Publisher: LJN
Year: 1987
Genre: Shmup, Static

Jaws, the film, was about a shark that ate people. More than that, Jaws was about human conflict, fear of the unknown, fear of nature and fear of stagnation. The video game is still about a shark that eats people, but that’s really about it. Oh, and ecoterrorism. I’m pretty sure you play an ecoterrorist.

Dah-DUH… dah-DUH…

Like virtually all video games based on movies, Jaws is terrible and has little to do with the source material. In it, you are a fishing trawler / diver who must kill hundreds of jellyfish, manta ray and small sharks to collect enough shells to upgrade your weapons so you can kill Jaws. Like any good ecoterrorism simulator, there is a mini game where you drop bombs from a biplane onto dancing jellyfish.

Pictured: Not riveting gameplay

John’s Rating: 1.5 out of 5.0. The gameplay is monotonous and dull, the “plot” in no way resembles that of the actual Jaws film or book and you never get a bigger boat, which was one of the shortcomings of the movie the game could have addressed.


Year: 1986
Genre: Platform – Static
Publisher: Nintendo

Pope ye, pope ye!
Pope ye, pope ye!

As you should be well aware, Miyamoto made Donkey Kong in 1981 because Nintendo couldn’t get the contract to do a Popeye game even though they had already designed it. Shortly thereafter (1982) Nintendo got the rights to do Popeye. In other words, if they had waited just one year to publish, one of two things would happen: either one (or even two) of Nintendo’s most popular franchises would have never existed, or Popeye would now be a character in the newest Super Smash Bros. game.

Pictured - the sort of hijinks that would have been knee-slapping good back in 1930.
Pictured – the sort of hijinks that would have been knee-slapping good in 1930.

This is a game wherein you are a sailor with superpowers, the source of which is eating his veggies. Your ham-fisted foe is Bluto, an engine of pure hatred so mean he had a dream he beat himself up, and if you get that reference, I’m very, very sorry. Anyway, apart from Bluto, and the occasional aggressive bird, the only thing that can kill you is not picking up absolutely everything that your stringbeany girlfriend Olive Oyl drops from the sky onto you, be it hearts (representing, I dunno, blood for a life-saving transfusion), musical notes (her magnum opus, no doubt) or letters to the word HELP (which can be caught in any order and are used to build some sort of metaphysical ladder of assistance).

John’s Rating: 2.0 out of 5.0. There’s no variety in the enemies, and the same basic patterns handily confuse the hell out of poor, stupid Bluto time and time again. There’s no challenge and nothing to look forward to except the same endless pattern of three levels. And before the obvious argument is made, please try to remember that Donkey Kong at least had little bonus bits your could pick up, more than one variety of enemy and more than one way to beat the levels. That warrants at least a one point boost.

Mario Bros.

Publisher: Nintendo
Year: 1986
Genre: Static Platformer
(Not to be confused with Super Mario Bros.)

We’ve already spoken of the origin of Mario and the glory that is Super Mario Bros., so it seems almost redundant (or ill-placed) that the prequel should come after the original, and yet – here we are, looking at Mario Bros., the game that introduced Segale’s digital doppelgänger to the world.

But did very little for the state of Nintendo's sorry title screens.
But did very little for the state of Nintendo’s sorry title screens.

Continue reading “Mario Bros.”

Balloon Fight

Year: 1986
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Platform

Remember when you were a kid and balloons, powered by your imagination, could hoist you off the ground and into the stratosphere? Well, screw you, kid! That requires about a fafrillion balloons because physics, bitch! But you know where one can frequently take refuge from the doldrums of everyday physical reality? Video games, that’s where!

Moar liek physics atrocity, amiright?
Moar liek physics atrocity, amiright?

Continue reading “Balloon Fight”