Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Color Me Commodore 64 PC Game

In 1985, Mindscape, Inc created the Color Me Computer Coloring Kit for the Commodore 64. As its title implies, it was a coloring program which allowed you to color images on your computer and then print them out. They licensed several Hallmark characters to color, such as The Hugga Bunch, The Shirt Tales, and Rainbow Brite!

I purchased a copy of this program on floppy disk several years ago, but Commodore 64 machines are hard to come by, so I assumed I would never get the chance to run it. Thankfully, a long-time Rainbow Brite fan from the UK was equally curious about the disc's contents, and found a digital copy of it to run in a Commodore 64 emulator! So thanks to David Pope, now we can all download and run this blast from the past. Below are instructions for how to run the program, and beneath those are screenshots from it. We hope you enjoy it! :)


Step 1: Download the zip file "Commodore64emu.zip" and open it. Extract the "WinVICE-2.4-x86" folder inside it onto your computer.

Step 2: Open the "WinVICE-2.4-x86"  folder and double-click the "x64.exe" file to run the Commodore 64 emulator.

Step 3: Click the file menu at the top left of the screen, and choose "Autostart disk/tape image". You'll be presented with a standard open file dialog - direct it to the folder from Step 2 and choose the file "Color Me (1985)(Mindscape).d64" Click "Attach," and it will load the game. This will take a few minutes.

Step 4: You will see a couple of title screens for Sprout and Color Me, and eventually a screen that asks for "joystick or koala pad".  Press J, and then you are taken to a select printer screen - press "F1" and you are taken to the drawing screen.

Step 5: Using the number keys on the keypad, use them like a joystick until the hand is pointing at the Menu option, then press the CTRL key on the right side of your keyboard to select. Move the hand across to the Load option and it will ask you to "insert a picture disk". Using the mouse, go to the file menu (from Step 3), choose "attach disk image", and then choose "Drive 8". The same dialog from Step 3 will appear - choose the file "Color-Me Rainbow Brite.d64" and click "Attach" again.

Step 6: Using the keypad again, point to "Ready" and press CTRL. It will go ahead and load a list of pictures.  Just choose the one you want to look at and press the CTRL. Pressing CTRL on 'more names' will show the next page of files.

Step 7: Enjoy!

Additional: If you need to, the joystick keys can be changed in the Settings menu, and into Joystick settings - where it says "Joystick port 2" there's a menu.  If you change that to Keyset A, and then click the button labelled Configure Keyset A, you can change the keys to suit your keyboard better (for example, you have a laptop  or compact keyboard that doesn't have a Right Control key).  Just click OK and use as above.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What Would Rainbow Brite Do?

The new Rainbow Brite cartoon is garnering mounds of attention. The Rainbow Brite Facebook page received almost 30,000 likes, and the trailer received 70,000 views within the first 24 hours of being announced! I've lost count of all the articles written about the fresh take on our favorite superhero, and have given up the quest to read every tweet that mentions her name. There are just THAT MANY. To me, this shows that Feeln has released the right thing at the right time, and children and adults alike are hungry for more.

But not all of the attention has been positive. Fan responses have ranged anywhere from "OMG YES!! TAKE MY MONEY!!" to "You've ruined my childhood! Leave her alone!" Individuals are going through the four stages of reboot grief in rapid succession, barely coming up for air. While many comments have been gut reactions common to resistance to change, some have offered constructive criticism that I wanted to take a moment to address.


Concern #1: She seems like a ditzy valley girl with no substance.

First, let's take a moment to remember that all we've seen so far are short trailers for the show. Trailers are meant to grab the attention of the target audience (which is today's children, lest we forget) and hook them into wanting more. What better way to do that than with humor and silliness - kids' favorite things apart from sugar? I am certain that Rainbow Brite will not be that one-dimensional in the actual show.

Secondly, Feeln knows that Rainbow Brite's original fans are now in their 30's and love nostalgia. "Valley girl" speak is very 80's, along with the word "rad" that Rainbow Brite used in the first trailer. It's quite likely that they will be throwing nods to us throughout the series, and her "valley" demeanor may be one of those nods. In case you missed all of the neon colored clothing being sold over the summer, the 80's are back in a big way, and kids are going to eat this up. And again, I don't believe that she will speak this way constantly in the show.

Lastly, Feeln knows that children look for role models in the media they watch and listen to. They know that the original Rainbow Brite was a strong leader with incredible intelligence and wisdom. They don't want little girls growing up to be brainless ditzes any more than you do. Also, you may not realize that the writer for this new show, Rachel Vine, is a mother of a little girl herself. So I feel quite sure that this new Rainbow will be instilled with all of the depth of the original, with some added quirkiness, so that little girls of today will have another strong female character to emulate.

Concern #2: Why couldn't they have left her design the same as the original?

I don't know of any animated shows that have kept the exact same style when creating a reboot. I'm not saying that it couldn't be done, or would be unsuccessful. But that's a very big gamble for a production company to make. With market research, they can find out exactly what today's children already like, and respond to best. And I feel sure that that helped them hone in on a design that would resonate well with the widest possible audience. That doesn't mean that they didn't also take the original fans into consideration. I believe they did - as many design elements are the same or similar to the original. But I think that giving her a makeover for today's generation was a smart move, even if it's a bit jarring to us at first glance.

Conern #3: Why is Starlite a muscle-ripped stallion now?

To be honest, Starlite's redesign was the first thing that I found fault with. When I saw him flex his pecks, my mind immediately flew to Bulk Biceps from My Little Pony and I had a hard time reeling it back in. But after talking to other fans, I believe I have made some peace with the change, and am beginning to understand why they may have gone this direction. Perhaps they wanted to make him more cartoony? The original Starlite design was based on a real horse, and was animated to look realistic. Nothing in this new cartoon looks realistic. Even Rainbow has an enlarged head, huge feet and lacks elbows. This is simply a different animation style from the original, and his design is consistent with that style. And perhaps with My Little Pony being so popular, and the comparisons between the two being inevitable, they wanted to make him look as different from a pony as possible? I don't know, but it would make sense.

Conern #4: Why did she need a reboot at all? She was perfect as is!

I can't argue that the original Rainbow Brite wasn't practically perfect in every way. Why do you think I've loved her since 1984? ;) But personally, 13 episodes have never felt like "enough." All we got was one little season, and the characters had so much potential that was never explored. I'm excited to have a window into Rainbow Land once again. It's also made me sad to see all of her 80's counterparts get rebooted, and Rainbow left behind. I've hated watching her to fade into obscurity. There are many of us who will always love and remember her, and are passing the original on to the next generation. But without a new show, there are many kids who would never be exposed to Rainbow Brite. Especially since the old episodes aren't officially available on DVD. I'm hopeful that this new series will breathe new life into the franchise and keep her rainbow from fading away. Even Jezebel.com reported that she "earned" a reboot, and I fully agree.


For those of you who are still heartbroken over your beloved childhood friend undergoing a change, I want to offer some encouragement. The original Rainbow Brite has not gone anywhere. Her episodes are still available on YouTube. Her pictures, songs, stories, and more will still be available on RainbowBrite.net and RainbowBrite.co.uk. And her fans and their creations will still be showcased on RainbowBrite.org. My goal since beginning my first website in 1997 was to keep Rainbow Brite from being forgotten, and that goal has not changed. Watching this new show will not damage our memories of the old. And enjoying the new show is not a betrayal to the original.

My final thought about how we, as fans, should react to the new cartoon is simple: what would Rainbow Brite do? Would she insult this newcomer and the individuals who created her? Would she immediately slam the door in the face of something different? Or would she try to keep an open mind until she had all the facts, and welcome the opportunity to make a new friend? I think you know the answer.

Friday, October 17, 2014


It's been three months since Emily Osment's big reveal about the new Rainbow Brite cartoon, and we are finally getting some details!! Feeln, a streaming video-on-demand service, and subsidiary of Hallmark, is heading up the project. And they went public in a big way - by debuting a preview of the upcoming series!

So not only did we get a look at the new design, we got to hear it speak and see it move! The internet exploded with news stories regarding the reboot, and Feeln launched brand new social media pages for the new Rainbow on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Through these sources, we have been able to glean a few details about the new show:

1) Three episodes are in the final stages of development, and they will be premiering via Feeln on November 6th, 13th, and 20th.

2) Apart from the characters shown in the preview, Twink, the Color Kids, Murky, Lurky and Stormy will be in the show. And Stormy was hanging out with the bad guys in the picture they uploaded. Just sayin!

3) Molly Ringwald (yes THAT Molly Ringwald!) will be voicing the Dark Princess.

And just this morning, another promo video was released:

Post by Feeln.

Color me excited!! Renee and I recorded a "first reactions" squeeisode (haha) of BriteCast regarding the preview. And we'll  be keeping you updated on the new show as things develop. So keep your eyes on the rainbow!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rainbow Brite Forever Contest

RainbowBrite.net, in conjunction with Teepublic.com, is hosting a contest! Are you an artist who loves Rainbow Brite? If so, this is the contest for you!

For the next two weeks, we want you to submit your Rainbow Brite designs to be printed on t-shirts at Teepublic.com. The winner will receive a Rainbow Brite t-shirt of their choice from Teepublic, free of charge! Also, artists will receive a $4 commission on every shirt of theirs someone buys at the regular price of $20 - even after the contest ends! (When shirts are on sale for $14, the commission received is $2).

The rules are simple:

1) Upload your design(s) to Teepublic.com using their templates and instructions.
2) In the "Tags" field, include the tag #rainbowbriteforevercontest
3) Make sure you've uploaded your design(s) by midnight, EST, Thursday, October 9th. Feel free to upload as many as you wish.

Renee of rainbowbrite.co.uk and myself will pick our favorite design and announce the winner on Friday, the 10th.

We can't wait to see the amazing designs you create!

Here are some designs that are already on Teepublic, in case you need some inspiration :)

Good luck Color Kids!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Rainbow Brite in Pop Culture

Even though she only had 13 episodes, 2 live-action specials, and a movie, Rainbow Brite was hugely popular. Almost daily, I see anything colorful in the fashion world (be it clothing or hair) described as "Rainbow Brite." When 80's kids see a rainbow in the sky, they think of the little girl with a mission. And most 80's girls had at least one Rainbow Brite doll - many of which they still cherish to this day. So it's no surprise that she pops up in pop culture from time to time.

It actually began in the 80's, when Rainbow Brite merchandise would show up in tv shows.

We see an 18" Rainbow Brite doll in Miami Vice's Season 1 episode, "The Home Invaders:"

There was a Rainbow Brite bowl that continuously popped up on Full House:

And I distinctly remember an episode of Who's The Boss where Mona is drinking tea or coffee out of a Rainbow Brite mug. But that image doesn't exist on the internet - yet.

RB was hard to find in the 90's, but in 1996, a Glee Sprite doll did appear in the background of childhood Ross's home video in season 3, episode 4 of Friends:

But Rainbow Brite has definitely had a resurgence in popularity since the year 2000.

A Red Butler doll appeared in the Reba episode "Core Focus:"

A Rainbow Brite cosplayer showed up in Bones episode "The Princess and the Pear:"

Rainbow Brite bed sheets appeared on the HBO series "Girls:"

A Rainbow Brite doll was animated into the Family Guy episode "Prick Up Your Ears:"

She was parodied on The Soup:

And she's shown up on Robot Chicken five times.

Wikipedia mentions Rainbow Brite being referenced in songs, showing up in music videos, and being drawn into web comics. And check out RainbowBrite.co.uk's 'Rainbow Brite in Hollywood' Facebook album for a few more screen caps. I wonder where she'll pop up next! :)