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 Shutokou Battle 2: Drift King Keichii Tsuchiya & Masaaki Bandoh. 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.
September 2011: Motoko-chan no Wonder Kitchen
CRAP, AM I STILL IN THIS COLUMN?
I’m afraid so. Is that a problem?
WELL, UH…IT’S NOT THAT…I JUST FEEL TRAPPED HERE…ISN’T THERE ANYBODY ELSE AT GAMECOLA WHO WOULD WORK WITH ME? I CAN PLAY A VARIETY OF DRAMATIC AND COMEDIC ROLES ALIKE; I DO NUDE SCENES IF THEY’RE INTEGRAL TO THE COLUMN…
Nope, I’m afraid not. The rest of the staff is too busy marrying each other to have any time for you. But c’mon, we’re a team! We’re like the modern-day Laurel and Hardy! Abbott and Costello! Laverne and Shirley!
MMM, ALL RIGHT. BUT YOU’RE GOING TO BE LAVERNE. YOU HAVE THE NOSE FOR IT.
*sigh* Fine. Well, do you want to check out this month’s obscure game?
SURE. …ER, HOLD ON. I’M HUNGRY.
Hungry, you say…
OH GOODNESS, NOT AGAIN. EVERY TIME I MENTION SOMETHING FROM MY PERSONAL LIFE LIKE THIS, YOU HAVE A GAME FOR IT! YOU’RE A FRIGGIN’ PSYCHIC… OR A PSYCHO’S MORE LIKE IT! ALL RIGHT, LAY IT ON ME. IT’S A COOKING GAME, ISN’T IT…
You bet! It’s Motoko-chan no Wonder Kitchen for the Super Famicom! Not only is this an obscure game, but a rare one at that. Believe it or not, there was a brief period in September 1993 when this game was made available only to those buying Ajinomoto-brand mayonnaise in Japan. The game is somewhat of an advertising gimmick—if you couldn’t figure that one out already—showing off some fine name-brand products available from local supermarkets.
You play as Motoko, who is trying to teach you about the deep and exciting history of…no, not Feudal Japan…I’m talking about mayonnaise. That’s right: gamers had to suffer through not only another putrid edu-tainment title, but a game dedicated to mayonnaise, nature’s antithesis to human wellness. Anyway, you start having to visit all these fantasy lands to pick up all the ingredients on your shopping list so you can start cooking. I ended up going to a castle in the clouds, a rainforest, and a pirate ship, just so I could find some stupid vegetables and tuna hidden amongst the foliage, à la Where’s Waldo, only with food.
THIS SOUNDS STUPID.
It is. And it’s pretty trippy, too. In my first minute of playing, I encountered sausages that stood up on their own and turned into dwarves, vegetables that made sexual noises, and a memo-delivering penguin. I tell you, mayonnaise is worse than marijuana. But the worst was yet to come when I finally amalgamated all my ingredients. Sadly, I cannot read Japanese text, so when it was giving me the recipe, I had to follow the directions… and by the second or third instruction, I was absolutely lost. I had chopped a tomato in half, scooped out the innards, and put the remaining shells on a plate. But then what? Nothing seemed to work! So at that point, I just said, “The hell with this. I’m going to go make a real meal.” Ten minutes later, I was eating ramen noodles in my boxer shorts.
THAT’S SOME SWEET INFORMATION YOU GAVE US THERE. THE MENTAL PICTURE MADE MY BRAIN TURN TO RAMEN.
Sorry. Anyway, if you find it, pick it up only for its rarity, not for its content, because it hardly qualifies as fun. Plus you can’t eat the end result, and you probably won’t enjoy learning about the history of mayonnaise.
HEY, I’D ENJOY LEARNING ABOUT MAYONNAISE, PAL.
Well, you’re fictional. You have no sense of decency.