Yeah, I’m still doing this.
Despite the temptation to mug the project off completely (and it is a project, I’m bravely exploring the very boundaries of entertainment here), I have found myself inexorably drawn back to the shittest collection of 1’s and 0’s ever to grace a television screen. I’m not normally much of a completetist and I’m quite happy to abandon something the instant it stops being entertaining (which is why my family live in constant fear that I might not return home from work one day), but the possibilities for utter fuckwittery that remain within the confines of the controller are too much to resist. It’s like when I blow my nose; I can’t stop myself from having a little peek to see what fucking disaster has made it’s way through the system.
A lot has happened in the intervening months and it’s damning review of the quality of 2016 that the hilariously racist title screen of Shrew Mouse once seemed laughably out-of-place but now seems horrifically prophetic. But with over a hundred games to go and the apocalypse appearing ever more inevitable, it seems like I better get my skates on if I’m ever going to get this finished.
Hold your nose guys, I’m going back in.
197. Mouse Snare
Back in the good old days, when a candy could go about it’s business safely without fear of being crushed and Pokemon Go was simply a phrase used to shoo away a gentlemen baring a contagious rash, bored humans used to speed their passage to the grave by playing a game called Minesweeper. Never one to pass up the opportunity to produce an inferior imitation, Mouse Snare sees you attempting to corner rodents rather than disarming explosives. Not a very catchy title though; if only there were an established name for a device used to entrap mice.
5. Magic Jony
Sharing it’s name with a brand of contraception you might find in a Weatherspoons toilet, things don’t get any less genital when you fire the game up and the titular character devours the enemy using a massive pink lipped flower. There’s no getting away from the fact that this weapon represents a huge, remorseless vagina, right? I’d like to phone a Freud.
187 Ice Ocean
To my knowledge it’s never been fully explained why a race of erotic fish women would choose to swim about in their bras given that it must be bloody freezing down there, and it’s all the more confusing in this breakout clone as the player mermaid is completely topless despite being trapped under several foot of ice. I daresay the lack of decent support would be all the more pronounced several leagues under the sea. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a little bit of realism.
108. Sky Invader
“Nah, you see it’s nothing like it because they’ve broken through the atmosphere, whole different ball game. And there’s only one, it’s not a plural if you look. Well yeah, there’s more than one enemy in the actual game, but the title is referring to the hero….An invader can be good too…Well I can’t think of an example off the top of my head, no. Jesus, why do you do this? Picking flaws in everything I do. No, no, it’s fine, I’m sorry I snapped. Perhaps you’re right. It’s been a long day. Shall I pick us up something nice from Waitrose..?”
103 Gold Digger
Kirby, the pink blob whose ability to suck in the mindless souls around him brings to mind Donald Trump, makes an unexpected appearance here and someone in the Retro Game Controller offices triumphantly crosses another name off the ‘Ideas to Steal’ list. The aim is to collect letters and I cleared the first level by spelling the word ‘LEMAIN’, so it’s nice to see that the French Better Together campaign has got a good head start for when they lose their minds and trust the general public with a potentially catastrophic referendum. Despite sharing a name with one of his popular hits, the game itself is significantly more Kan-Nay than Kan-Yay.
21. Toy Factory
I find something inherently depressing about the concept of toy factory. I picture a grizzled sixty-year old chain-smoking to pass the time on her 15 hour shift. She stands next to a conveyor belt in a windowless grey box whilst a procession of genitally ambiguous torsos await capitation by her minimum wage hand. Environment destroying packaging increases their value by several thousand percent, before ungrateful spawn toss them into landfill the instant the next advert break comes on the T.V. What I don’t think of is a pink elephant dropping clocks into buckets. But that’s the beauty of language, these things are always open to interpretation.
Everyone loves Bomberman with a group of mates, which is obviously why this bloody thing has chosen to pay homage to the universally ignored single player, lest it be even the remotest bit entertaining. In order to add it’s own unique twist it’s borderline impossible to control, with your character throwing a strop when you have the cheek to try and turn a corner. On top of all this, there’s something about the title that makes me think of a faulty penis.
106. Panzer Fly Car
God only knows what’s going on with that title which reminds me of a series of increasingly frustrated guesses as an elderly relative takes to the pencil and paper in Pictionary, this driving game is so bad it’s enough to make you raceist. The engine noises sound like the tinnitus-enducing THX advert from the cinemas played through the phone speakers of some twat sat the back of the bus.
28. Move Box
“Let’s hear it for New York!” sang wonky hat queen Alica Keyes, presumably thinking that the city has been lacking some recognition despite being celebrated in practically every bit of media since forever. Fortunately, the Retro Game Controller is never one to miss a shout-out and uses the Big Apple as it’s backdrop for a reimagining of the fox, chicken, grain, river-crossing puzzle favoured by dickhead, riddle fans the world over. You’re probably thinking there’s not enough content for an entire game in a puzzle that can be solved in three minutes and you’d be absolutely correct.
169. Cookies Labyrinth
So what you’re saying is that we’ve got a maze full of small, edible circles? Nope, pretty sure that hasn’t been done before. At risk of reigniting the incredibly wacky and tedious debate that we’ve all been through a billion times on what qualifies as a biscuit, the centre of the labyrinth is a gigantic pink wafer.
165. Bug Catcher
Catching bugs can either be a a good thing (“Look at this ladybird! On the gladiola!” ) or a bad thing (“Look at this gravy turd! I’ve got the ebola!”) which would explain why after ten minutes play I still wasn’t entirely sure if the aim of this game was to collect the insects or to avoid them. Mechanically similar to Fruit Pig (from Retro Shitty Rampage Part 3; you remember, of course you do), the key visual difference is that rather than controlling a smartly-dressed pig, your character is an armless Mini Boglin tottering around on its hind legs. It’s twice as disturbing in reality than it sounds.
As suggested by the name, video games are a primarily visual medium which makes the decision here to plunge your character in total darkness an interesting one. Perhaps tells you more about my filthy brain but the phrase “Burrow Explorer” is a pretty repulsive image isn’t it? Like Sid James has somehow landed a job as a gynaecologist.
Aside from their primary function as a way of ruining your neighbour’s Sunday morning lie-in, lawnmowers can also provide a valuable grass cutting service. Here you take control of one of these unnecessarily noisy bastards as it clears a lawn and uncovers all the valuable, beautifully cut gems that have carelessly fallen out of the gardeners pocket. We’ve all been there. Your main foe is a small dog, although given the size of the monsterous turbo-powered tank you’re driving I wouldn’t fancy the chances of a chihuahua against a Flymo Floral Fucker 4000.
193. Magic Egg
I must apologise for the uncharacteristic lack of nuanced critique on the game mechanics, but the music for Magic Egg was so catastrophically awful that I quickly had to stop playing as my brain was starting to shut down my major organs in a last ditch attempt to save itself. But as dreadful as the soundtrack is, at least it’s not quite as bad as the the title which sounds like something you’d stick up your bum to liven up a naughty cuddle.
We’ve not had a unashamedly blatant Nintendo game rip-off for at least twenty minutes so it’s good to see Risker; which is literally the NES game Excitebike but in a car; make an appearance. Fantastically, absolutely everything except the appearance of the vehicle is exactly the same. So you can do wheelies, shift your balance and your car does some weird ‘catch your breath’ animation should you crash. Not entirely sure what has gone on between Nintendo and whoever-the-fuck made this thing; perhaps Miyamoto bullied him at school or ran off with his banjo.