Over 8 million people purchased Halo 3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas sold a whopping 12 million. And Nintendo can’t defecate out Pokémon and “Wii Insert Random Thing To Do Here” games fast enough to completely satisfy the masses. But with all these amazing successes, there have been numerous games and even complete series that have fallen to the wayside. Remember: for every Super Mario Bros., there’s a. As a proud gamer, I feel that it is my privilege—nay, my duty—to take some time and offer a brief glimpse at many of the games that disappeared into bargain bins and trash bins alike due to overshadowing from more prominent titles, as well as titles that will forever remain sequestered within one region of the world. You’d better be prepared to be educated a little, because there is much that you haven’t seen.
January 2011: Block Carnival
HAPPY NEW YEAR, JEFF!
Happy New Year to you, too! So, what did you do to celebrate New Year’s Eve?
PLAYED CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS AND EARNED MYSELF SOME SERIOUSLY ELUSIVE TROPHIES. WHAT ABOUT YOU? WAIT…LEMME GUESS: YOU PLAYED AN OBSCURE VIDEOGAME AND NOW YOU’RE READY TO SHOW US ALL YOUR UNIQUE DISCOVERY.
Actually, my girlfriend and I went out to quite the fancy Italian restaurant for dinner, enjoying fine wine, smooth conversation, and the best pasta around. And by the flicker of the ever-glowing candlelight, we gazed into each other’s eyes and—
STOP, STOP, STOP! I GET IT! YOU DIDN’T SIT ON YOUR ASS AND PLAY GAMES LIKE PATHETIC ME. YOU’RE SO GREAT AND I’M JUST WASTING MY DAMN LIFE. GEEZ, NO WONDER I’M ALWAYS KIND OF PISSED OFF ALL THE TIME. HELL, MY BEST FRIENDS COME IN ORIGINAL AND BBQ RANCH FLAVOURS, FOR GOD’S SAKE.
Sorry there…I didn’t mean to make you jealous…I just—
GET TO THE DAMN GAME.
Er…sure. But before I do, I’d like to reminisce a bit about Thunder & Lightning. It’s an arcade game that came out in 1990 and was released by Visco Games. It wasn’t anything particularly special—it was just one of those Arkanoid clones where the goal is to break all the bricks on screen with a bouncing ball that you have to smack around with a paddle (held by the hip-but-plump Mr. Chin). If you miss the ball, it’s the equivalent of losing a life. Should you—
HELLO! EINSTEIN! WE ALL KNOW WHAT ARKANOID IS ABOUT. WE WEREN’T BORN FRICKIN’ YESTERDAY, MORON. GET TO THE POINT!
Frisky, eh? …anyway, I actually have fond memories about Thunder & Lightning, not because I played it in any arcade. It was ported to the NES, and that was the game I received for my 9th birthday. Luckily, the fun was amped up in the port with crazy flying birds and enemies that throw lightning. Plus, that one tune that’s played through all 30 levels is kickin’, 8-bit jam style. But what I found out recently is that the arcade version actually has a sequel, occasionally referred to as “Thunder & Lightning 2,” but more commonly known as Block Carnival.
BLOCK CARNIVAL…THAT TITLE INTRIGUES ME LIKE AN UNLUBRICATED COLONOSCOPY.
Ha, I forgot all about that. Have your wounds healed yet?
Block Carnival basically takes the same concept as Thunder & Lightning, but takes it in a slightly wackier direction. Instead of controlling Mr. Chin and his paddle, you play the role of Japanese office workers who loves to pirouette upon successful completion of a task (Player 1 is thin, and Player 2…maybe not so much). And instead of breaking blocks with your ball—yes, I realize that sounds dirty—you are breaking…food? And the bosses are food-related as well, ranging from a lobster made of bread to a cornship.
CORNSHIP? ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT MY COLONOSCOPY?
Can you keep it clean?
Anyway, the whole game feels like a cheesy cheap iPhone game. Most of the game has no music, except for random wacky sound effects in the background, including a chipmunk voice shouting, “The bass!” Still, it’s a cute game for what it’s worth. But this one seems a bit more difficult than the rest, especially considering that there’s a time limit. That’s right, a time limit on a ball-bouncing game. And if your time runs out, your little office worker moves upward a bit. Eventually, you may end up halfway up the screen, unable to go back down until you miss your ball or you complete the table. Plus, the ball seems to move faster…or am I just getting older?
HOPEFULLY THE LATTER. SO YOU THINK I SHOULD TRY AND FIGHT THESE BREAD LOBSTERS?
Yeah, if you can actually find Block Carnival in your neighbourhood. Seems highly unlikely, though.
…ARE WE DONE?
Yes. Now you can go back to your Call of Duty and pwn some n00bs. Hey, maybe you’ll meet a n00b gurl!