While most British home video game characters were busy skiing or mowing the lawn, the 1980′s were a dangerous time to live in an arcade game. I’m not talking about whimsical titles like Bubble Bobble or Rodland. There were some very real dangers lurking inside many of those old arcade cabinets.
The very lives of your arcade friends and relatives were in danger. At any moment, they could be kidnapped by…
…a great, big, smelly ape!
Nintendo’s enormously successful Donkey Kong in 1981 was the first game to feature Mario, although he had the incredibly imaginative name of “Jump Man” back then. Jump Man. Who wouldn’t want to play Super Jump Man Galaxy?
In Donkey Kong, Jump Man’s pet ape has gone mad and kidnapped his girlfriend, taking her to the top of an unfinished building in a construction yard for some unexplained reason. They also didn’t feel the need to explain anything about the person you were supposed to rescue, as they didn’t even bother giving the girlfriend a name. She was referred to only as “Lady”, but she was eventually given the name Pauline in later releases.
To win, Mar-, sorry, Jump Man must climb to the top of the building, avoiding the barrels thrown at him by Donkey Kong, and rescue Pauline by…well, I don’t know what he actually does, because Kong just grabs her and buggers off to the next level.
The second level takes place in some kind of pie factory if I remember correctly. I don’t think I ever made it past that level, as it usually depleted my supply of 10p coins before I could finish it. What? Come on, I was six years old when it came out.
But anyway, Mario is no stranger to bad luck in love. He usually runs afoul of…
…a great, big, spiky turtle thing!
I couldn’t possibly talk about kidnapping without mentioning video games’ leading dicksplash, Bowser. Before you say anything, I’m including him here because there WAS an arcade release of Super Mario Bros.
Mario’s second love interest, Princess Peach, has been kidnapped by Bowser so many times, that it’s easy to suspect that she’s secretly hankering for some turtle-sausage. Nobody in the history of the Universe is so rubbish at not getting kidnapped.
I like to think that once every few years, Mario receives yet another phone call from the Mushroom Kingdom, sighs, dejectedly pulls on his plumber suit, and prepares to risk his life to rescue this absolute bellend of a princess again. And for what? He never seems to get a reward other than the scraps of coin he picks up along the way. He must also know that his efforts are utterly futile, as she’s only going to get herself kidnapped again eventually anyway.
Next time you defeat Bowser, Mario, just shoot him in the head or something. Save some time and learn from your mistakes.
Although that won’t make video games from the 1980′s any safer. You also have to be on the lookout for…
In the 1980′s nary a day would go by without a gang of mulletted street punks in vests stealing your girlfriend and taking her to their not-so-secret headquarters, again, for no adequately explained reason.
So what would you do in this situation? Call the police? This is the Eighties, my friend. What we do here is punch the snot out of every living thing between us and the ringleader behind this bullshit. We’ll pause only to eat food out of dustbins to replenish our health.
Your trek will take you on a tour of the slummier parts of a Generic American City. We’ll go via the docks, an abandoned steel mill, an empty warehouse, a few back alleys, and maybe even a casino. If you’re lucky, there will be an extremely long elevator ride too, with Street Punks jumping at you from all directions.
In the end, the trail of henchmen will lead you to the final boss, who always has some kind of cheap trick like a gun or a jetpack. You have two tricks of your own at your disposal though. Stubbornness and a pocket full of 10p coins. As luck would have it, the boss will always attack in regular patterns that will prove to be his ultimate downfall. Eventually, you’ll find the technique to finish him off and save the day. (I say him as it’s never a her.)
Reunited with your girlfriend, and with a pocket bereft of 10p coins, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s OK to relax now. No chance, pal.
Remember, this is the 1980′s. The golden age of our ultimate adversary…
It’s not often that a man gets kidnapped in a video game, but when he does, you can bet your arse it’s the damn president! The plot of Bad Dudes vs Dragonninja is this. I quote:
“Rampant ninja related crimes these days. Whitehouse is not the exception. The president has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?”
Bad Dudes vs Dragonninja is possibly the most Eighties game ever released. Kidnap! Ninjas! Big Trucks! Muscle Men in Vests! The Fat Bloke from Karnov! To be more Eighties than this, it would need to feature Rick Astley driving a Transformer that turns into the car from Ghostbusters.
Once again, the plan of action is to give every last ninja between you and the president a damn good smack in the chops. At the end of each level, there is a standard issue boss fight, which finishes with your character fist pumping the air and stating “I’m bad!” Yes, sir, you are indeed.
So, in the end, you’ve killed every last ninja in the city, you’ve proven yourself to be a Bad Enough Dude, and you’ve rescued the president. What is your reward for this exceptional Bad-Dudery? Any other game would give you a simple “Congratulations” message. Not this one. I shit you not when I tell you that your reward is being taken out for a burger by the president.
It simply doesn’t get Baddery-Dudier than that.
As you can see, the 1980′s were a very dangerous time to live in an arcade game. Save your 10p coins! It’s not worth the risk. Stay home. Stay safe.
I certainly will. I’ve got a lawn to mow anyway.