One of my students found a bunch of old computer and videogame magazines and shared them with me last week. I’ve been slowly perusing them as time allows, and I found something surprising in the October 1982 issue of Videogaming Illustrated.

It’s from a multi-page feature called Star Words, in which different celebrities, mostly actors, offer their impressions of videogames. The main story that month featured Robert Culp (of The Greatest American Hero fame), but the section also offers a half-page inset with shorter reactions. I reproduce it below (click for a larger, more legible version).

The plainly negative reactions from Christopher Reeve and Chevy Chase are intriguing of course, but its the brilliant and prescient one-liner from comedian Mel Brooks that caught my eye:

“Videogames are not for us. They’re here to entertain the television.”

Chuckle you may, but this is precisely the sort of argument I’ve been mustering in more philosophical contexts: videogames are not just objects for people, but objects for microprocessors and input devices and televisions too.

So, there you have it, Mel Brooks, object-oriented ontologist.

published February 15, 2010


  1. anxiousmodernman

    Figures. That man’s a wicked genius.

  2. asmar


  3. Robert Culp

    I wonder what I said back then..I bet it was ironic, seeing that I became Dr. Breen in Half-life 2

  4. Noah Falstein

    I get a bit angry at the shortsighted techno-luddite attitudes of these sort of comments. Read a book? Doesn’t he realize that was the technology that killed our ability to recite 1000-line epic poems? And of course these guys didn’t get rich and famous by having people come to see them in person, but instead they paid to sit in some dark room watching a flickering light…

    Oh well.

  5. Mike Keesey

    Chevy Chase’s comment is actually the most balanced and well-qualified.

    How does one attain the official title of Bon vivant?

  6. Adriano

    If we consider videogames’ stage of development in that time, maybe it’ll be a waste of time play them.

  7. Rory

    Mike Keesey: Not entirely sure, but from the trivia page on the movie High Anxiety, on IMDB, it says:

    “When Hitchcock walked out at movie’s end without saying a word, Brooks feared that Hitchcock hated the movie. But days later, Hitchcock sent a congratulatory case of wine to Brooks, knowing that Brooks was a wine connoisseur.”

    So I assume that Brooks has a bit of a reputation.