I’m told I’m a difficult person to buy presents for, which probably explains why every year I find myself lumbered with a hundred pieces of tat with a vague, passing relation to video games. Case in point, I own two sets of game branded coasters. Two sets. I only own three gaming mugs and a single gaming glass so I’m vastly oversubscribed. Fortunately, if condensation or spillage was to occur I also have an abundance of horrible Atari t shirts that could be used to clear the mess; despite never actually owning an Atari.
I think it’s my poor, beloved mother that struggles the most. She has a rather strained relationship with technology. When she’s changing the channel she stands a metre away from the T.V and points the remote directly at the screen; like a robot using an LCD urinal. Trying to buy something video gamey for me is probably a little outside of her comfort zone.
Last Christmas she got me this little fella. Please note the undoubtedly fully endorsed use of the Sega font and the rather uninspiring claim that 200 games will provide “hours of retro gaming”. Hours?! Be still my beating heart.
Rather than do the sensible thing and bury it in the garden, I aim to play all 200 of these badboys and provide mini reviews. This is a monumental challenge; partly because the controller is so fucking small it threatens to turn my hands into talons and partly because the majority of these games are so astronomically bad that forcing myself to play them probably contravenes part of the Geneva convention.
In order to save my sanity, I’m playing them out of order (so I can jump to what takes my fancy) and will be reviewing them in chunks. I feel I should assure you that my spelling of the game titles is verbatim. And apologies for the shockingly poor screenshots, but quite frankly, I’m already spending more time on this bloody thing than it deserves.
Ladies and gentlemen, for your consideration; the first ten.
Basically an underwater rip off of Balloon Kid; but with the joyous feeling of soaring through the sky replaced by the hopeless atmosphere of an ageless conflict between aquatic brethren that rages in the depths of a smothering, airless ocean.
37. Strong PJCC
Fantastically confusing typos aside, here you guide a anthropomorphic frog thing through a push block maze towards a red pill. Sorry, I obviously mean a red “perjucaca”. Only other point of note is that the frog, perfectly mirroring nature, sprouts a ponytail of luscious blond hair when viewed from the side. Whit woo.
Bafflingly complex hit the target game with angles and wind direction that are plucked from thin air by a vengeful God and bear little to no relation to what you do with the buttons. Topped off by some truly awful losing music which your character accompanies with a wobbly leg Shakin’ Stevens impression.
I struggled to last three minutes into this painfully slow tank game that appears to take place on the surface of a giant satsuma. I’ve heard the sequel, Vangvard 2; Vang Varder is a significant improvement.
72. X Racing
Unfortunately not a game that pits previous lovers against one another, but a very basic racer played to the vastly inappropriate sound of 5 bar blues. The cars look a bit like fat man faces so in retrospect, my first point may be invalid depending on your own personal dating history.
8. Police Dog Lasy
“I’m having doubts mate. Is this game any good? I mean, we basically made a game where a beagle searches for bags of cocaine buried by a goblin. Doesn’t make sense. Hold on, “Lasy”…is that right? You know when you look at a word and it starts to look wrong? Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, yeah, yeah, yeah it’s fine innit. I’m overthinking. It’s shit hot mate. Sort us out again will you? This shit is fucking president. It’s fucking Ronald Reagan. My teeth are itchy. I need a dentist. Turn this up bruv. Love this track.”
22. Utmost Warfare
Horrible, horrible shoot ’em up, delivering an experience not dissimilar to repeatedly smashing your face against a child’s toy piano. It’s the noise that stays with you, long after the physical pain has passed. I still hear it sometimes, when I’m alone, during my darker moments. One day at a time. One day at a time.
173. Egg Contest
You don’t know what an Egg Contest is?! Jesus, it’s perfectly simple. Just get a fantastically macho looking chicken to strut about chucking eggs at a mouse. Fancy not knowing what an Egg Contest is! You want to have a hard, long look at yourself mate.
30. Apple Chess
Planning on giving your retro gaming controller a version of Reversi, but want to give it a unique twist? Well want no longer! Simply substitute the traditionally black and white disks for red and blue ones. For an extra layer of mystery, why not name it after a fruit and then provide zero explanation? Ooooh, intriguing!
181. Fruit Gift
I didn’t actually manage to get anywhere with this. It looks a bit like a cross between a fruit machine and Puyo Puyo but the buttons don’t appear to do anything. Continuing with the fine tradition of “fuck it, that’ll do” title screens, Fruit Gift’s features a caveman.
151. Shrew Mouse
“We didn’t mean anything by it, it was harmless fun. Listen, it was a different time back then. You could leave your front door unlocked, kids played in the street, men were men, women were women and if you wanted the title screen of your Snake / Qix crossover to feature what appears to be a rodent in black face it was fine. A bit of fun. You kids are offended by everything these days”.