Episode Title: Video Man
The greatest Christmas present I ever received was the Atari 2600. Laugh if you must, but we didn’t care about the low-res graphics…we could play Missile Command in our own homes and that was enough. When Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends debuted, the video game craze was in full swing. The Pac-Man Fever album was less than a year away. So leave it to Electro to cause trouble for the Spider Friends by bringing a video game character to life. Get ready, true believers, for Video Man.
This time, Peter, Bobby, and Angelica are spending some time hanging out at the local arcade. The most popular game is Video Man, and wouldn’t you know it, the reigning champ is none other than Flash Thompson. Little does anyone suspect that the Video Man games are actually the creation of super villain Electro. By sending game consoles to various strategic locations, Electro plans to pull off a variety of crimes, ultimately perpetrated by the Video Man character from the game. When Flash Thompson sees the Video Man character emerge from the game, he is zapped inside and ends up caught in a deadly game of Pong.
The Spider Friends start to track down the other machines, but have a hard time stopping a villain who can just slip into any electrical outlet to escape. Eventually, Iceman and Firestar get the Tron treatment as well and end up trapped in a game. That leaves Spidey to stop Electro’s crime spree and save his friends before…GAME OVER.
Welcome to what may be one of the most dated episodes of this show. Many modern gamers will probably find this episode pretty laughable, but try to put yourself into the mind of a kid in 1981. We were the first generation to experience video games and they were amazing! So we were down for anything having to do with video games. Remember that when Iceman and Firestar end up inside a game which is essentially Asteroids, that game was only about two years old when this episode aired. Sure, it’s all a bit goofy now, but back in the day this was awesome!
Given the recent cinematic versions of Spider-man, it is good to see the real Electro put in an appearance. Yes, Electro has always had one of the most ridiculous outfits of all supervillains. With those pointy edges on his cowl, I’d think he’d keep getting it caught on things. But I’ll take that over Blue-Man Group style Jamie Foxx any day. I’ll admit, Electro’s plan is a bit convoluted and gets a bit overshadowed by the whole video game gimmick. Having a plausible scheme was obviously not the most important thing. Priority was on putting together Spider-man and video games…two great tastes that taste great together! So in that department the episode definitely succeeds.
Next time we put aside the video game fads of the 80’s so that our three heroes can devote their attention to one of the Marvel universe’s most dangerous villains. Prepare to face Magneto next time in The Prison Plot.