Botss Wiki


Definition Comedy
Released 1983
Directed by Greydon Clark
BOTSS relationship Several bottom of the screen shooters
were shown during the movie.


Joysticks was an R-rated comedic American movie that was released in 1983. The story revolved around the small town of River City’s local game room (known as Bailey's Video Arcade), its various regulars, and a local businessman who is high bent on shutting the game room down, due to it allegedly contributing to the “rotting moral decay of society”, as he stated once during the movie.

Several arcade bottom of the screen shooters (gameplay and/or cabinets) were shown during the film.


A teen named Eugene Groebe is driving to his first day of work, singing a song about hoping he doesn’t screw it up. Two females, Lola and Alva, stop beside his car and state that they like his voice and that they could all “make music together”. When Groebe replies that he cannot be late for his first day of work at Bailey's Video Arcade, they then expose themselves and ask him to get in their car. However, as Groebe is fumbling around, they talk amongst each other, saying that they needed a picture of a “nerd” with his “pants down” in order to get into a college sorority. Groebe then chooses Lola to mess around with first, which they then encourage Groebe to pull his pants down. When he complies, Alva takes a photo of him just as a police car cruises by. This results in the girls driving off, stating that they’ll see Groebe at the game room if he wants his pants back.

Once Groebe arrives, he tries to sneak around in search of his pants, which gets the attention of Jefferson Bailey, the acting manager of the game room in place of his grandfather, who is out of town. Groebe finds and puts on his pants and apologizes to Bailey for being late.

From left to right, Jefferson Bailey, Eugene Groebe, and Jonathan Andrew McDorfus.

As Groebe starts working at the game room, he makes his way around, cleaning machine marquees and all during his rounds until he runs across a teen playing a game of Pac-Man. He stated that he found the player’s unkempt appearance as to being “highly objectionable” and disrupts the gamer’s concentration as he accidentally knocked over his box of popcorn, causing him to lose his last life on the game just when he was about to reach a million points. The player then pulled out a pocket knife and unscrewed the machine’s back door with it to study the schematics; meanwhile, Groebe fetches Bailey, who then explains that the person is actually a harmless regular, and introduces him to Groebe as Jonathan Andrew McDorfus. Groebe is taken aback, as McDorfus was the class president only a year before and he didn’t recognize him due to his sudden weight gain and unkempt appearance. McDorfus blamed this on “video games, kid”.

Then sometime later after midnight at the game room, a man named Joseph Rutter arrives who, along with his nephews Max and Arnie, finds his daughter Patsy there, demanding that she come home while stating that the game room is a “garbage dump”.

Patsy Rutter (left) with friend.

Later at the Rutter home, Joseph proclaims that he had called the local mayor to shut down the game room but he refused. After Patsy asks for money and Joseph gives her some, he declares that she is not to go the game room again, but she replied that she would continue to do so anyway.

Later back at Bailey's Video Arcade, Lola and Alva traded Groebe’s photo of his pants down for a chance to play “strip video” with Bailey, who just received a new game called Streaking for the game room but hadn’t had anyone try it out yet. Once the girls start losing lives during the game in a private section elsewhere on the premises, they start taking off their clothes and encourage Bailey to get it on with them. Meanwhile, however, Groebe and McDorfus are on the roof, readying a fire extinguisher, which they start spraying through a vent, which Bailey made them think it was a fire. He pretends to faint, leaving Lola and Alva in a panic as they try to get the door open. Once they open the door, they run straight into Joseph Rutter’s arms as Groebe takes pictures of the scene; Rutter states that he was going to try to be reasonable in regards to dealing with the shenanigans that went in on the game room, then yanked out Patsy.

A shot inside the arcade.

On the way to Joseph’s car, they are joined by Arnie and Max again, who asked Joseph if there was anything they could do in regards to the game room, which Joseph stated he would rather them not do anything. Arnie, however, told Max that he had a plan, which next they are seen sometime later trying to slip into the game room unnoticed while wearing disguises. After they check out the place, Arnie noted that there was no security there, so they could break in later and steal all the games for Rutter. Groebe overhears the conversation and tells several of the others about this plan (including Bailey).

Later Groebe and McDorfus sneak into Rutter’s house to try to dig up some dirt on him, although Mrs. Rutter is in a drugged state, grabbing onto Groebe as he tries to sneak past her bed and won’t let go of him. McDorfus tries to exit the bedroom, but sees Joseph Rutter coming up the stairs, so McDorfus hides in the closet. Joseph goes to bed, which Groebe is still stuck in between him and Joseph’s wife until McDorfus sneaks out, but farts, causing Mrs. Rutter to get turned on and Joseph to get disgusted and get up not long afterwards.

Meanwhile back at Bailey's Video Arcade, Arnie and Max have stolen all the games and loaded them onto a truck. They stop to get some gas, which, while arguing over who is going to pay for it, Bailey advises a “number one” to start moving.

Back at the Rutter home, McDorfus tries to stall for time so Groebe can get out of the house, which it is assumed he either rang the doorbell or knocked on the front door, then started babbling to Joseph about having problems and needing someone to talk to when he answered the door. Joseph stated it was 2 a. m., which McDorfus eventually admitted that he was there about the game room, that it wasn’t as bad as Rutter was making it out to be. Groebe’s legs then appeared from the roof, which McDorfus pulled him down, then Arnie and Max drove up with the truck. While distracted, Groebe, McDorfus and Patsy make a run for their car (as she had also been awakened by the commotion) as Max and Arnie showed Joseph an empty truck that was supposedly full of arcade games.

McDorfus and King Vidiot (right) awaiting the start of the tournament.

Back at the game room, Bailey congratulates a large team of people who had unloaded all the games and stated that they would have a themed party to celebrate their win over the Rutters’ plot being foiled, as people should come as they are, in their pajamas. A local regular named King Vidiot showed up (who had been introduced earlier), but Bailey said that it was a private party only and that he would have to leave. Vidiot stated that he would leave only if a gaming tournament was held and he lost. He was pitted against McDorfus, who beat him in a game of Satan's Hollow. Bailey then relented, saying that Vidiot could stay after all, but only if he behaved himself, which Vidiot became disgusted and left anyway.

Joseph Rutter then appeared, stating of the scantily way minors were dressed and that the game room should not be open for business that late, but Bailey said that it wasn’t business, it was a private function. Rutter vows that Bailey will pay for the event, which he then has Max and Arnie stage a protest at the game room the next day, which a local television reporter covers, but then during a later interview at Rutter’s house, the reporter stated that there was a known photo of Rutter with two topless women. Although as she admitted that she did not have the photo with her at the time, Rutter disgustedly ended the interview there.

Later, Rutter visits Bailey at the game room and asks for the photo, which Bailey tries to have Rutter sign a contract stating that he wouldn’t cause any more trouble for his game room, which Rutter refused to sign, saying he would give Bailey his word, then yanked the envelope away from Bailey, which allegedly contained the picture of him with Lola and Alva.

King Vidiot.

Another protest would begin at the game room later, but the protesters were outsmarted when Bailey allowed them in to play some games. This angered Vidiot, who said that Bailey sold out because of this, so Bailey threw him out. Rutter then approached Vidiot and told him to meet him at his office in case he wanted revenge.

Later, Vidiot meets Rutter at his house. It was agreed that if Vidiot were to cause a big enough commotion that would lead to the closing of the game room, then Rutter would buy him his own arcade game. Vidiot agreed to the plan, but only with the addition of a promise of “wheels” from Rutter (which were pocket motorcycles). Vidiot and his gang then raided Bailey's Video Arcade, which again was covered by local media, along with Rutter making disparaging remarks about the game room and the incident, along with claiming he had nothing to do with the event.

A city council meeting was held next, with Rutter trying to paint the game room as to being a haven of decadence. A local nurse testified of game-playing injuries and of the arcade games’ controllers and cabinets being infested with germs, along with a local coach complaining about how most of his players spent too much time on gaming rather than athletics.

Bailey tells a different side, making his game room appear innocent, then paints Rutter into being a hypocrite as Groebe sets up a projector, which a slide displayed the photo of him with Lola and Alva topless. Rutter then deferred to Max and Arnie (who were along with him) that he thought they had the picture, which, once the envelope is opened that Bailey had given them, turned out to contain the photo of Groebe with his pants down.

After taking in all of the presentations, River City Mayor Neville decides that Bailey's Video Arcade has broken no laws and can remain open. Outside the meeting area, Rutter congratulates Bailey on his win, then produces a dead rat, claiming that Max and Arnie found it in the game room’s kitchen and threatens Bailey with health inspectors, which could shut down the game room after all. When Bailey nearly gets into a physical confrontation with Rutter, Groebe interrupts and states that with their last dispute, it was settled by playing a game. Rutter nominated Vidiot as his “top man” for a gaming contest, who said they would have to play “his” game this time around, being Super Pac-Man. Bailey chose McDorfus to represent him, along with agreeing that the game room would be closed down if McDorfus were to lose the tournament.

Rutter (left) is suspiciously happy of McDorfus's absence. Note Space Invaders Deluxe cab in center background.

Come tournament time the next morning, McDorfus is nowhere to be found, as Groebe tells Bailey the guy who ran the hot dog stand next to his house hadn't seen him since the previous night. Rutter stated that would be a forfeit, but Bailey said he'd just have to find someone else to take McDorfus’s place. Vidiot stated that he would take Bailey on, but Bailey said that, since he didn't play the games, that wouldn't be fair. Rutter asked Vidiot if he was serious, which Vidiot confirmed that Bailey indeed never played the games, as he was "chicken". Even though this part of the contest wasn't originally the deal, Rutter said he would accept the new terms if Bailey played and lost that he would not only close down the game room, but he would never open up another one ever again in the city. Bailey accepted as long as Rutter would give him 15 minutes to prepare.

Bailey then explained to Groebe the reason why he didn't play video games any more was that they made him sick (even though he was as good as McDorfus). Six months before was their grand opening, and after they closed for the day, he and his girlfriend Sandy were going to lose their virginity to each other. Unfortunately Sandy's father caught them together, and in a fit of rage, started slapping Sandy, removed her from the premises and they later moved away. To that day Bailey couldn't even look at a video game screen without seeing the face of Sandy's father in it.

Groebe helped encourage Bailey to exercise, briefed him on some strategy tactics from a Pac-Man book and revived him with smelling salts when he passed out. They then proceeded to the tournament.

Meanwhile back at the Rutter house, McDorfus was bound and gagged and guarded by Andy and Max until Andy convinced Max to go to Bailey's Video Arcade to see how things were panning out. Being alone then, McDorfus farted several times in his struggle to get loose, which snapped Mrs. Rutter out of her drugged-out state. She rushed to the room where McDorfus was held, as she knew that was him from the other night and that she wanted her way with him, which he later promised that, if she were to untie him, someone even better than himself would meet up with her later that night, so Mrs. Rutter set him loose.

At the game room, the tournament begins, which Bailey loses two out of his first three lives while Vidiot blazes way ahead. To make matters worse, Mayor Neville is spotted, which Bailey tells Groebe to "P. R." and "shmooze" him somehow, so Groebe introduces himself and gives Neville some courtesy tokens so he could try some games. Not knowing what to play, Groebe introduces him to Gorf and explains to Neville how to defend himself after he got "blasted", then left Neville as he started getting into his game.

Back at the tournament, Bailey is still getting creamed, which Rutter, thinking he had won in shutting down the game room, slaps Vidiot's hand in triumph. For some reason this disgusted Vidiot, who abandoned his game in progress. Bailey could still lose though, but McDorfus shows up and offers to take over, which Groebe says that Bailey must do this on his own, then he and the crowd around them start up a chant to urge on Bailey, who then turns things around and ends up winning the tournament, thus saving the game room from closing in the process.

After all had been saved and Bailey announced free tokens for everyone, his grandfather suddenly appears, saying he had found something for Jefferson, which turned out to be his ex-girlfriend Sandy, so they reunite. Groebe gets introduced, which McDorfus said Groebe had a "special" problem, which grandpa George stated that someone needed to "get this boy laid".

In one final insult, Rutter ran into Neville, who asked for more tokens (as he had been playing Gorf the entire time), then took his rage out on Andy and Max, as he had "not yet begun to fight" in regards to the matter of the game room staying open.

Then later that evening, McDorfus and Jefferson Bailey leave Groebe at a hotel, which, when he enters a certain room, finds Mrs. Rutter there, which Groebe prepares to have sex with her in one final act of revenge against Joseph for attempting to shut down Bailey's Video Arcade.

Bottom of the Screen Shooters shown/mentioned during movie[]

Mayor Neville in front of Gorf.

During the first few minutes of the movie’s intro, many games were shown in between the credits. Several seconds of gameplay were shown of Gorf, Millipede and Moon Patrol (plus the cabinet was also shown of the latter, as well as a Galaga). Later, the cabinet of Space Invaders Deluxe is seen throughout the movie, as well as Gorf again. During his first day on the job, Groebe wiped down the marquee of a Centipede machine as well.

At one point early on in the movie, Patsy Rutter asked Bailey if he would play a game of Galaxian with her, although the game was not shown.

With the first gaming tournament that was held, McDorfus was pitted against Vidiot in a game of Satan's Hollow. McDorfus let his first two blasters get destroyed as he ate, then started actually playing the game, beating Vidiot.

Near the end of the movie, Gorf was played by Neville. The Astro Battles, Laser Attack and Galaxians stages were shown as Neville played.


  • Scott McGinnis – Jefferson Bailey
  • Jon Gries – King Vidiot
  • Leif Green – Eugene Groebe
  • Jim Greenleaf – Jonathan Andrew McDorfus
  • Joe Don Baker – Joseph Rutter
  • Corinne Bohrer – Patsy Rutter
  • John Diehl – Arnie
  • John Voldstad – Max
  • Reid Cruickshanks – Coach Straight
  • Morgan Lofting – Mrs. Rutter
  • Kym Malin – Lola
  • Kim G. Michel – Alva
  • Jacqueline Cole – Alexis Wheeler
  • Logan Ramsey – Mayor Neville
  • Justine Lenore – Nurse Tubitt


  • In the Satan's Hollow tournament scene, a specialized controller that was the size of a bowling ball was supposedly used by the contestants, rather than the game’s stock controller.
  • Also during the tournament scenes, an Arena marquee (that displayed the contestants’ names on it) had the likeness of the large birds from the third and fourth stages of Phoenix.



Luckily a friend of mine sent this movie to me for free, as I wouldn't have paid any more than $4 for it. The movie only cost $300,000 (U. S.) to make, not having any big stars in it (which was just as well for them!). The people who played the mayor and Joseph Rutter would probably look familiar to most of us from back in the day, but that was about it.

Not that a plot was really needed for a movie who's main claims to fame was that it showed games and nudity, but here a businessman in a small town is looking to close down the local game room. Basically you can sum up this movie in regards to four things:

  1. Showing video games.
  2. Showing nudity.
  3. Having maybe about eight parts that were actually funny.
  4. The catchy theme song (although with silly lyrics).

And that's pretty much it; the rest of it's pretty stupid, to the point where it wasn't a big hit when it was released, there's low ratings for it everywhere you look, and someone on my vector gaming forums said it was SO bad he couldn't even get through the movie himself, as it took me three sittings to get through it myself, going through only 20-30 minutes each session.

And not only is it bad, but a lot of it doesn't even make any sense: what's with the guy in the 18th century monk's habit during the first several minutes of the movie? Why does King Vidiot writhe around on Rutter's office floor? Why do his "subjects" (as he called them) walk around making noises like Oompa Loompas (or whatever they were)? Why did it take three people to write this crap?

If more brains were used rather than joysticks, then this would've been a halfway decent movie; after all, the reason behind Jefferson's quitting playing games was near-genius. Why couldn't more of the movie had been like that? 3.75/10

(review by Darrylb500)

This article was featured from September - October, 2014.