A Movie A Day #186: Joysticks (1983, directed by Greydon Clark)


It’s Porky’s in an arcade!

Every gamer knows how accurate this is.

Jeff Bailey (Scott McGinnis) is the manager of the hottest (and only) arcade in town.  His grandfather owns the place and Jeff is everyone’s friend but he does not play any of the games.  When he was younger, he was caught getting it on with his girlfriend in an arcade.  She was sent out of town and Jeff was left so traumatized that he swore he would never touch another joystick.  However, he may have to go back on his pledge because the local evil businessman (Joe Don Baker) is determined to take over the arcade and he has recruited King Vidiot (Jon Gries) to help him do it.  In between Jeff getting laid and King Vidiot scheming, there are all the usual teen sex comedy hijinks.  Just like in real life, the arcade is perpetually full of hot, single girls wearing bikinis.  A hot dog gets stuck between a pair of breasts.   Pacman is played by a topless video game groupie.  Inevitably it all leads to a training montage and a showdown between Jeff and King Vidiot, with whoever gets the highest score at Super Pacman winning control of the arcade.

King Vidiot was the height of 80s fashion.

Joysticks is as dumb as it sounds but it is also a lot of fun, especially if you want to see what life was like before everyone had internet access and their own home gaming console.  The movie is full of classic games, from Pac-Man to Satan’s Hollow.  The best thing about the arcade is that the final video game duel is played with giant, floor-mounted joysticks.  I’m not sure they would work well in real life but they look extremely cool.

Check out those joysticks!

For those wondering, at no point does Joe Don Baker play Pacman during Joysticks.  If he had, the end result would have been a classic for all time.

Grab that joystick, Joe Don. You know you want to.

Joysticks?  I wonder if that title was supposed to have a double meaning.

Arcade Life, 1983

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