Ten Weird Nintendo NES Games That Time Forgot

The ritual involved blowing into the cartridge, then the console, then the cartridge again, and inserting the cartridge just enough so that it snagged the edge of the console on its way down into to the satisfying springform click of its bed. That was long ago, but Roger Norquist and Jay Gillespie's Videogames. Live! — in which a bunch of comedians, emcees and general degenerates gather to play old-school games and talk shit — got us thinking about those old gaming rites, and with them, all the weird crap we used to play. Videogames. Live! is free at the Deer Pile tomorrow night. In the meantime, a blast from your gaming past:

1. Hatris
Have you ever wanted to play Tetris... WITH HATS!? Evidently fresh out of ideas, the creators of Tetris issued this one in 1992, followed in subsequent years by Fruitris, Municipal Public Servantris and the sorely misconceived Buttris.

2. Bad Dudes VS. DragonNinja
Oh shit, ninjas are everywhere! Now they went and kidnapped Ronald Reagan, and the only dudes bad enough to rescue him, apparently, are these two degenerates the FBI just recruited in a bar! "President Ronnie has been captured by the ninjas," Bad Dudes VS. DragonNinja informs us. "Are you bad enough to rescue Ronnie?" Only vigorous gameplay will tell.

3. A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia

Video game development pitch, c. 1989:

"Picture a world where people keep amorphous blobs for pets."

"I'm with you so far. Tell me more."

"That's it."

"Green light."

4. Dynowarz: Destruction of Spondylus
Even for Nintendo c. 1990, the plot of Dynowarz was just incredibly convoluted. It's robot dinosaurs... in another solar system... masterminded by a professor... who must do battle with another professor named Dr. Brainius. Bottom line: players could choose to play as either Dr. Proteus or a Cyborosaurus, the ultimate Robosaur. Sadly, the data on which option was more popular has been lost to time.

5. Genghis Khan
I couldn't possibly say this better than the Wikipedia page: "The game takes the player inside the virtual life of either Genghis Khan or one of his archrivals. The player must arrange marriages, father children, appoint family members to governmental positions, and fight." Sounds too much like real life, amiright? Probably the reason it didn't take off.

6. Harlem Globetrotters
The gameplay fulfillment of everyone's wildest dreams: players can choose to be the Globetrotters or the Washington Generals. Players could also pull down the referee's pants.

7. Totally Rad
Your basic girlfriend-gets-kidnapped-by-evil-king-caper-which-actually-turns-out-to-be-a-plot-to-ensnare-her-scientist-father-type plot, except with bodacious surfer lingo to increase street cred.

8. John Elway's Quarterback
Originally named Quarterback until it was endorsed by our own John Elway in 1988 and renamed. Why this particular game merited Elway's endorsement is less clear, but maybe it was because offense was basically unbeatable, making it a real bummer if you got stuck playing defense in two-player mode.

9. Kid Klown in Night Mayor World
Originally released in Japan as a Mickey Mouse game featuring a bizarre plot in which Mickey must rescue Minnie from a nightmare by journeying into her mind, the game was adapted, due to copyright issues, for the U.S. as a game with basically the same plot, except instead of Mickey Mouse, a clown. 

10. Noah's Ark
Basically the familiar Bible story, but spruced up with powerups, ducks that for some reason provide weapons, and an epic end-battle with a drainplug monster, which is way radder than a dove with an olive branch or whatever.

Follow Jef Otte on Twitter!

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte