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Video-Man (Spider-Man Amazing Friends cartoon)

Video-Man

(Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends cartoon)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Iceman: “Spider-man, what is that thing ?”
Spider-man: “I don’t know but you sure get a lot for your quarter.”


Context

Video-Man (Francis Byte) exists on Earth-8107, the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon world. For more context, you should first read our Spider-Man (And His Amazing Friends) character profile.

Video-man was created in this series and had three appearances. Marvel wanted to capitalize on the video-game craze of the 1970s and 1980s.


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Background

  • Real Name: Francis Byte and Video-Man.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: X-Men.
  • Base Of Operations: New York City.
  • Height: 5’3”, 13’0” (as Video-Man) Weight: 98 lbs., Negligible (as Video-Man).
  • Eyes: Red Triangular Hair: Black, None (as Video-Man).


Powers and Abilities

Video-Man is essentially intangible being made of pure energy. He can fire energy blast rectangles from his hands, the same used in his video-game, often using them for knockback attacks.

From his eyes come red beams that look like lasers, if they connect, the victim is banished into the cyber dimension. The victim can be seen as a digital image inside a video game.

Alternately, Video-Man may actually use his eye beams as lasers (in DC heroes RPG terms, Heat Vision) but it looks identical.


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Video sequel

In his second appearance Video-Man showed off a new set of powers.

  • Flying to and along power lines instead of instantly traversing them.
  • No longer using knockback attacks.
  • Absorbing energy from power lines to increase his size.
  • Absorbing Iceman’s powers.
  • Animating other arcade beings, bringing them into the real world.

With the amalgamation of Video-man with Francis Byte, Francis was in control and was a better aim with his energy beams. It also appears he kept both a heat and cold ray which Video-man drained from Firestar and Iceman at an earlier meeting.


Video

Nobody could ever tire of the intro sequence, right ?&Right ?


History

Video-man was the creation of the villain Electro.

“Video-man” is also the name of a popular video game. The player assumes the role of “Blue-hero” who combats Video-man in a shootout. Winner takes the least hits, whoever reaches 100 hits on their opponent first wins. These stand-up arcade games were being delivered anonymously to key places all across New York.

Electro sent Video-man through these game systems to steal materials from three of those places. Video-Man would exit the game through the screen of the game grab the materials and dimension travel back. The Spider-Friends intervened and consequently, Firestar and Iceman found themselves exiled to the Cyber Dimension.

After Video-man captured his last material – silver. Electro taunted Spider-Man through the screen of the Video-man video game. The machine was rigged to explode and only Spider-Man’s Spider Sense allowed him to escape with his life.

Conductive metals

Meanwhile, Firestar and Iceman played Electro’s games with their lives as the stakes. Electro continued to switch games threatening that if they lose he would unplug the game, killing them. Firestar and Iceman escape their own game screen and arrive at Flash Thompson’s screen, who had been captured earlier.

Video Man (Francis Byte) transformed

After rescuing him the duo try to find a way out of the cyber dimension by traveling along connecting lines.

Video-man delivered his three conductive metals (gold, silver, and copper) to Electro. Spider-Man puts the pieces together and deduces Electro was building a super-Transformer! Spider-Man tracked the villain down to his underground lair.

No! Not a Super-Transformer!

Iceman and Firstar are both recaptured and placed in another time limit game that will shutoff after it counts down. Flash Thompson has other ideas, he travels from screen to screen, screaming all the while, and saves Iceman and Firestar in the nick of time.

Spider-Man dupes Electro and Video-man into firing on one another destroying the Super Conductor. Spidey saves his friends at the last second of the game.

Once Spidey had control of the computer, Flash, Iceman, and Firestar could exit through the screen. However, Flash didn’t remember anything afterwards.

The return of Video-man

The Video-man arcade game, badly damaged, was delivered to the city dump during a thunder storm. Lightning struck the game itself and Video-man was able to escape the cyber dimension he had been trapped in once again.

Video-man began absorbing electricity from nearby lines which caused him to grow larger. Video-man could absorb electricity from even that of mutant minds which generate more powerful electric impulses than normal brains.

Video Man (Francis Byte) in front of an old arcade game

Video-man traveled to New York’s main power grid absorbing energy from the city as he went, growing in size all the way. He then summoned two creatures from the Cyber Dimension to aid him, however they both turned on him and all three were apparently destroyed in the battle.

Video-man a hero?

Francis Byte, a young video-gamer, was engrossed in gaining the high score on “Zellman Command” at the local arcade.

However, he was interrupted when the Gamesman sent a hypnotic signal that entranced over 300,000 people all accross New York. Francis’ game exploded and he was absorbed into a video-game transporting him to the Cyber Dimension; there transforming him into Video-man.

Video Man (Francis Byte) in the opening credits

Francis’ body and mind were fused with that of Video-man. Francis showed he could transform between Video-man and his own form at will. He decided he would use his new powers for good as a Super hero!

Video-man didn’t get time to practice his powers before he was called on to use them. Though quite naive he helped the Spider-friends defeat the Gamesman and rescued Louise. The two fell in love and Video-man was introduced to the X-men.

He joined the X-men as their newest member, learning to use his power under the guidance of Charles Xavier.


Description

Video-Man looks like an 1980s style blocky video-game character. His legs are completely blue and he has a blue “V” on his chest that extends all the way up to his neck and down to his waistline. While his uppper torso and head are white.

Video-Man has a green “belt”. Video-Man glows with a yellow aura at all times. His back is completely blue.


Personality

Video-man is given a task by Electro. He will follow it to its end and defeat anyone who gets in the way. Beyond following his directive, he’ll stand to the side motionless or retreat back to the Video-Man game and stand motionless on the screen observing.

In his second appearance, Video-Man didn’t have Electro to give him orders. So, making decisions on his own he kidnapped J.Jonah Jameson, putting him in the Cyber Dimension. He attacked the Spider-Friends, then began syphoning energy off New York’s power grid.


Quotes

“Francis Byte become Video-man !”

“I want to be me again, Francis Byte !”

“No more mild-mannered, meek, weak, ninety-eight pound nerd. Francis Byte is Video-man the world’s newest superhero.”

“Thank you Spidey ! You’re my inspiration, my role-model.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Video-man

A 1523 points Character

Dex: 02 Str: 00 Bod: 05 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 02 Wil: 02 Min: 02 Occupation: Super Hero
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}: 000
Init: 006 HP: 015

Powers:
Dimension Travel: 12, Dispersal: 11, Energy Absorption: 05, Electrical Being: 04, Energy Blast: 06, Force Manipulation: 04, Growth: 09, Heat Vision: 07, Ice-Production: 03, Power Drain: 06, Flight: 06, Teleportation: 08, Two-Dimensional: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Dimension Travel: only to/from cyber dimensions (-100 BC).
  • Dimension Travel will automatically activate for Video-man if he touches a video game (-1 FC).
  • Dispersal does not function against Energy attacks (-1).
  • Energy Absorption may absorb electrical energy only (-2).
  • Energy Absorption may only be used at normal range but in this form it’s fired in a beam and energy is syphoned through it (+1).
  • Energy Absorption fuels Growth.
  • Electrical Being takes both Dice Action and Automatic Action to activate and use (-1).
  • Growth: 04 APs of Growth are always engaged (-1), Energy Absorption must fuel the rest (-1).
  • Flight may also be used without electrical wiring if in conjunction with Force Manipulation. (example: Video-man may create an energy surface under himself to ride upon.)
  • Flight represents Video-Man moving along electrical wires the same as Teleportation however, he doesn’t instantaneously arrive at his destination (-1).
  • Teleportation is only along any wiring carrying an electrical charge, he may also move a distance equal to his APs of Flight to reach an electrical wiring as well (-1).

Skills:
Accuracy (Beam attacks): 06

Advantages:
Expertise (Video-games), Life Support (Full).

Connections:
Spider-Friends (Low), X-men (High).

Drawbacks:
Alter-Ego (Controllable), Distinct Appearance, Minor Irrational Attraction to Louise.

Genre:
Action.


Francis Byte

A 077 points Character

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 02 Motivation: Upholding the good
Int: 02 Wil: 02 Min: 02 Occupation: Avid Video-Gamer
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}: 000
Init: 006

Skills:
None.

Advantages:
Expertise (Video-games), Headquarters (Confined).

Connections:
Spider Friends (Low), X-men (High).

Drawbacks:
Alter-Ego (Controllable), Minor Irrational Attraction to Louise, Minor Physical Restriction (Near-sighted).


Video-Man without Francis Byte

The first two episodes Video-man acted independant of Francis. He was created by Electro and at first was only an enforcer doing whatever Electro needed.

The second time Video-man left the Cyber-Dimension he tried to gain power by draining energy from New York’s power grid. Video-Man’s powers have grown since his first appearance as detailed below:

Episode – Video-man

  • Motivation was Follow Programming.
  • Without Francis in control Video-Man has a Min of 05.
  • Growth at 04 APs always on.
  • Did not display the following powers: Flight, Force Manipulation, Ice Production, Power Drain.
  • Did not display the bonus: Energy Absorption may also be used at normal range but in this form it’s fired in a beam and energy is syphoned through it (+1).
  • Skills – Accuracy (Beam attacks): 04 instead of 06.
  • Connections – Electro (High) and no other.
  • Drawbacks – Serious Physical Restriction (Mute), Strange Appearance.

Episode – The Origin of the Iceman

  • In this episode Video-Man is on his own and without Electro to tell him what to do he begins to act on his own.
  • Motivation – Power Lust.
  • Gains Energy Absorption fuels Growth and Growth is increased to 09 APs.
  • Gains the Flight power.
  • Gains the bonus: Energy Absorption may also be used at normal range but in this form it’s fired in a beam and energy is syphoned through it (+1).
  • Gains Power Drain.

Video Man (Francis Byte) falls into the computer world


Special invaders

In Video-Man’s second appearance he summoned characters from other arcade games, essentially Dimension traveling these beings from the Cyber Dimension to the real world.

As these creatures take damage the damage cannot be percieved but when the Body is reduced to 00APs, the creatures explode instantly being banished back to the cyber-dimension. Two are given below:

Grabber (A Pac-Man like creature)

Dex: 03 Str: 07 Bod: 09 Motivation: NA
Int: 01 Wil: Min: Occupation: NA
Inf: Aur: Spi: Resources {or Wealth}: NA
Init: 004 HP: N.A.

Powers:
Energy Blast: 06, Running: 03

Blaster (a Flying Saucer)

Dex: 03 Str: 03 Bod: 07 Motivation: NA
Int: 01 Wil: Min: Occupation: NA
Inf: Aur: Spi: Resources {or Wealth}: NA
Init: 004 HP: N.A.

Powers:
Energy Blast: 06, Flight: 06


So, you like video games ? Don’t ya ? Well, now you are one !

The Cyber Dimension that exist inside the world of video-games may be entered and exited by the use of the Dimension Travel power. The victim can look out of the dimension through the monitor screen and can see and hear everything within normal range.

Inside this universe all a victim would see is a pale purple/blue background but can determine the edges of the screen. Once a game is started the constructs of the game appear as real, solid objects. A victim caught in this world can be injured or even killed by the games.

Unplugging or otherwise shutting the game off will scatter the atoms of anyone in the Cyber Dimension. So, anyone traveling in this dimension must be on a computer, game, etc. that has power at all times. The only exception to this is characters native to this dimension.

Characters transfered into the game can learn how to travel between machines simply by moving to the edge of the screen where wiring is in close proximity. Exiting the game without the Dimension Travel power is difficult if not impossible without outside help.

From the outside it is revealed anyone controlling the machine may allow the travelers to exit through the screen itself.

By Ethan Roe.

Source of Character: The 1981 animated series Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, episodes Video-man, The Origin of the Iceman and The education of a superhero, voiced by Frank Welker.

Helper(s): Wikipedia, Tron writeups on Worg (for the Cyber-Dimension).

Writeup completed on the 9th of March, 2012.

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