Category Archives: Retro Shitty Rampage

Retro Shitty Rampage Part 5

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.

imag0045

“Shit lads, Jony’s come up. Help me get him in.”

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.

imag0056

Absolutely no idea.

172. Dejectile
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.

imag0051

“Distinctive looking title screen Jed. I like it. You’ll go far this business”

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.

imag0055

Mesut Ozil is a distinctive looking fellow, isn’t he?

117.Burrow Explorer
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.

199. Mowing
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.

107. Risker
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.

imag0046

I’m guessing Risker refers to the potential for legal action.

Advertisements

Retro Shitty Rampage Part 4

In a potentially Esther Rantzen bothering move, I tend to play through these games with my children, Samus and Blanka.   Kids have a high tolerance for shite (as proven by the ongoing popularity of Cheesestrings and Dreamworks Animation) and I often find that they are eager to carry on playing long after I’ve lost interest.  Perhaps they’re just desperate for attention from their cold, distant father.  Who knows.  I certainly can’t be bothered to ask them.

My daughter Samus, inspired by the legions of you that hang upon my every word, has decided to pick up the pen and make notes alongside mine.  As everything I do on this blog seems infinitely more popular the instant I involve my children, I thought it would be churlish of me not to share one of her contributions.

DSC_0264

It seems I could save myself a lot of time and effort by simply writing this 200 times.

I think you’ll agree that there is a real honesty to her writing with a style reminiscent of a cockney version of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting.  Her younger brother Blanka was similarly cutting this time round, screwing up his face within minutes and quickly going back to devouring styluses and gently massaging jam onto the screen of the Wii U pad.

This selection sees us just over the quarter way mark, leaving yet another 145 games to review and the magnitude of this task is starting to become clear.  I’m sure I’ll look back on the decision to spend my brief, precious time with my children playing these stoopid gaims as a wise one.

4. Animal Blockes

The famous time waster Mahjong, popular with the kind of berk that owns a samurai sword or a dreamcatcher, is represented here with a rogue vowel because why the fuck not.  Aside from the unexpected appearance of Look and Read’s magic, magic E, the only other point of note is the stupidly sensitive cursor which renders the game about as much fun as threading a needle on a bus after being diagnosed with Parkinsons.

54. Volleyball 2P

Single player, naturally, this nonetheless manages to be a fairly decent simulation of volleyball given that it’s absolutely fucking impossible to land a serve.  The set dressing features a bunch of lazy bastards reclining on the grass whose clothes sporadically change colour. These fashion conscious layabouts watching a nouveau riche pastime do so in ethereal silence, giving the game an air of a cutting satire on our rampant Western consumerism.

DSC_0271

The participants are limbering up by twerking.  Twerking is still a relevant cultural reference right?

166. Busy Bar

The sliding drinks along a bar sub genre seems oddly popular with game developers, no doubt much to the dismay of real world landlords the world over.  This seems slightly more realistic than most given that I wasn’t able to successfully judge the distance a single time.  The patrons include a furious looking panda, looking to unwind after a tiring day eating sticks and refusing to have sex.

32. Puzzle

Ask any person in the street what they think about the up and coming operating system Windows and you’re sure to get a whole range of glowing responses from “ugh” to “what’s an operating system”.  Which is presumably why Puzzle has chosen to emulate the experience by taking place within one of its iconic windows, complete a close button which sadly doesn’t take the game away.  The game itself achieves the incredible feat of making those sliding tile puzzles even more tedious by not even having a bloody picture to reward you, instead simply numbering the blocks which are in a eye-catching shade of “Milton Keynes Grey”.

102. UU Weapon

Whoever was responsible for the title is clearly the only person in history to hear the phrase ‘double u’ and assume it’s not the actual fucking letter.  Finish singing the alphabet song mate, we’ll wait. In any case, the game is mechanically similar to the fondly forgotten Master System game Ninja and features a title screen that’s so half-finished it was surely signed off at four in the afternoon on a Friday before a bank holiday.

DSC_0270

WOW!!!  I WANT TO PLAY THIS GAME!!!

185. Hammer&Nail

With a name like an ITV cop show staring Robson Green and someone they’ve poached off Eastenders, this plays a bit like the fly swatting game from Mario Paint but shitter because of course it is.  The music has more stabbing synths than a league of Human Leagues and the hammer, resplendent in purple, looks the kind of smoking pipe that would be passed round one evening at the Marquees of Bath’s.

38. Frantic Fishing

Obviously about as frantic as an episode of Watercolour Challenge, your avatar painfully makes his way along the shore picking through a bait box containing various river pollutants and fishy favourites such as diamonds and entire roast chickens.  The icons along the bottom suggest that your potential catches include mermaids, which would explain your characters huge black emotionless eyes. I’d have thought dragging a defenceless aquatic woman from her home by jabbing a hook through her mouth would result in some quite severe PTSD.

DSC_0269

“Under the sea!  Darling it’s better, down where it’s…oh sweet Jesus what the fuck is that?!”

29. Video Poker

The fear I have in picking a card game from the menus is that it’s not going to give me an awful lot to work with.  How can you fuck up poker?  Well, to their credit, they’ve given it a good ol’ bash.  The cards are ridiculously tiny and well over 90% of the screen dedicated to the scoring system which is displayed on a huge board like a particularly crap round of Family Fortunes.  We asked 100 people to name something they’d rather do than play Video Poker…”Televised prostate exam”…it’s our top answer!

12. Pulveration

Not just the name of Ipswich’s premier student night (£1 bottles of CNT until 12 and Terry Bellraquette on the decks) but yet another skanky wanky tank game.  Here, you desperately try to remain sane as the grass horrifically springs into life whenever you move and the speakers emit a constant BRRRRRR noise like an attention-seeking fridge.

DSC_0267

I’m just not sure these road markings are clear enough.  So I should be shooting towards the shore..?

14. Seaport Guarl

Apart from sounding like an indie band who were nominated for Best Newcomer at the Brits in 2004 and then promptly never heard of again, Seaport Guarl has very little going for it.  You control a tank and are tasked with guarling the seaport from a battleship, but are given the distinct disadvantage of being loaded with Alka Seltzer bullets that dissolve on contact.  This also has exactly the same music as Hammer&Nail, which would have completely passed me by if I hadn’t played them moments after one another, making me wonder how much more cheap repetition is sneaking into this thing noticed.

184. Greeds

Apart from sounding like an indie band who were nominated for Best Newcomer at the Brits in 2004 and then promptly never heard of again, Greeds has very little going for it.  Here, in it’s ongoing quest to do a Faith Brown level impersonation of every game in existence, the Retro Game Controller riffs on the original destroyer of pub conversation, Snake.  Of course, simply replicating Snake wouldn’t be enough, so the game chooses to halve the speed and make the arena twice the size.  As frustratingly tedious as being stuck behind your nan on the stairs.

1. F-22

Fairly innocuous shmup featuring a fighter plane painted in an camouflage confounding shade of pink; like a prop from a special edition of Top Gun that somehow managed to make the film more gay.  Pretty sure I had to fill in an F-22 when I needed a replacement glass recycling box from the council.

DSC_0266

“We need something catchy.  Something that sums up what it means to work here.  Who we are as a company.  Now bear with me here, but I’m thinking 2005SRO6882”

182. Ghost Castle

This actually managed to get me to emit a genuinely excited “ooh” upon loading up the title screen which combined with the name had me expecting a Castlevania variant.  Fortunately, that small glimmer of optimism has been well and truly crushed by yet another shooter; except in this one you can only shoot diagonally!!!  It’s was like getting a Christmas present only to open it and discover it’s a shitty little controller containing 200 unfathomably bad video games.

43. Pizza Boy

The voices in my head take a brief respite from suggesting I kill again to scream “Paper Boy!  It’s going to be like Paper Boy!”  Well, fuck you voices; you may be my nearest and dearest friends but this is actually nothing like it.  Instead this favours a birds eye view of small town where your customers scream for pizza before transforming inexplicably into what appears to be the radioactive hazard symbol.  So take that you powerfully convincing, fictional know-it-alls.  Only joking, love you really.

188. IQ Champion

Despite my ongoing quest to review these games reading like I hate my life and everything in it, what I enjoy is the anticipation that when I select a game I never know what I’m going get.  IQ Champion; probably a puzzle game, right?  Wrong!  It’s another Space Invaders rip off featuring a trademark bothering appropriation of Astro Boy (one of Japan’s biggest cultural icons but I’m sure it’s fine) shooting bees and sentencing us to the honey free apocalypse that hippies keep warning us about.  But my favourite bit is the splash screen yelling “Dongxin Techno Presents” who I’m pretty sure I saw at Glastonbury once on one of the stages that isn’t on any of the maps.

DSC_0268

“Hi and welcome to the Giles Peterson show.  Tonight I have a real treat for you,  the latest choice cut from the Karl Hyde side project Dongxin Techo; real mind altering, challenging stuff.  I’m off to Berlin later.  Last night I was in Cape Town. My life is so much more tendy than yours.   You’re listening to Giles Peterson.  “

Retro Shitty Rampage Part 3

As the very definition of the complete journalistic professional, I have naturally done my research on the Retro Games Controller.  My initial reasoning was to look up a couple of the games to make sure I wasn’t about to make a complete fool of myself by tearing into a game that was beloved by thousands.  “I used to respect Jolly. It really seemed like knew his stuff.  But fancy never having heard of Vangvard?!  Or Mad Xmas!  Let’s burn his house down.”  This was all-too possible scenario I was obviously keen to avoid.

But after countless minutes of furious Googling (including occasions where I felt extra saucy and dared to visit the second page of results) I was drawing blanks.  These games seemed to exist nowhere other than within the tiny confines of the controller.  I did manage to find a result for an alternative version of Police vs Thief, but then that’s such a snappy, catchy title it wouldn’t surprise me if Rockstar dropped GTA and went for PVT instead.

DSC_0048

My extensive notes.  Notice how my handwriting deteriorates the longer I am exposed to the device.

Perhaps the controller doesn’t exist at all.  Perhaps while I think I’m writing arch and terribly witty comments about macho chickens I’m actually giggling in a fetal position on a hospital bed while my wife sadly leaves her wedding ring on the pillow.  Perhaps she’s delighted.  Perhaps this was the plan all along.  Perhaps she’s poisoning me.  It’s certainly a more plausible explanation than someone intentionally making Police Dog Lasy.

191. Lightning

Nothing captures the essence of speed quite like the vaginal discharge of chicken, which is why Lightning sticks some wheels on a pair of eggs and then places them in a terrifying highway pursuit.  To keep the tension high, there’s a brief and yet incredibly irritating musical jingle that plays incessantly; when you press start, break, accelerate, crash, overtake, look at the screen, look away from the screen, use a respiratory system, have a thought, call the Samaritans or run screaming incoherently into the street desperately clawing for help at the nearest stranger.

177. Final Blood

“GET IN, a turret section!”  A familiar cry from gamers from absolutely-fucking-nowhere, which is presumably why we find ourselves strapped to a gun with the turning circle of a tectonic plate firing nectarines at the horizon.  Bonus points for the title which sounds like a kid in the playground inventing a sequel to Rambo.  His Dad saw it when he was in America and it’s not out over here for another three years.

DSC_0050

The regular appearance of these bits in games should obviously be called Turrets Syndrome

120. Baseball New

Bigger boy rounders has been around for over a hundred years now so could probably do with a bit of sprucing up.  And what better way than by replacing the regulation ball with an object that appears to have the mass and density of a collapsing star. It’s also weirdly difficult to get the ball back to your pitcher, so for a good five minutes I got to play a piggy-in-the-middle simulator.

161. Abscondee 

Abscondee is clearly an excellent word that should definitely exist.  Unfortunately, it’s not to be but we’ll always have this maze navigation title staring the extra-terrestrial version of The Hamburgler collecting what appear to be pools of fermenting piss.  Perhaps the bravest feature is that without rhyme nor reason, the buttons sometimes stop working.  It’s the mystery that keeps you hooked.

50. Music Moment

Rhythm action as imagined by Hunter S Thompson; you play a dragon capturing notes in a bowl alongside a crow frozen mid-flight and a cloud twisted into a face from a half-remembered nightmare.  To completely round of the experience of a trip administered by pouring acid directly in your eyeballs, the song, which is bewilderingly delivered by chutes marked 1 to i, cuts out after thirty seconds and starts again.

DSC_0049

Look at that cloud.  Seriously, just look at it.  Then look at the crow.  Then the cloud again.  I know, right?

138. Hexapod New

The Retro Game Controllers widely celebrated Hexapod series naturally begins with Hexapod New.  Here you control your Dad’s home brew kit which is taking a break from smelling weird in the airing cupboard to shoot the fuck out of some fish.  That the title screens exclamation ‘Presents to Start!’ is the least confusing thing about this game speaks volumes.

139. Hexapod War

A quick Google tells me that a hexapod is a six-legged, mechanical vehicle which does little to explain why the only constant between the two games is the presence of fish.  War is actually a less violent game than New and sees you navigating past eels wearing a heartbreakingly depressed expression and the Egyptian hieroglyph for water. Lol random!!! Xx

DSC_0054

You’d be this happy too, if you had a dog’s head on a stick.

26. Wildworm

Painfully slow grape collecting game taking place in front of what appears to be a very stoned oak tree.   Our hero transforms into a shit, then a retro-styled white shit, before eventually becoming a butterfly which leads me to believe that he might not be a worm at all.  As the perennial name flipper Cat Stevens once sang ‘Oooooh baby baby it’s a wildworm’, and you don’t get much wilder worms than caterpillars.  Them be some crazy fuckers.

7. Crystal Ball 

Video games excel at stirring certain reactions from the human body;  a rush of adrenaline, the eureka moment, shameful embarrassment; but few have dared to try and elicit the feeling of lying in bed after a few too many White Lightnings.   Crystal Ball keeps your character dead centre and moves the map around him, perfectly recreating that sensation of staring at a ceiling which refuses to remain still.  In the kind of move that no longer to raises a single hair on my eyebrow, the title screen reads “pindaball” which sounds like my children singing an Oasis song they’ve misheard.

126. Devildom Doom

Featuring the punchline to every Russell Howard joke, a ninja monkey, Devildom Doom is a rather ominous title for a fairly innocent little Bomberman clone. Another game that takes the brave decision to play out in deafening silence, the game over screen is also totally ineligible.  This makes me wonder if the intention was to put the player in the shoes of Helen Keller, who of course famously, sure played a mean pinball.

101. Tunny

Helicopters shuffling through the sky supported by bright green girders.  Player names read John and Rose on the title screen but change to Sonson when you start playing.   The kind of music you get in a Chinese takeaway. Donkey Kong’s head on the body of a spaceman.  Heart, black pokeball, pink bag of money.  I am the eggman.  They are the eggmen.  I am the walrus.  Goo goo g’joob.

DSC_0056

This is the second time in two posts I’ve had an I am the Walrus reference.  Apologies.  Won’t happen again.

82. Fruit Pig

Not the alleged contents of the alleged basket sent to our alleged Prime Minister for hitting his dickhead target this quarter (allegedly), but one of those rarest of things, a decent game on this crappy machine.  Featuring a rather elegantly animated pig (a phrase I hope to use more often in the future), the only minor misstep is that the title screen reads ‘Frutt’; which I believe is a soft drink from the 1993 Wesley Snipes movie Demolition Man.

87. Spar

Unfortunately not the game of running a moderately sized convenience store that we’ve all be clambering for, but a rip off of Nintendo’s universally derided and completely fucking awful Urban Champion. Reskinned so it’s now a pair of goblins fighting under a tree, it has the look of a drunken brawl on a Saturday night in Middle-Earth town centre.

DSC_0053

“Leave ‘im Rackkvlash!  He ain’t worth it!”

2. Racing Fighter

Racing fiiiiighter! Featuring explosive high speed chase, missile based combat action!

Racing fiiiiighter! Includes intense 8-bit remix of classic party banger Ging Gang Goolie!

Racing fiiiiighter! Each playable vehicle contains a terrifying face on the roof!

“Woah!  Check it out!  It’s just like I’m staring into the abyss!”

Go go Racing Fighter!  RACE-ING FIGH-TAH! Each sold separately.

 

105. Goodhand

From team that brought you Viewtiful Jooe and Ookami a stunningly awful platforming fuck ’em off that was presumably programmed by a sadist in the hours immediately following a long haul flight.    A truly exceptional pile of shit, the aim appears to drive your motorbike past the disembodied head of Stewie Griffin so that you can collect a pig in a top hat.  And your reward for enduring ten seconds of this hell?  The first couple of bars of the infamous ear irritant Chopsticks. Really, really fucking awful. [8]

DSC_0052

“And in the markets, Oil is nup 1406 against 21 flurgh on the 8 car 1”

Retro Shitty Rampage Part 2

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.

Controller - Copy

“Guys, guys, the prototype is here!  Wow, it looks great!  Hands in everyone!  And goooooooooo team!”

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.

DSC_0023

It’s a bit like that famous helicopter bit in Modern Warfare, except 100% more fabulous.

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”.

75. Hoodle

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.

DSC_0022

“Honestly Mark, no one will ever notice.”

56. Assart 

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.

195. Meccano 

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.

DSC_0025

“Ho, ho, ho motherfuckers!”

23. Vigilant

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.

DSC_0021

POWER JOY

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.

DSC_0024

“We were happy, De Burgh!  Why couldn’t you just let us be!”

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.

DSC_0026

“Ho, ho, ho mother….no, wait.”

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.’

DSC_0020

“And put a white rectangle off centre in the corner.  Perfect!  We’re done here.”

Retro Shitty Rampage Part 1

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.

DSC_0252

Looks legit.

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.

31. Fishwar
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.

DSC_0250

Alas, the twin fish of Pisces have forever been torn asunder

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.

61. Archery.
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.

3. Vangvard
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.

DSC_0232

Getting a tank to deliver a pizza seems a little excessive

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.”

DSC_0247

“Wats lat Lasy?!  Sumwons trapt in ler wel?!”

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.

DSC_0248

The chicken has a gait reministant of Mick Jagger

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”.

DSC_0242

Yeah…that’s not o.k, is it?