Despite the overwhelming volume of evidence that suggests I am spectacular person, I do sometimes have moments of doubt. Am I an entertaining writer? Am I a good man? Or am I just another angry voice, screaming during the two minute hate?
As I write this I can’t help but feel a twinge of guilt for the creators of the Retro Game Controller. I imagine a team crouched over their keyboards, much like I am now, just trying their darndest to bring a smile to someone’s face. These people are children, parents and lovers. They feel.
Sure, there have been missteps. Perhaps they should have made the pad bigger. Perhaps it would have been wise to run the text through a spell check at some point. Perhaps it would have been best to not have a game with a racist title screen. We all make mistakes. But at least they got off their arse and created something. That’s got to count for something, right?
No. No it fucking does not.
51. Airial Hero
With an avant garde use of the English language, this top down shooter puts you in control of a helicopter that emits a constant droning, humming sound like class 7L trying to break the supply teacher. During my brief time with the game I saw nothing that indicated what I was actually supposed to shoot. Instead, l was treated to little more than a birds eye tour of the map, which appears to be based on Link to the Past’s Hyrule had Miyamoto developed a glue sniffing problem.
45. Octopus Sea
With a title that manages to conjure up a nightmarish vision of Ringo Starr cast as James Bond, the only other talking point here is the horrible game over screen which features the playable mermaid character being strangled to death by a mass of black tentacles. It’s like a scene from some Little Mermaid slash fiction in which Ariel finds herself in a prison and becomes one of Ursula’s “fishcakes”.
The Retro Game Controller really outdoes itself here by ripping off Nintendo’s NES game Pinball in its entirety and then hiding it behind the name Hoodle in the menus. Nintendo are pretty free and easy about this kind of thing, right? I can’t help but be impressed by the balls of the bloody thing.
I’m terribly sorry, I must have misheard you. I could have sworn that you just said this game was called “arse art”. You did? Right. Well, no I wouldn’t have gone with it personally. I might have tried to think of something that has some kind of loose tenuous link with what you actually do. You know, the digging bit. But I’m sure Assart will be fine. Assart. Ass. Art.
What better way to draw attention to your shitty match the shapes game by needlessly naming it after a popular construction toy, possibly drawing the wrath of a huge multinational corporation and the vengeful spirit of Frank Hornby? No publicity is bad publicity! Meccano also does away with our centuries old and widely accepted numbering system by starting on Level 2.
142. Mad Xmas
For me, a mad Christmas might involve having ostrich for dinner or not drinking, but here it’s an huge, terrifying Santa launching presents and bombs out of a cloud. Like a demented Mufassa drunk on power, his evil gaze is surely designed to strike terror into the hearts of children; waiting, heart in mouth, for this lunatic to be set loose in their house during the dead of night.
I’m a big fan of Konami’s shmup series Gradius, so imagine my delight when I fire up this fella and watch it vomit all over my memories. I’m genuinely a little bit impressed that someone has made this clusterfuck and then had the audacity to call it Vigilant. It’s less wary, strong and cautious and more scary, wrong and nauseous.
25. Water Pipes
I bet the creators of the Retro Game Controller were pretty red when they discovered that they had accidently ripped off Pipemania. How embarrassing! Quick, add a two player option on the title screen that you can’t actually select! That’ll confuse ‘em.
39. Brother Ball
Ask any man with a full, complementary set of testicles and he will tell you that balls have a strong fraternal bond. Brother Ball explores this fascinating relationship by tethering them together, like a globular human centipede, and then tasking them with rescuing their female equivalent. You can tell they’re girls because they’re pink and have bows in their hair. Progressive. Occasionally it mixes it up by replacing the Sister Spheres with orbs that sport the stubble of a drunken, aggressive tramp.
9. Police vs Thief
“Violent Chasing” exclaims the title screen. Blimey, sounds exciting. And it probably would be if were not the fact that the car chases take place in complete and utter silence, lending the experience an unnerving, existential atmosphere. “What is morality?” you’ll ponder as you watch law and chaos in an unending chase through a forever looping map, bereft of beginning or destination.
194. Man in Red
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought that the cop from the Village People wasn’t quite camp enough. What he really needed was his uniform to be dyed a ravishing shade of pinkish red. Here, we get a glimpse of this glorious alternate reality, with the additional flourish of having him hold his enormous weapon at hip height, thrusting it upwards when the need takes him.
46. Texas Hold
You can’t really go wrong with poker, right? Well, you could always make the soundtrack a muzak version of George Michael’s Careless Whisper. Nearly had something borderline competent there. Nice save.
155. Small Dinosaur
When ripping off other people’s games starts to become a bit of a chore, why not rip off your own? This is the same game as Mad Xmas, with exactly the same music, but reskinned to feature a baby throwing toys at a crocodile. Its saving grace is the titular hero’s eye rolling walking animation, neatly summarising the whole sorry enterprise. I know how you feel mate.
153. Star Fighter
Shit awful version of Space Invaders, made unnecessarily complicated with the addition of a teleport button. The title evokes images of interstellar dogfights so naturally your vehicle for this mission is a land based tank.
11. Power Robot
“Sir, preparations are in place for Phase 2, but the readings are…”
“My patience runs dry. Engage the slinky.”
“But…but…Sir! This level of power has not been fully tested! The inertia Sir! With the slinky fully active the subject no longer obeys even the basic rules of physics. He’ll be uncontrollable!”
“God damn it Bale, I don’t have time for your insubordination! I said engage the slinky!”
“Very well Sir. May God have mercy on us all.’