Friday, August 3, 2018

The "Grand" Stand™ was there to support your joystick

This silly advertisement is found within the pages of the May-June 1983 issue of Computer Gaming World, which touts "Modem Gaming" on the cover and features an article about Bill Budge's Pinball Construction Set.

In the history of video-gaming accessories, I suspect that few were quite as unnecessary and ridiculous as The "Grand" Stand, which furthermore could not have been more obvious about the phallic connotations involved with augmenting the handheld thrusting power between a male gamer's legs. I mean, come on.

Here is some of the ad copy:

  • Joystick stabilizer support & score enhancer
  • THE PERFECT GIFT for the avid video gamer and an attractive addition to your TV game machine.
  • Constructed of all solid wood with fine walnut finish.
  • Exotic hard woods available at extra cost.

I would love to know if anyone called the company up and requested "exotic hard woods" for their joystick stabilizer. Plus, who would want to pay even more than the redonkulous price of $34.95, which equates to $87 today. For that kind of money, you could have gotten a full copy of Infocom's Starcross or Deadline, Sir-Tech's Wizardry, SSI's Cosmic Balance II, Brøderbund's Choplifter, or Datasoft's Zaxxon — all as advertised in this same magazine issue.

Writing in June 2010, the author of the Gaming After 40 blog wrote this about The Grand Stand:
"Back in the pre-crash early 1980's ... it seemed every technology entrepreneur in the country was trying to find a way to hop on the videogame bandwagon and cash in on this newfangled craze, doing whatever it was they already knew how to do. ... Note that the promised stabilization and support is provided mostly by the player's own two feet, holding the stand down, and the source of the SCORE ENHANCER capability remains a mystery. It's not even clear how the joystick is affixed to the top of the stand, though the ad copy claims the product ADAPTS TO ALL POPULAR JOY STICKS (not JOYSTICKS, mind you.) ... Like many of the products offered in these old advertisements, I wonder how many of these were actually sold, and would be absolutely floored and strangely thrilled if I ran across one at a rummage sale or flea market."
Finally, here's an excerpt regarding The Grand Stand from Kevin Impellizeri's PrimarySourceCode blog in July 2013: "As to what made it so grand for players to rest their controller on a $35 miniature table players had to stabilize themselves with their feet compared to say putting it on one’s lap or simply holding it, I am not prepared to say. ... Needless to say, the Grand Stand was one of the weirder ways people attempted to capitalize on the video game craze."

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