D3 PR Turns ME Down?

September 29, 2008

I contacted D3 again to get more information on this alleged new Matt Hazard game.  They were less than accommodating, so I recreate the exchange for you below:

TO: D3 Publisher PR Department

FROM: Ralph Tokey

To whom it may concern:

My name is Ralph Tokey, the former Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations from Marathon Software. Read the rest of this entry »


HAZARD HISTORY: “Fistful” Ends the Cold War

September 22, 2008
The offending "Fistful of Hazard" Poster

Fistful's EUR Poster

Talk about a marketing event gone wrong. In the Fall of 1989, we planned to hit Germany hard for the Holidays with the release of Fistful of Hazard. The game had already debuted in the United States way back in 1987, but due to issues at Marathon, it took us more than two  years to localize and ship throughout European countries.

We knew we needed something BIG to push a 2-year old game, so we worked closely with the German government to create a massive, first-of-its-kind advertising campaign.

For a sizable amount of money, we were able to secure the exclusive rights to place posters on the Berlin Wall.  Yes, THE Berlin Wall. Read the rest of this entry »


New Screenshots Emerge – 9/19

September 19, 2008

Looks like someone is distributing more screen shots from the classic Matt Hazard games…

These came out of nowhere today:

Not bad. People are really getting a taste of Hazard now.

-R. Tokey


1UP Digs Up Some Old Screenshots

September 16, 2008

One of the screens 1UP Nabbed

One of the screens 1UP Nabbed

Saw this late last night — 1UP.com ran a couple of screenshots from some of our old games.

I’m not sure where they got those, but it looks like D3 must have acquired a file or two from Marathon and sent them over themselves.

BTW — the game names they have assigned to each of those shots is completely WRONG.

Once again, D3 should have asked me first, as I probably have even better ones around here.  At the very least, I could have told them which game names go with with screen shot!!!

Couple things I’m working on here, just so you know:

  • Trying to find some of my old screenshots so I can post them here; i should have some in storage somewhere, but it requires accessing floppy discs — many of you probably haven’t even seen a floppy before
  • Trying to reconnect with some of my old Marathon colleagues to do some interviews about Matt Hazard
  • I’ve reached out to D3 PR representatives to try and acquire information or assets from the new game; haven’t heard back but if you all pressure them too…
  • Pulling up some of my old marketing materials to share with you, so you can understand more about who Matt Hazard is and what he represents.

Meanwhile — check out 1UP’s story.

And for the record — Matt Hazard DID invent Steamy Cofffee.  1UP has that dead wrong.

Hey 1UP – if you want to really talk about this — or get the PROPER names for those games — let’s do an interview.

– R. Tokey


So you don’t remember Matt Hazard, huh?

September 11, 2008

You were probably too young to have played Matt Hazard’s games in the arcades (“ARCADES” are places where we used to have to go to play video games, where “stand-up” machines provided playtime for a coin or two).

Maybe you’re even too young to have played MH stuff on the 8-bit or 16-bit systems, but you better believe that you’re playing the results of Matt Hazard’s innovative games today.

Matt Hazard broke new ground in almost every game he was in, almost single-handedly defining and creating the modern-day video game feature set.

Here are some of Matt Hazard’s “firsts” that you probably thought were associated with other games

Matt Hazard Invented “Steamy Coffee” Controversy:

"Fistful" Introduced Games to Steamy Coffee Scenes Read the rest of this entry »


Matt Hazard Has A Facebook Fan Page?

September 11, 2008
Matt Hazard's "Facebook" Fan Page

Matt Hazard

My niece sends word that someone has started a Matt Hazard Fan Page over on Facebook.

They clearly know what they’re talking about — they even link to THIS blog, which is kind of cool. So welcome, everyone from Facebook.

Seems like you have to register for Facebook to join this Fan Page.  I’ll get right on that.

– R. Tokey


Welcome to The Real Matt Hazard

September 10, 2008

MH Moving Out

Greetings, everyone, and welcome to my blog.  Most of you probably found me because of the recent news about the resurrection of Matt Hazard by “D3 Publisher” and all the coverage that has come out as a result.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ralph Tokey, and I was part of the team that brought you all of those great Matt Hazard games – from beginning to end.

I started out as a Marketing Intern – essentially photocopying sales sheets and spreading them out at big arcades to get people excited for “The Adventures of Matt in Hazard Land.”  Eventually I worked my way up to Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at Marathon Software, directing a global team that drove the sales success of Matt Hazard products.

We were the guys that broke new ground for associated licensed goods , putting out industry classics like the Hazard “My First Extra Stabby Battle Knife” for the toddler fans , Hazard-Blocker Blu Shades, Matt’s Crash n’ Crunch Cereal, Matt Hazard “Playground Enforcer” Rubber Mallet and one ill-advised latex license that I no longer discuss.

At that time, a guy like me was an integral part of the team.  Marketing helped decide design decisions and even sometimes determined which game would be made.

Needless to say, I was pretty surprised when a friend of mine who works at a major video game site that rhymes with “FameSplot” (yes, I still have some of my old-school contacts and those guys are older than the friggin’ hills) was at PAX and sent this picture to me, taken at the booth of “D3 Publisher” which sound kind of made up, honestly:

D3 Displays Some of My Matt Hazard Boxes at PAX

You can clearly see in the picture some of my old Matt Hazard game boxes and then one at the end with a big question mark – representing whatever it is they are making now.

Here’s an Interesting Fact: Did you know that back in the late 80s, the same artists that did video game boxes also sometimes designed layouts for adult VHS packaging?  It’s true. The guy that did Fistful also won several awards for his work on several porno series.

Knowing today’s game industry, the new game will be some kind of “me-too” combination of Halo, Wii Sports and Guitar Hero.  “It can’t miss!”

My “FameSplot” friend also sent along this email distributed by D3 during Penny Arcade Expo:

Marathon Software Hero Matt Hazard Spills All

Matt Hazard, the star of the 80’s classic videogame The Adventures of Matt in Hazard Land and many other blockbuster games, is back in action in an all new next-gen title coming to stores next year.  Matt Hazard is most remembered for his rippling muscles and his love for the children.

I’m sure some of this stuff sounds dated and weird to those of you born AFTER these games came out, but at the time, being known for “rippling muscles and loving kids” is what sold games!  I have the market research and sales records to prove it.

>> Check out the news about the new game on 411mania, here and on DEN here though I’m pretty surprised some of them can’t remember the series.

It gets worse though… these guys at IGN think it’s some sort of fake marketing campaign.  Those guys are off their rocker since they were called SNOWBALL.

Just to be clear about this new game and ME:

>> Am I involved in the new game at all? No – not one bit.

>> Did anyone call me to ask my opinion or permission? No. I found out about it when the picture hit my inbox!

>> Did anyone ask me what Matt Hazard is all about before they started? No.  Presumably they have all the old scripts, but I don’t know for sure.

I expect my “FameSplot” buddy or those IGN guys or maybe the 411mania guys will be asking me for an interview soon to talk about MH and all the stuff that went down at Marathon Software.

I’ve also contacted the D3 public relations guy about this, but to my dismay all I get is an “out of office.” He must be living it up showing off Matt Hazard and to all his media friends in some trendy Hollywood hotel doing a junket or on a worldwide tour.

If I’m honest, I miss hob-knobbing with all the gaming people – although back in the day, we relied more on elicit substances and woman of questionable morals. Private planes pre-stocked with available women ALWAYS greeted OUR dev teams for their trips to E3.

Today’s game PR guys are a bunch of pussies. Period.

This blog is where I intend to uncover the REAL Matt Hazard, and provide a PROPER REINTRODUCTION for gamers through some of my archived artwork, storylines and interviews with some of my old buddies from Marathon.

So stay tuned.

– R. Tokey