When I were a young whippersnapper, I used to tell all the grown ups that I wanted to be a ‘Game Consoller’ when I was older. Fortunately for me this was the early nineties when a child could make up any old shit about the video game industry and the adults would be none the wiser. In retrospect, I’m not even sure what this occupation would entail. Programming? QA? Providing a shoulder to cry on for grieving rabbits?
God knows, but I certainly put the work in. Alongside performing my own Street Fighter tournaments (complete with having to act nonchalantly as my mum burst into the room to put the laundry away, like I’d been caught masturbating, when I’d actually just been strutting around, swinging my hips, pretending to Chun Li) I also spent an inordinate amount of time producing ‘design documents’. These would normally be a few pages of hastily scribbled notes, horrifically drawn characters and a letter to Nintendo saying that if they made this game I would offer them 50% of the profit. Business nous and an artists eye; get this lad a desk.
In any case, as the kind of compulsive hoarder with a loft whose mysteries will only begin to be unravelled by my grieving children after I’m gone (“How many plastic guitars did one man need?”, “Who the fuck are Freezepop; I thought Dad was straight..?”, “What on Earth possessed him to buy an N-Gage?”) I’ve kept a few of these of these treasured dossiers and present one for your amusement below.
I’d hazard a guess I was around the age of ten when I put this together. Nobody’s favourite uncle John Major is running the country . Some guy is trying to identify every British leisure centre by scent alone on You Bet. Steven Seagal is kicking the shit out of a boat while a woman with boobs hides inside a cake. Sarah Greene’s face is a picture of horror as she slowly realises what The Shaman are singing about on Going Live. Freddie Mercury really, really likes Barcelona. Heady days.
And somewhere in Essex, a young lad is designing a game no one will ever play. As he diligently sharpens his colouring pencils, he’s blissfully unaware that twenty years in the future someone that looks like his Dad would be using technology beyond his comprehension to show the world how shit it is. The internet is truly a beautiful thing.
From what I gather, the game itself appears to be a one-on-one beat ’em in a similar vein to Street Fighter. This was my favoured genre for these scribbles as it allowed me to do all the fun bits like character design and leaping around my bedroom inventing special moves without having to get bogged down in all the boring bits like balancing, coding, animating; y’know, all the things that actually make a game work.
I must of been on a sugar high from all the Nerds and Jawbreakers because I though it was a good idea to make all the characters convicted criminals. And they’re all animals of course, because this was back in the day when literally every video game featured a bad ass anthropomorphic creature with sunglasses and a backwards baseball cap. I was basically laying the foundations for Rare’s entire Nintendo 64 output.
Without further ado, please select your character Player 1:
Ace of Spades
As with everything I do, I gave this my all until it was half finished, got bored and moved onto something else which explains why our first combatant is the only one in glorious technicolour.
His moves feature the mysteriously titled ‘jump spin’ and his previous convictions include ‘stealing $1 from Fort Knox’ which strikes me as a spectacular waste of time. And yes, I was a fan of the Jim Carrey film The Mask; why do you ask?
Apparently criminal 9, the basketball playing giraffe Slam Dunk, is ‘too big to fit in’ his mugshot which begs the question why the photographer didn’t just look up a bit.
His crime of ‘illegal basketball play’ seems a little harsh to get banged up for but then his rap sheet does also mention ‘asulltng polce officers’ which does sound farly searyuss.
Before he was in the slammer, Slammers played for the ‘Metro Python’s’ presumably taking a break from their airborne big top.
The good news is that I’m pretty confident there are no worldly warriors who are defined by their iconic claw so I’m golden on the intellectual property front.
The bad news is that ‘Claw hit bad times in 1989’. Oddly specific without a whole lot of background, but I go on to describe a tragic figure who is ‘a supervillan without a superhero’ and spends his time ‘stealing black and purple cloth’. I think the reason you might be missing an arch nemesis is because you spend all your time casing habberdasheries, mate.
The dictionary is all the way over there so you can hardly blame me for the misspelling of helium, but I’m not sure why I’ve got more than one ‘Criminal 1’.
The description for this chap, who is surely only coincidentally identical to one of the bad guys from Roger Rabbit, deserves to be experienced in full;
‘Known as the “Balloning Rat” this madman can actually blow helium* from his mouth! That’s the reason for his funny voice. Previous convictions; plane robbing, hijacking, graffiti on roofs”
*Yes, I did then spell it correctly. Fuck knows what was going on.
O.k, maybe I did just rip off Who Framed Roger Rabbit. My opening gambit is that ‘Mr Toon is a nutter’ which makes him sound like he downs a couple of brown ales and then smashes some guys face in after every Newcastle match.
‘He has spent his life making the real ACME Co and in ten years made it’ is a sentence that only gets more confusing the more often I read it.
But my favourite detail is that his previous conviction of ‘hammer banging’ is the only one I’ve put in quotation marks, suggesting…well, I’m not sure what I was getting at but my adult mind is in overdrive as to what exactly this sexual deviant could have been up to.
‘Terry watch T.V constantly when he was a kid, this is why he has square eyes’ is Criminal number 10’s ‘backyrond’. One of his crimes is ‘interacting with T.V’, which I think is generally referred to as playing video games; the irony of which is nearly enough to make me smirk my mouth clean off my face.
In a delightful touch that makes me want to ruffle my own hair, Terry’s mugshots are actually inside televisions. Nice work, little Soup. Nice work.
I describe Desmond as a ‘demond cat’, clearly too young to yet realise that all felines contain part of our Lord Satan. ‘Master of fire and evil he loves disappearing’. Who doesn’t! Right with you there, Des.
His crimes; ‘Escaping from hell’, woah, that’s a biggy, ‘defing the law of gravity’, not technically illegal but we’ll go with it and ‘bank robbery’, kinda fizzles out at the end there.
Sounds like a geordie saying ‘gay porn’, doesn’t it?
Gear Paw, I’m very eager to clarify, was once called ‘Gary Place’ suggesting that Mr and Mrs Dunk really did decide to call their baby Slam. Tragically, our hero ‘lost his claw in a machanical acident’ but did what any of us would have done and ‘built himself a CYBERPAW with lots of cagets’. Gotta have those cagets.
His crimes range from the ridiculously mild (‘stealing batterys’) to the completely pointless (‘breaking into electrical plants’). What are you hoping to achieve Gary? I know you’re still in there. Put the cagets down and come back to me Gary. Please.
Fuck, where to start? The background indicates that I was going for a ‘mystical monkey ninga’. What I got was either the term ‘minger’, meaning someone unpleasant to one’s eye, or ‘minge-er’, meaning someone who likes to minge.
Putting the brilliantly unfortunate phonetics to one side, Minga crimes are just utterly baffling. ‘Selling watches’ is not only well within the boundaries of our legal system but a totally inappropriate side venture for a monkey ninja.
The next one I can’t even read. It’s either ‘illegal bulery’ (I’m guessing this is impersonating Ferris Bueller without the valid paperwork) or ‘illegal butery’ which suggests this ape is into butts as well as minges.
‘No one knows where he comes from’ I whisper mysteriously, immediately after saying that he ‘originated from Japan’. ‘He is leathel!’ I exclaim, making him sound like a French bag.
Finally, just what the fuck is that criminal number supposed to be?!