M.C. Kids/McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure | NES/Mega Drive | 1992/1993
Do we need to explain these three? All three were friendly, cartoony, corporate mascots for a world-devouring purveyor of greasy edible fat-delivery systems, masquerading as heroes within the very kid-targeted video games their company puppet-masters would eventually scapegoat for childhood obesity. Treasure Land Adventure even featured a boss fight in which Ronald battled an apple. We hope that was satire on the part of the developers.
The cholesterol clown has always been first against the wall come the revolution, but thankfully the kids are probably old enough to be tried as adults by now too. One day. One day soon…
Bonus Treasureland Adventure fact: Ronald’s game was actually a very early project and borderline namesake for famed and respected Japanese developer Treasure. Treasure is notorious for infusing its games with references to its love of greasy fast food, having also created Lardian Heroes and Radiant Silverbun.
Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure | Mega Drive/SNES | 1994/1995
There’s edgy, and then there’s just plain cretinous. And Boogerman was not edgy.
Completely mistaking attitude for general unpleasantness, Interplay produced one of the most patronising and insulting video game heroes of the decade. Hey, all the kids really want is snot and poop, right, so why not make a game based around flicking boogers and farting at enemies?
Because it’s a shit idea, that’s why.
Released around the same time as Earthworm Jim, Boogerman was like the worm's embarrassing idiot brother, inheriting his conceits of smooth, expressive cartoon animation and cool, quirky soundtrack, but wasting them on utter stupidity in place of Jim’s genuinely witty abstract comedy. Unsurpringly, Interplay later went on to acquire the rights to the actual, genuine Earthworm Jim and buggered things up entirely with Earthworm Jim 3D.
Bonus booger fact: Contrary to this game’s lies, the impact of a flicked booger is not lethal. Hence the general lack of eight-year-old boys within the world’s prison systems.
The Gex trilogy | Multi | 1995 - 1999
There’s a fine line between having issues and being a self-indulgent prick. Gex tripped straight over that line and broke every bone in his stupid face. Then probably whined self-indulgently about it.
Spending his life in a self-induced media-coma in front of the TV after the death of his father, Gex was so obstinate in his self-pitying televisual addiction that he greeted his mother’s attempts at weaning him off the screen by running away from home. Yes. To spite his mother’s help, he chose homelessness. And homeless people don’t even have TVs!
And did we mention that he only reinitiated contact with her after she told him that they’d inherited a life-changing amount of money? And that he used his share to buy a mansion and a huge TV to veg out in front of once again? And that he only helped out in the sequel in exchange for another big pile of money?
But hey, you know, it’s okay. He was 'cool'. He had a pair of sunglasses, and a sneery grin and a load of one-liners. He was just like Jack Nicholson if Jack Nicholson was a lizard and crap.
Bonus Gex fact: The only thing that redeemed Gex was being voiced by veteran British actor and much-loved cad Leslie Phillips in the Euro edition of his second game. Although none of the Gex games were strictly awful, a game based around playing Leslie Phillips himself would have been far better. Doubly so if an unlockable Terry Thomas had been included.
Spot: The Video Game!/Cool Spot/Spot Goes to Hollywood | Multi | 1990/1993/1995
Although its continued reverence is inexplicable, Cool Spot’s eponymous SNES and Mega Drive platformer was certainly far from a bad game. What was bad though, was Spot’s inherent lack of personality. Slick animation, laid-back demeanour and acrobatic platform skills are all well and good, but sadly all of these assets were directed towards nothing more than a nebulous sense of non-specific ‘90s cool. And with his personality amounting to little more than the fact that he wore sunglasses, genuinely cool Spot could never be.
Also, he exists only to sell fizzy sugar water to children.
Bonus Cool Spot fact: Spot’s first two games were designed by now-respected big name talent. His 1990 NES puzzler was coded by Graeme Devine, of Quake III, Doom 3 and Halo Wars fame, while Cool Spot was coded by Dave Perry and had a soundtrack by Tommy Tallarico, meaning that two thirds of the Earthworm Jim design trilogy of awesome were involved. Sadly, without the inspired madness of EWJ creator Doug TenNapel, Cool Spot was only good, rather than amazing.
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