Baby's Day Out (Sega Genesis)Baby's Day Out was a film about a baby crawling through a city on its own. It was a schizophrenic mess that couldn't decide whether it was a movie, a cartoon, or a snuff film for toddlers. Despite the delicate issue of infant safety, the film bravely attacked the subject of killing babies with the humorlessness of a plastic bag warning label. The licensed game had a lot to live up to. It had to be categorically insane, have no idea what the hell it wanted to be, and simulate a 5th trimester abortion. It succeeded.
In the game version of Baby's Day Out, you don't play the baby. The baby has been left alone to crawl. Instead, you play a poltergeist in charge of helping it reach its goal. At the start of every level, the baby is safely confined in an enclosed area and it's your job to ruin that. You open gates for it, lure it up ladders, and let it fall off ledges until it succeeds. It's the kind of fucked up game that Chinese mothers would describe as "Normal Everyday Baby Raise."
The baby takes so many 30 foot falls in this game that it doesn't really matter where you lead it to, it's going to end the day in a dumpster. You are absolutely the bad guy in Baby's Day Out. And to add to the creepy mood, the graphics make a bizarre, half-assed attempt at realism. It looks like they animated it with photocopies of a baby doll, which is coincidentally the exact way a dog speaking in the tongue of man would tell you to do it. The only whimsical thing in this game is your ghost's cartoon eyes, at least until they detach from your head. They should have released this game simply to have marketing statistics on which video game consumers also own headless teen runaways.
Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill (Super Nintendo & Sega Genesis)
Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill was a game based on President Clinton's cat keeping the nuclear launch codes out of the hands of evil ex-presidents. It was developed and never released by Kaneko, because the Japanese are who you go to when you want American political satire and nice light-hearted nuclear weapon comedy.
I don't want my political views to slant this video game review too much, but I always thought a cat was a strange pet for Clinton to have. When you're the most powerful man on the planet and you're stuffing cigars into fours, you're at least a sex addict and shouldn't own a pet that vibrates on your lap. Think about an average day for Socks the Cat. Not since Prince of Persia have gamers controlled a character that has spent so much of his or her life rubbing against boners.
Even Nintendo Power couldn't get excited about this game, and that was the kind of magazine that could do an 8 page feature on Care Bears Care Quest. Nintendo Power reviewed games the same way Helen Keller masturbated-- indiscriminately and with an unbreakable positive spirit. For example, the only criticism they had for Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball was that the label came off after a single six hour kiss. Yet when they previewed Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill they panned it. They panned it on the same page as an excited sneak peek at Rex Ronan: Experimental Surgeon, an educational game about lung cancer awareness. This shit was so bad that Nintendo Power seemed to be going out of its way to say it loved literally everything exceptSocks the Cat Rocks the Hill.
Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors (SegaCD)Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors was made entirely out of minigames designed to fuck with your friends and perform magic tricks. For example, Mofo the Psychic Gorilla is a game about convincing a second player that an on-screen gorilla can read his or her mind. You do this by first studying 6 pages of the manual, practicing basic sleight-of-hand and misdirection, and then asking your friend to select a card from a deck (sold separately). The trick requires you to actually get a look at the card they picked and then press a bunch of buttons on their controller under the guise of "helping" them. If done properly, this causes the gorilla to guess their card! This isn't exactly kill-that-sorcerer magic. Your friend will probably figure it had something to do with that time you peeked at their card and then pressed all those buttons. It's so absurd that this would impress anyone that I think Penn and Teller are operating under the assumption that gamers are god damn idiots. Damn, a group of people buys 9.8 million copies of Shaq-Fu and all of a sudden they're marked as suckers.
It was never released, probably because the people who had a Sega CD and the people who had a friend lived in two very different Venn diagrams. Plus, I think punched is the best-case-scenario when tricking your friend with a video game.
Smoke and Mirrors is most famous for a minigame called Desert Bus, a sarcastic response to Janet Reno and the anti-violent video game legislation at the time. You play a bus driver that has to drive, under 45 mph, from Tucson to Vegas. The trip takes 8 hours in real time and the poorly-aligned bus drifts off the road if you aren't paying attention. If that happens you're towed, in real time, back to the starting point. If you finish the soul-crushing trip, you are rewarded with 00000001 point and the opportunity to drive back to Tucson. But you know, even without the wit, it's still more fun than Waterworld.