Video games based on real life food products — those have just got to be terrible right? I mean, game makers regularly manage to bungle fantastic movies, TV shows and comics, what chance does friggin’ Ronald McDonald have? Better than you might think.
Believe it or not there have been a number of downright decent games designed to sell junk food. Good even! In fact, junk food games may have a better quality-to-crap ratio than almost any other kind of licensed games. Why? I’m not sure — I guess video game developers just find McDonalds and Cheetos inspiring.
Hit the jump for some of my favorite food games…
Tapper has always been one of my favorite old-school arcade games — I’ll take it over Space Invaders or Pac-Man any day. Most of you probably played the game as Root Beer Tapper, but originally it was just plain ol’ Tapper and was sponsored by Budweiser. Early 80s video games knew how to have fun man.
Oh M.C. Kids — if you asked 10-year-old me to list the best NES platformers, I’d tell you without hesitation that my favorite was, of course, Mario 3, but that my very solid second favorite was M.C. Kids. Number three would have been the Sunsoft Batman game. What? We didn’t have the Internet back then — you were allowed to like whatever you wanted.
But it’s not all dumb-kid nostalgia talking — M.C Kids is a legit good game, with solid controls, and things you didn’t expect from licensed games back then, like a world map and level design complex enough to accommodate secrets and collectibles. It was also fairly trippy, featuring stuff like the ability to reverse gravity and run around on the ceiling, a moon stage and lots of slightly unsettling zipper doors.
McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure
McDonald’s was on a bit of a good-game streak back in early 90s, weren’t they? McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure was, believe it or not, developed by Treasure, the legendary Japanese company responsible for super hardcore action fare like Gunstar Heroes and Radiant Silvergun. Everybody’s gotta pay the bills I suppose.
Remember when people were totally into the 7-Up mascot? Some marketing guy took the spot from the 7-Up logo, gave it some sunglasses and sneakers and people were all “holy s–t, I want that on an oversized t-shirt and painter’s cap, right now.” Oh, the 90s.
So, when the 7-Up Spot got a game, it was a big deal. They had TV ads for the game and game magazines devoted numerous pages to it. I was excited for this s–t, and lo and behold, the game turned out to be pretty darn good.
Cool Spot was developed by Virgin Interactive, the company behind most of the good licensed games on the Genesis. Remember how Disney games were always better on Genesis? That was Virgin’s doing. So yes, for a brief, shining moment in the early-90s, a licensed junk food game was a legit big deal and Genesis system seller.
Chester Cheetah: Too Cool To Fool
Okay, this is probably going to be the most controversial inclusion on the list. Today Chester Cheetah: Too Cool To Fool is mostly known for its inept 90s faux-cool lingo meets Engrish localization, but I legitimately enjoyed it back in the day. It’s just got such a wacky art style and I really liked Chester’s exaggerated animations. It didn’t play terribly either, although it’s difficulty level was downright cheesy (I’m very sorry).
Now here’s a weird one — Darkened Skye is a stealth junk food game. It’s designed to look like a regular, mainstream action-adventure game, but in reality it’s about Skittles. You know, those tasty, waxy fruit-flavored pellets. See, Skittles power the game’s magic system, because they’re magically delicious dammit.
The game actually got pretty solid reviews, and I recall it being totally acceptable fun. Oh, also comic artist Joe Madureira designed the game’s characters. So, basically, Darkened Skye is Darksiders with more Skittles. Sounds good to me.
So there you are, six utterly soulless, junk food peddling games that were actually pretty fun. Any licensed food games that you’ve particularly enjoyed that I didn’t list? Let the world know below (although fair warning, any pro-Yo! Noid comments will be deleted).