speaker 1 (04:09):
Yeah, yes, this was This was a brilliant idea because look,
if you've ever worked in advertising, you know one of
the most important demographics well is children. You know, like
like old Dirty said, WU tangs for the kids, and
a lot of people a long time ago realized that
if you can convince the children of a family that

(04:30):
a thing is cool, then you've done a lot of
work toward getting the parents to buy your product. And
that's why we end up with stuff that, you know,
it's weird walking through memory palaces here, I recall quite
a few of these in detail. Some of them were
games that I played for products that I didn't even

(04:52):
care about. Like I'm not a seven up guy. I'm
not necessarily a spread guy. If that's your deal, go
with God. But I do remember remember the seven up game?

Speaker 3 (05:02):
That's right?

Speaker 2 (05:03):
I mean, I think the thing that is evident in
the article by Andy Kelly uh not art coworker. No,
that's trying a different one. A gamer writer who does
quite a good job. It's evident in the title of
his article cool Spot tricked me into playing a seven
up commercial I think that was the idea. It was
to kind of spread brand awareness without maybe letting you

(05:23):
know that's what was happening, which is a sort of
a one of the weird, subliminal, kind of emotionally manipulative
parts of marketing.

Speaker 3 (05:31):
So let's definitely John. That was one that I remember too.

Speaker 2 (05:33):
Back when you used to be able to rent games
from Blockbuster Video. You could even rent the consoles. If
you couldn't afford to have all of the systems, you
could rent you know, sns for a weekend.

Speaker 3 (05:45):
I made the choice to be a Sega kid.

Speaker 2 (05:49):
I never really I had a regular Nintendo, but then
from that point on I was Sega all the way
until adulthood when I got into like, you know, the
newer Nintendo generation stuff, the you know, the Wiz and
all of that. Now I'm a huge Switch fan, but
the seven up mascot ben just pretty brilliant stroke of
marketing on its own and design.

Speaker 3 (06:07):
It's a red dot HM.

Speaker 2 (06:09):
Doesn't get much more elegant, I guess and or dirt
simple than that.

Speaker 1 (06:15):
Right, and the kiss rule applies to all things, so
keep it simple. Stupid is that acronym. And one thing
that Andy if you're right if you're hearing this. One
thing Andy wrote that I really appreciated was these lovely
descriptions of his childhood. Playing this, he says, quote, I'm

(06:36):
playing with quote a fun around little guy who loves
bouncing on balloons, killing crabs, and doing front flips. I
was innocent, then a fool. Years later I learned the
truth that this swaggering shades where he asks beat me
or not, is in fact an anthropomorphization of the red
dot from the seven Up logo. I was playing a
commercial for a soft drink. I didn't even know it,

(06:58):
and I felt the same way mister Kelly, because also
this is in the miliu of really weird nineties games.
Like you might think, dang, this advertisement disguised as a
game would stick out to me if I were a
kid playing now. But we also have to remember this
is the era of really out there concepts Earthworm Gym,

(07:20):
you know what I mean. This seven Up spot fits
right in to that milu.

Speaker 2 (07:26):
And if I remember correctly, I don't know, guys, correct
me or or if your memory differs, but I think
it sort of drives with what Andy's saying. This was
in and of itself a pretty fun, cool game. Sure
it was enjoyable to play. I definitely remember the stage
that he's describing, the beach stage. But I also remember,
like this was back when games weren't as large, it

(07:47):
didn't take as long to beat. If you could beat
it in like a couple of days or whatever, the
span of a rental, let's say, from Blockbuster, and I
seem to recall getting decently far in this game. I
don't remember much beyond the beach themed stuff, but uh,
it was a pretty neat game, and the fact that
Andy didn't realize it was a product tie until years

(08:07):
later sort of speaks to that.

Speaker 1 (08:09):
Yeah, and a little bit of history, uh, you can
put it in here, but a little bit of history
about the mascot that I thought we'd all appreciate. Uh,
Fido Dido is his name? Fido Dido is what the
name of the seven up mascots? You're joking, No idea,
that's that's there's two of them. There's that's the UK one. Yes, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

(08:31):
But here's the here's what I think is the most
fun part. So cool Spot sorry is the name of
the dot? You're right, Max, cool Spot is the name
of the red dot Fido. Dido is the UK version,
and there's there's a mantra for these mascots, for Fido
in particular that stands out to me. It is this,

(08:51):
this is official, Fido is for Fido, Fido is against
no one. Fido is youth, Fido has no age, Fido
sees everything, Fido judges nothing. Fido is innocent, Fighto is powerful.
Fighto comes from the past, Fido is the future.

Speaker 3 (09:05):
Jesus very culty sounding. I don't r a sinister intense
for a.

Speaker 2 (09:11):
We'll also recall from recent episodes on Presidential Pets, was
Lincoln's pooch right, Fido?

Speaker 3 (09:20):
Yes?

Speaker 2 (09:20):
And then and then you know, I guess through the
magic of looney tunes and other pop cultural references to
that kind of became just a generic stand in for dog.

Speaker 3 (09:28):
You know, hey, Fido, you know, get over here. That's wild, dude.

Speaker 2 (09:33):
Whatever you just read, Ben, I would I would call
that more of an incantation than a mantra. Right, I
felt like demons were about to come, you know, crawling
up out of the out of the floor.

Speaker 1 (09:42):
Let's be militaristic fido fascists. But it's going back to
how they came up with cool spot. Just some brief
history here courtesy of our research associate mister Max Williams.
In the nineteen nineties. Seven up was in the early nineties,
it was called something equally culty, the uncola, you know,

(10:03):
like it's somehow better because I guess it's clear.

Speaker 2 (10:08):
Well it's yeah, right, I mean, and then of course
crystal PEPSI yeah, we're saying I'm a big flop. But
and now, honestly, it was probably a response to this side.
Oh gosh, we got to compete with these clear beverages.
They're they're they're othering us. They're making people think that
cola is inherently dark and sinister in some way. Right,
they both, by the way, equal amounts of sugar and

(10:29):
and gook nothing better about any of them. But yeah,
the uncola, that is a marketing stroke of genius, like
the other white meat.

Speaker 1 (10:38):
You know, it's it's a it's a strange one because
it's also there's always this question, do we want something
that sounds in any way negative attached to a brand?
But I do think I think it maybe they found
it a little bit cerebral. Uh so they they started
leaning further into cool Spot, the mascot of the young Kola,

(11:02):
and he was He was one of those agi attitude
guys like Chester the Cheetah. You know what I mean,
he's breaking the rules. He had sunglasses off, I got sunglasses.

Speaker 3 (11:11):
Yeah. Yeah, he was cool. He knew what was up,
he knew the score, and.

Speaker 1 (11:15):
He launched like Helen of Troy launched a thousand ships.
He spawned, cool Spot spawned and Empire merchandise. He survived
until nineteen ninety seven, and these video games were talking
about were just one of the things he did. And
if you ever played video games at that time, this
was one of the most popular advertising tie ins because

(11:37):
it like Sonic the Hedgehog, it was just fun to
play as a game. You didn't have to know anything
about Seven Up and we I jumped the lead a
little bit, talked about Fido Dido just because of that
creepy that creepy Matra. But Kelly also pointed out who
was a UK guy Yah came up in the Yeah.

(12:00):
He points out the game is very different in Europe.
In the game he was playing in the UK, there
are no references to seven Up or Soda in that version,
but it's still an advertisement because in Europe he considers
it an advertisement for the publisher of the game, the
company Virgin and Virgin Man. Virgin is such a huge

(12:24):
deal in the UK. I don't think I told you guys,
I flew Virgin for the first time.

Speaker 3 (12:30):
Nice assumed to be nice. You know, it was nice.
It was nice.

Speaker 1 (12:34):
It had this weirdly Austin Powers quirky man of mystery
vibe and a lot of the stuff.

Speaker 2 (12:41):
Richard is kind of the og Austin Powers in his
own way.

Speaker 1 (12:46):
That's where I'm going. Man, He's like, it's it's strange,
and people seem to like him in the United Kingdom,
so it makes sense that he would. This guy's company
does all these other things, including space travel, it makes
sense that he would do advertising, game tie.

Speaker 3 (13:02):
Ins, diversification.

Speaker 2 (13:04):
I mean, let's not forget you know, I'm not to
make it about nerdy music stuff. But Virgin Records was
a very important label. That's what Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream
came out on their label, which was actually printed on
the CD for Siamese Dream, which for the longest time
I thought was a Smashing Pumpkins image. Is these really crazy,

(13:24):
kind of very medieval looking, almost woodcut prints of these
Siamese twins facing left and right on sitting on this
coiled up dragon. And because the record was called Siamese Dream,
I assumed that was just you know, a smashing pumpkins thing.
That turns out that is an official branding image of Virgin.

Speaker 3 (13:41):
Records, so look it up. It's pretty interesting. You didn't
know that.

Speaker 2 (13:44):
Yeah, interesting, And we also you know Mike Oldfield who
did Tubular Belts that was on Virgin Records and was
a massive hit, I believe before The Exorcist, so really interesting.
Richard Branson was a pretty smart guy in terms of
like picking winners.

Speaker 1 (14:00):
He got started with music and promotions, so it's no
surprise they returned to it. And that's kind of the
that's one of the questions that our pal Kelly has
when he's talking about cool Spot. We know that in
nineteen ninety five, cool Spot appeared in another video game.
A lot of these advertising tie in games don't get
a sequel. You have to actually be a fun game.

(14:22):
And the second one, Spot goes to Hollywood levels. The
levels are based on different genres of movie and then
later they release a couple of or later they released
an enhanced version for Saturn and for PlayStation.

Speaker 3 (14:38):
pH the Sega Saturn. That was a flash in the pan.

Speaker 1 (14:42):
But Andy is certain that, as you know, nostalgia is cyclical, right.
Andy is certain that as nostalgia for the nineties rises,
we shouldn't be surprised if seven up. Well, Andy phrased
it in a way that's little controversially, he says, don't
be surprised if seven up wheels cool spots decay and
corpse out at some point. I'd be happy to see it.

(15:04):
It'd be funny too if he was undead.

Speaker 3 (15:06):
Just for kicks.

Speaker 2 (15:07):
First of all, spots don't rot, y'all. They are immortal,
They are eternal. And I completely agree with the nineties
nostalgia craze because I would argue that if you're you know,
like in thrifting and like, you know, people that like
go to vintage markets and stuff certain types of clothing, uh,
they start to see a spike in price at certain
points when they become trendy, like apparently when the next day, Guys,

(15:29):
you don't quote me on this, but I read this somewhere.
The next big trend that's coming back is surf brands
from the nineties.

Speaker 3 (15:37):
Things like like stussy, Uh.

Speaker 2 (15:40):
And they're maybe not maybe that's not one, but like
things like Ron John even or like kind of what
would have been considered a little dorky at the time.
Those are coming back in a big way. And Uh,
I just was at a vengeance shop in New York
where I was in search of one of those dare
to Keep Kids Off Drug shirts and they had a
whole section of them and they were you know, you know,

(16:00):
forty fifty bucks but seven up. I would argue the
branding cool design, and I bet you they are gonna
start seeing a bumping price if they haven't already seen him.

Speaker 1 (16:10):
Yeah, let's get him. Let's get him out there. And
while we're there, let's get weird with it. Let's introduce
our second. We could call it a protagonist of this exploration,
which is Thenoid. Even in a time of let's be honest,

(16:33):
cocaine fueled brainstorming where someone should have said no and
everybody just kept saying yes, and even in that strange soil,
Thenoid remains a weird dude. He's a guy, but he's
dressed like in a skin tight superhero rabbit eared body suit.

(16:54):
He's got an in with white circle on his chest.

Speaker 3 (16:57):
Now he looks unwell, and he.

Speaker 1 (16:59):
Does and he and he absolutely wants to ruin the
lives of pizza drivers. So it's interesting because you know, uh,
I always love the philosophical complexity of an antagonistic mascot,
you know what I mean. Silly rabbit tricks are for kids.
He represents tricks, but he can't have any. Your whole

(17:21):
job as a kid is to stop the mascot of
the company from getting the thing.

Speaker 3 (17:27):
And that's kind of.

Speaker 1 (17:27):
What the noid is, you said, Hamburgler, Right, I did
not I said, I said, I Oh, I just forgot
I said tricks, the Trabba tricks Trabba the lucky Charms.
Leprechaun is a little different because they're his lucky charms,
but still somewhat antagonistic.

Speaker 3 (17:45):
Very antagonistic.

Speaker 2 (17:46):
He's it was a golden time for that the sugar
bear for a Golden Crisp. I always seemed like he
was just really high. Uh, you know, he.

Speaker 3 (17:55):
Can't get enough of that golden grewopopop doo.

Speaker 2 (17:59):
Was deal was he trying to wasn't he trying to
like get the kids high on golden cris He felt
like a little pushery.

Speaker 3 (18:06):
Frankly, I don't remember, you know, I don't remember. Tu
can Sam?

Speaker 2 (18:10):
You can't Sam guided you to the fruit loops, right,
you'd follow his nose.

Speaker 3 (18:15):
He'd take you to where the fruit loops were. The noid.

Speaker 2 (18:18):
However, you're right. He was a pizza terrorist. And all
the descriptions you made been were perfectly correct. Not to
be inconsidered here anyway, but it looked like he escaped
from the looney ban.

Speaker 1 (18:30):
Yeah, and he this again, this was the eighties, and
I problematic to we'll go too far into some of
the controversies about eighties executives and marketing.

Speaker 3 (18:41):
But the NOI was.

Speaker 1 (18:45):
A world famous phenomenon, or definitely us famous phenomenon for
the better part of a decade from eighty nineteen eighty
six to nineteen ninety five. And there was a lot
it was claymation right often, and I love a good
claymation thing. And he he didn't have that look. Yeah,

(19:06):
and he also appeared in Michael Jackson's film Moonwalker.

Speaker 2 (19:11):
He's star Walker, by the way, also had a video
game that was all very good.

Speaker 3 (19:15):
But carry on, and.

Speaker 1 (19:19):
This takes us to an article by John Brownlee for
Fast Company, who says, even compared to the worst corporate mascots,
the Nooid was an utter grotesque y and you thought
we were being mean to Thenoyd folks check out with
John wrote, quote, a gibbering, pot bellied bucktooth pervert squeezed
into a skin tight rabbit suit. He was a Hamburglar

(19:40):
like character wholly devoted to delaying pizza deliveries, and only
Domino's Pizza. The World Building argued, only Domino's Pizza could
deliver pizzas that Werenoyd proof, So you have to if
you order from anybody else, you risk in currying the
wrath of the Nooid. You have to go to Dominoes
and get your pizza in a half hour or less.

Speaker 2 (20:02):
Yeah, it almost like hits him as like the big
bad super villain, where Dominoes the humble Domino's pizza delivery
man is like your friendly neighborhood spider man, you know.

Speaker 1 (20:12):
Yeah, exactly. And this this idea, I think is quite
brilliant to look. If you've ever delivered pizza, you know
it's a really rough gig. People can be mean to you,
they can be drunk, they will tip in or not
tip and complain, so painting them as these sort of
heroic first responders of hot za because they used to

(20:32):
say za.

Speaker 3 (20:32):
In the eighties. Let's bring it back then.

Speaker 1 (20:36):
All right, I'll follow your lead on that. We know,
we got to talk about the video game because this okay,
So this guy became like a cultural icon of sorts, right,
a piece of pop culture beyond just pizza, beyond just
He was more than a pizza slice. He was a
pizza slice of pop culture whatever we're keeping it. The
first game they came out about him was called Avoid

(20:59):
the Noid nineteen eighty nine.

Speaker 2 (21:00):
Did you ever play that one? Absolutely? I don't you're
telling me there was a sequel to this one as well. Yes,
it was called Yo Nooid. I think I might have
been a Yooid era. I mean, it isn't it funny
how when you're that age, what a difference a year makes,
because eighty nine, I mean it would have been still
you know what year apart?

Speaker 3 (21:22):
I just don't know. I Avoid Thenoid really rings a bell.

Speaker 2 (21:25):
But that was also just their tax slogan in general,
their slogan. I remember, thenoids would like travel around on
these handheld little helicopter things or maybe umbrellas or something. Yeah,
they would, they would, they would float down. There were gadgets.
He really did give him a lot more smart kind
of like like he was some sort of diabolical super

(21:45):
villain who had really planned out this pizza grift, you know,
to the nth degree.

Speaker 3 (21:50):
Right.

Speaker 1 (21:50):
Yeah, and weird thing that they did that first game,
Avoid Thenoid. I remember because my family had relocated, so
you had to fight multiple noids. It was a multi
vers of noise. And yes, some of them had missiles
that would aim for your pizza, some through water balloons.
And when Yo Noid or I feel like we have

(22:14):
to say it Yo Noid when it came out in
nineteen ninety uh, they were collaborating with Capcom, one of
the most reputable video game publishers in the world at
that point.

Speaker 2 (22:25):
Bro, I have to say something. I just looked up
gameplay footage of Avoid the Nooid. This game looks like trash.
It's nineteen eighty nine, and in my well, I think
I mentioned this maybe off air, but in this era,
like obviously everyone's familiar with the Maybe not obviously, but
a lot of listeners I think are probably familiar with
the Atari debacle.

Speaker 3 (22:44):
Surrounding the et video games.

Speaker 2 (22:47):
Yeah, that was that was right, the Burial of the
Burial of the landa landfill because the game was so terrible,
so unplayably bad, that they they just had they were left.

Speaker 1 (22:57):
You know, the game.

Speaker 2 (22:58):
The movie was a smash, so of course they're gonna
be able to sell a million units of this thing. No,
it turns out you got to make a game. It's playable.
It was unrecognizable. You couldn't tell what was anything in
the game, you know, which was supposed to bet, which
was supposed to be Elliott whatever. Super an era, very glitchy, exactly.
This is an era where you you're the cover art

(23:21):
of your game was Money in the Bank, just like
a lot of horror movies of the eighties. You know,
if you had a box that on the shelf, that
blockbuster could capture the imagination of a child or like
you know, a movie fan, that would be Money in
the Bank.

Speaker 3 (23:38):
And I swear to god, dude, it had to.

Speaker 2 (23:40):
Have been the next one that I played, because looking
at those nineteen eighty nine gameplay footage, what I'm imagining
in my head it looks like claymation. It looks like
a real animated cartoon. And I know that nostalgia is
a hell of a drug. And when you think back
on things that you remember from being an age and
then look at them as an adult, they hit different.

Speaker 3 (24:00):
I know this, but this I swear I didn't play
this one. I'm gonna look at the other one. I remember.

Speaker 1 (24:05):
There was also that era as consoles became more complex,
where you would play games that looked as though they
were entirely playmation, and I was a sucker for those.

Speaker 3 (24:17):
Yeah, that's what.

Speaker 1 (24:18):
I'm thinking of A good call. Also, I'm wondering this
is a question for you guys and all of us
ridiculous historians playing along at home. Is the annoyed supposed
to be a humorous misspelling or like an accent of
someone say nerd like younnoyed?

Speaker 3 (24:34):
I think it's I'm annoyed at you?

Speaker 4 (24:37):
Any to annoy? And just to backtrack, I got three
quick things, Uh, I know three, it's a lot one. No,
I were talking about this. I think you were on
this as well. A couple of years ago, for Christmas,
my brother got me a good old fashioned retro cartridge
of the ET game, so he did not I don't
know if he dug it out out of a out

(24:58):
of the landfill of New Mexico or not. But I
have one.

Speaker 3 (25:01):
Two.

Speaker 4 (25:02):
This is my one celebrity flex Henry Thomas, who played Elliott,
a dear old friend of mine. He was filming something
in Atlanta a couple of years back, and he frequented
the bar restaurant I worked at. I got to know
him quite well. Nicest human being in the.

Speaker 3 (25:17):
Entire world, legitimately, so sweet.

Speaker 4 (25:20):
And then three to Knowle's point about this thing looking
like crap, and I was researching this stuff. I made
sure to go and find like gameplay footage of all
of them. The seven Up game looks great, animation, smooth,
it looks like it was really fun to play. There's
another one later on that you guys already know. I'm

(25:41):
gonna well, it was based off of a really successful game.
It was. It's still great. I found out I could
play this one, this one's this one's a.

Speaker 3 (25:49):
Piece of shit. Let me just add them mask.

Speaker 2 (25:51):
I was questioning myself because I looked up, you know,
a year apart, and what a difference a year made,
especially in terms of the development of technology.

Speaker 5 (25:59):
Uh.

Speaker 2 (26:00):
Yoonoid was from ninety was definitely the one that I played,
because if you look up game play footage of that,
it is a much more traditional Super Mario Brothers esque
side scrolling platformer, whereas the one from eighty nine Avoid
the Nooid is like a early PC mishmash piece of garbage.

(26:22):
So you know, and the one that I'm talking about,
the Noid could skateboard, he could throw baseballs at you,
there were different weapons and stuff.

Speaker 3 (26:29):
That's the one I played.

Speaker 1 (26:30):
And you may be asking yourself, a fellow fellow ridiculous
historians withther the Nooid, what happened? Where did he go? Well,
there is a tragic story that takes place here in
our home state of Georgia that explains this. We also
find this in the Fast Company article by John Brownlee

(26:51):
on January thirtieth, nineteen eighty nine. Meaning the Yo Deid
was already in production since it publishes, And.

Speaker 2 (27:00):
You're right, though, definitely nerd I think is part of
the double entendre there.

Speaker 3 (27:04):
It's like saying Yo annoyed, you know. I think it's
been a combination of those things.

Speaker 1 (27:10):
January thirtieth, nineteen eighty nine. There is a guy living
in our fair state of Georgia in Chamblee, which is
a little bit north of Atlanta. He's twenty two years old.
His name is Kenneth Lamarnoyd spelled the same name, and
this is a track in his life. Yeah, and it

(27:31):
ruined some other people's lives, or at least their days.
He had a thirty five seven Magnum revolver. He went
to a Domino's PiZZ in Chambley, took two employees hostage.
There was a five hour standoff, and during this standoff
he demanded one hundred thousand dollars in ransom money. The
employees in question luckily were able to escape, but because

(27:55):
of just the inherent viral strength of the headline things
like Domino's hostages couldn't avoid the Nooid this time. They
decided that they were going to have to walk this
character back and Lamar, Kenneth Lamar annoyed had paranoid schizophrenia
with delusions of grandeur and persecution. So he believed that

(28:19):
he was either the inspiration for the Nooid and they
stole his life, or that he had become thenoid.

Speaker 2 (28:27):
Yeah, it's just it's definitely a tragic story and a
problematic mascot.

Speaker 3 (28:33):
Again because this is a character that is meant to.

Speaker 5 (28:36):
Be uh, a deranged lunatic psychopath, you know, like the
Joker or something, but only when it comes to pizza
related things, so only specifically.

Speaker 3 (28:46):
Well, I guess to your point, but maybe he did.

Speaker 2 (28:49):
He did target other pizza rheas, but Dominoes were the
only intrepid pizza delivery folks that could outsmart the Nooid.

Speaker 1 (28:57):
Domino his white whale exactly.

Speaker 2 (29:01):
But sadly, Kenneth Lamar Noyd did take his own life
in nineteen ninety five, though no one was harmed or
killed injured in that standoff, thankfully, but enough to cause
Dominos to rethink that ad campaign.

Speaker 1 (29:18):
And the Nooid. Still, through perhaps the power of nostalgia
and as social ubiquity, the Noid continued as a specific
pop culture reference point. A couple fans got together made
a video game in twenty seventeen called Yo the Nooid

(29:41):
to into Thenoid into the Void. Excuse menyd fans Noid
a renos. I have not played that game. I like
this fan created one right that. Yeah, I'd like to.
I'd like to give it a shot. And you know,
I think we decided off air we were going to
make this a two parter, but we can't. I've got

(30:03):
one thing to add for I don't know where we
put this, but so we can save more of the
advertising tie ins. Did you know there are real life
like there's the reverse of this, their real life in
the real world video game tie ins like.

Speaker 3 (30:20):
You can follow.

Speaker 1 (30:24):
Yeah, okay, So to get the answer, we have to
travel to one of the absolute mecca's video games, Japan.
So in the early teens, Japanese towns who are brilliant
at tourism right or tourism efforts. Every pretty much every
town has its own mascot, et cetera. Some of these

(30:47):
small rural Japanese towns wanted to take video game tie
ins to a crazy new level, and they went around
to video game publishers and they said, hey, you know,
your capcom you have a scene in one of your
games that takes place in our prefecture or even in
our town or something near there. So we want you

(31:08):
to make a big event and get all the nerds
to come visit our town and spend those sweet, sweet
tourism dollars. And no kidding, it actually worked. There are
people who like you know, for instance, Monster Hunter three
so much that they will hop the Shinkanson and go
across the country just to hang out and like get

(31:29):
their picture with people in costume.

Speaker 2 (31:31):
So you're saying that there are locations depicted in certain
video games based on real locations, So there's almost like
video game tourism, and the same way people will go
to like locations from the Lord of the Rings films
and then do like ab kind of like photos or
whatever on Instagram.

Speaker 3 (31:47):
Okay, that's pretty cool, and I love it.

Speaker 2 (31:50):
By the way, when games use real locations as influences
for their for their backgrounds and their scenery, I can't
help but think of the backdrops in Street Fighter two
exactly where there's like the marketplace, and I'm sure I
don't know specifically where those are based on. I bet
you were more likely to and I bet this figures
into that, but I think the fact that they were

(32:10):
based on something gives them more of a vibrant zee, a.

Speaker 3 (32:13):
Kind of a sense of life, you know. I agree.

Speaker 1 (32:15):
Also, we'll get to some of the worst rankings in
episode two. But I love that you mentioned some of
these because my memories are clocking of you know, days
of being one of the kids in the computer lab
at school and trying to.

Speaker 3 (32:31):
Stay late to beat a video game.

Speaker 1 (32:33):
Because what we're also going to see in episode two
is I think we were getting to this a little
bit off air. There was this era especially, I would
say that et era wherein they said, we can't make
games look past a level, a certain level of bitrate
or sophistication. So what we'll do instead is make these
games really difficult, you know what I mean?

Speaker 2 (32:53):
Right, that's fine, that's a great stand in for quality exactly.

Speaker 1 (32:57):
It's just it's like, hey, does this look good? No,
but it's also not fun to play. So that was
that was the idea for a while. Well, and that's
the thing though, they were really trying to the gaming
industry was still kind of in its nascency, you know,
and so they were really trying to figure out who
is this four And at the time, I think there
was a bit of a misconception that like this, or

(33:17):
maybe it wasn't a misconception, it was just not sustainable
that this is for hardcore game nerds who want to
be punished, you know. Like today, I mean, you still
do have folks that are really only into the like
Frumsoft games of the world.

Speaker 2 (33:32):
They insist on their games to be punishingly difficult, which
for me ain't that much fun. Guys, I'm gonna cop
to it right here. Didn't finish Eldon Ring. No, that
was the easiest of the Frumsoft game, was it? That's
what everyone says. Last it was the most accessible of
the Frumsoft games. I didn't finish it. I found it
oppressively difficult.

Speaker 4 (33:51):
Yeah, I think every Frumsoft game gets easier because of
the fact that and they've become much more mainstream.

Speaker 1 (33:58):
I'll tell you again, I love fun game. I'm a
fun person.

Speaker 3 (34:05):
Fun, you know. I'll tell you one thing if I yeah.

Speaker 1 (34:08):
Hey, fellow kids. But also also I've long ago decided,
you know, I have real world problems. I don't need
to enter a created reality that just gives me more
increasingly difficult problems.

Speaker 3 (34:22):
One game play on normal, guys.

Speaker 1 (34:25):
Every game, one uh, one game that I really enjoyed.
I don't know if you guys heard of this. This
might be a little too specific, but there's a game
called Papers Please, and Yeah, you're you are You are
a US State Department or immigration officer at the well,

(34:45):
you're not US States. It's a communist country country and
you you're the immigration officer. You have to approve who
can get in based on their paperwork. It's a very
Egon Spangler type of.

Speaker 4 (34:57):
Guests, so ridiculously pedantic. And it's more complicated pedantic with
like body scans and stuff like that. And because if
you let somebody wrong in they could be a terrorist
and everything goes wrong. It's so fully pedantic.

Speaker 2 (35:09):
Yeah, there's a game that my kids, uh, turn me
onto you. I haven't really played it much, but I
just got it for the Oculus. Yes, I have an Oculus.
I'm a stupid nerd, but do not have an Apple
Vision pro so, so I'm not that level of nerd.

Speaker 1 (35:21):
I have a I think it an Oculus. Yeah, because
the Vision I didn't like.

Speaker 3 (35:25):
I have an ODU.

Speaker 2 (35:25):
Wow, it's just ridiculous. Three thousand dollars for a toy. Uh,
we haven't gotten. I know there's gonna be a time
where VR and AR is going to be more of
a thing. But maybe it's not my bag. But my
point is, I do have this game called Job Simulator
for the Oculus, and you can get it. I think
just for standard you know, two D systems, But it
is literally a game where you work in an office
and you like stamp documents and different things like that.

Speaker 3 (35:47):
And then of course there's untitled Goose game where you're.

Speaker 2 (35:50):
Just a goose wanders around wreaking having So there is
this truck simulator is a great where you just drive
a truck.

Speaker 3 (35:57):
It is so peaceful.

Speaker 1 (35:59):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (35:59):
Damn Diver, I believe, or Dave the Diver is another
one where you're just like this skin diver who catches
fish and makes sushi. There's a whole genre of games
that I think are collectively often referred to as cozy
games that are very popular because it is the antithesis
of this oppressive level of difficulty that was really the
only stand in for quality, you know, in this era

(36:21):
of game design.

Speaker 1 (36:22):
Oh, I'm excited for part two as well, because we're
going to learn about some more tie ins from all
sorts of other industries. We're gonna, maybe, if we have time,
have a little ranking of some of the worst games
based on movies. Before we do any that, we've got
to give give a shout out. We do always get
to say this, but I believe it is our friend

(36:44):
Jonathan Stricklet aka the Quist, who has a great episode
on Tech stuff about.

Speaker 3 (36:48):
The et game. He absolutely does. There's also an episode Ephemeral.

Speaker 2 (36:53):
Yeah, that's right that Max worked on with his brother,
amazing human, talented and a friend of the show, Alex Willilliams.

Speaker 1 (37:00):
And now that we're speaking of those shout outs fun
fact hopefully not a surprise the longtime listeners. Alex Williams
is also our composer. Big thanks to him, and big
thanks to our super producer, mister Max Williams.

Speaker 2 (37:13):
Oh Man, I'm excited to get to part two, where
we talk about games based not only on drinks and
delivery junk food, but also snacks. There's a couple of
fun snack themed games. Huge thanks to Chris Frosciotis and
he's Jeff Cots here in Spirit aj Bahamas. You already
thank Jonathan Strickland the quizzor what else we got.

Speaker 3 (37:32):
I think that's the whole crew, right.

Speaker 1 (37:34):
Rachel big Spinach Lance. I think we owe her an appearance.
Are we brag?

Speaker 3 (37:40):
We owe her? We just like her? Right all right?

Speaker 1 (37:43):
Yes, yes, yes, but the conversations are all going and
of course thanks to all the hard working video game
makers out there. I know it can be really challenging industry,
but you're making stuff billions.

Speaker 3 (37:55):
Of people enjoy. We'll see you next time, folks.

Speaker 2 (38:05):
For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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