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VIDEO GAME, MOVIE AND TV NEWS

The Top 7... Secret shame games

2. Target: Terror  

What the hell is this? An absurd, unfun, and just plain distasteful on-rails arcade lightgun game based on the "War on Terror."

Whose fault is it? Eugene Jarvis, creator of Defender, Robotron, and the Cruis'n series.

What happened? Jarvis's name will forever be immortalized in gaming history as a pioneer in game design. His breakout hit, Defender, inspired countless space shooters to follow in its wake and Robotron 2084 - which ultimately gave rise to Geometry Wars - remains a favorite of retrogamers the world over. Throughout the late '80s and mid-'90s, Jarvis continued to produce popular and profitable arcade games for Midway, including NARC, Smash TV, and the Cruis'n series.

After Cruis'n, Jarvis became eerily quiet for quite some time, and he seemed poised to vanish into the mists of industry legend as one of the greats. In 2004, however, Jarvis re-emerged to announce a brand-new game from his arcade development company, Raw Thrills, being designed in hopes of taking arcades off of life support. People were genuinely excited until they saw what this project actually was.

We don't even need to go into detail of what's wrong with Target: Terror. Besides butt-ugly digitized graphics that would have been dated-looking a decade ago and gameplay that wades strictly in the shallow end of the pool, the whole terrorism theme comes off as shockingly tasteless. We've not here to do any sort of grandstanding (and Jarvis himself refuses to say whether or not T:T is a political statement), but when the final stage features you shooting down suicidal terrorists in an airplane set to crash into the White House, it's hard not to feel a bit queasy... particularly when it looks so cheesy.



Aftermath: Target: Terror received an upgrade kit a year after its 2004 release, but it still didn't get too much media attention, primarily due to it being an arcade game. Few people even know of Eugene Jarvis's involvement with the title, and those that do still don't quite understand it. At least Raw Thrills' follow-up game, The Fast and the Furious, was considerably better - but it's still a far cry from Jarvis's past output.