The Insane Stories Implied by 4 Misleading Video Game Covers
Recently, I dove deep into the ridiculous world of video game box art. In my research, I came across a number of magnificently absurd pieces of cover art that are at once confusing, frustrating, and deeply entertaining -- but above all, truly awful. Box art is supposed to give me a rudimentary idea of what I'm going to be getting myself into before I play the game. A lot of times, I had no idea what in the holy hell I was looking at. With no concrete explanations, and with absolutely no desire to investigate what these games might actually be about, I started making up what their plots might be based solely on what was shown on the cover.
Here's what I came up with ...
Pit-Fighter (Super Nintendo, 1990)
There's a lot going on here, so let's start off with who I assume is the main character, this guy:
I'm going to call him Powers Picklesausage, because his legs look like a jar of pickled sausages.
Powers Picklesausage did not enter a tournament of the world's best fighters. He is not a part of an underground fight club. At no point is he even aware he's physically accosting another person. No -- Powers Picklesausage moves from one shady abandoned warehouse to another in pursuit of a fly, grabbing at it with furious clenched fists moving at the speed of kill. The trail of dead he inadvertently leaves in his wake is immense and tragic.
Powers Picklesausage is kind of an idiot, really. A Mr. Magoo-type who is entirely unaware of the mayhem he's causing. As the box art indicates, Powers Picklesausage happens upon an underground fetish orgy run by a secret society hellbent on taking over America. Powers Picklesausage is the wrench thrown into their plans. One by one, the secret society of fetish weirdos attempt to attack Powers Picklesausage, thinking he's a government operative. Their efforts are to no avail. Powers Picklesausage is just too quick, just too strong, just too focused on catching that wily fly. Every time a fetish weirdo in chains and shorts so small you absolutely know his balls are hanging out of the bottom -- like the guy on the box art, whose balls should be dangling out of his short-shorts and rag-dolling in the air from the momentum of the punch -- whenever one of those guys steps up to fight, the fly makes a move that forces Powers Picklesausage to react with a perfectly placed punch or block.
Feel free to Photoshop your balls in here.
To better visualize Powers Picklesausage's fighting style, imagine this: a bear doing Muay Thai while trying to navigate through a dark hallway. And then there's a fly.
Things go on like this for about 40 hours of gameplay, until we get to the climactic final battle: Powers Picklesausage vs. an army of fetish weirdos. Fetish weirdos with ball gags. Fetish weirdos in ass-less chaps. Fetish weirdos stuffed with butt plugs that are ornately feathered, making them look like beautiful peacocks. Fetish weirdos who look totally normal but really like getting peed on. They all descend on Powers Picklesausage for one massive fight. Here's the twist: the fight takes place in a garbage dump, the headquarters for the secret evil fetish orgy cult of world domination. Where there's trash, there are flies. And where there are flies, there's Powers Picklesausage. As the fight begins, the fly calls upon his fly brethren to aid him in his battle against this meaty, sausage-legged idiot who won't leave him alone. His fists are a blur. There are so many flies to grab, so much fury with which he must grab them.
One by one, he grabs the flies. In his palm, squish. Palm, squish. Palm, squish. Finally, it ends. His palms stained black from fly guts. His knuckles red from the blood of the fetish army he's only now aware he's slain. What? Bu- but ... how? When he snaps out of his fly trance, he sees the death he's caused. He cries so much. He's really quite a sensitive man. He wouldn't harm a fly. Metaphorically.
Street Sports Baseball (Commodore 64, 1987)
Not all games are happy-go-lucky romps. Some games get real. Based solely off its cover art, I assume Street Sports Baseball tackles the tough subject of men who ejaculate when they swing bats. It's an affliction that affects zero people in the real world. But within the fictionalized world of gritty street baseball, where cut-off shirts on men are a hallmark of heterosexuality and black people are forced to squat beside garbage if they hope to play, it is indeed tough on the streets for men who, when they swing bats, also ejaculate.
"Uh-hg-uuhhhh- aaahhh ..."
You play as Squirt Batsmen, a regular on the street baseball circuit. His days are spent selling boomboxes at Circuit City, but at midday (when his 8 to 3 shift ends) he rips away his work uniform and dons the attire of a sexual boy-toy to a closeted Russian mob kingpin.
Jizzing all over yourself when you perform a specific nonsexual movement may sound like a dirty miracle to you, but imagine the anxiety it could riddle someone with. Hitting a baseball takes great concentration and timing. Now throw cumming into it. That's Squirt's struggle. Most players have to worry only about trash-talk and the pressure of the situation. Squirt deals with that, plus an involuntary and momentarily debilitating sexual pleasure brought on by quickly moving a piece of wood from one part of his body to another. You try multitasking when every atom in your body is solely focused on expelling semen. He may be in the throes of baseball-induced orgasmic pleasure on the cover, but you can see a tinge of sorrow in that face.
On the alternate box art, the tinge explodes into full-on ejaculatory torment:
Squirt Batsmen just wants to win a street baseball championship. When the game is on the line in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and the tying run on third, will you be able to fight back the Ejackometer with a mad mashing of the B button long enough to hit the ball with a sudden pressing of A, or will you cum all over yourself?
Flying Dragon (Nintendo, 1989)
Long before Dance Dance Revolution and Just Dance and Dance Central and Dancey Dance McDance-Dance 64, there was Flying Dragon. Flying Dragon is, I'm sure, not a dance game. It is probably a game where a dick in a gi punches other dicks in much more elaborate gis, or whatever the plural of gi is.
I'll be damned if I don't look at the cover art for Flying Dragon and see a game about a gi-clad white guy battle-dancing a dragon. The main character, whom I will name Dre-gon Funkfoot, isn't delivering a mighty kick. His stance is way too fucked for a kick. No -- that dude's eyes are closed, and he's feeling the funk that flows through his veins. That is the still image of a man dancing like if he doesn't a dragon will eat a mountain --his mountain.
And so, we have our premise: Dre-gon Funkfoot lives alone atop a mountain. He passes the time by putting the finishing touches on his life's work -- a dance that combines the beauty of battle with the brutality of Kevin Bacon's warehouse dance scene in Footloose. In fact, I'm pretty sure Flying Dragon is just a Chinese bootleg of Footloose.
You know what? Let's just make a Footloose game.
Dre-gon Funkfoot's work is interrupted when Funkflame the Dragon awakes from his 1,000-year slumber to feast upon the mountain. But that's Dre-Gon Funkfoot's mountain. Clearly, these guys are at odds over what to do about this mountain. So, Dre-gon Funkfoot busts a move in protest. Funkflame is intrigued, then pissed. He's a dragon, not a loser; Funkflame knows how to cut a rug. He can recognize the challenge thrown down by Dre-gon delivered in the form of some funky-fresh moves punctuated with a dope-ass self-hug pose. So, they dance. That's it. End of game.That's not really much of a game. That's one boss fight at best. But I'm confident that we can adequately expand upon the world and its lore in subsequent downloadable content releases. Just think of all the alternate gis we could make people buy. So many gis.
Planetfall (Atari ST, 1983)
With a name like Planetfall, you'd think the cover wouldn't feature a space janitor. Yet, Planetfall's box art defies the naysayers, and damn it -- they put a space janitor on the cover of their game, even after numerous threats of violence from the marketing department. I have no idea what this game is actually about. I also don't care. Give me a man in a Daft Punk helmet holding a bucket and mop while running away from a meteor shower and I've got all I need to make some shit up. So let's get to it.
First off, this guy needs a name. Something appropriate. Something spacey, futurey, and janitory. Let's go with Ajax Fabuloso. Has a nice ring to it.
Ajax Fabuloso is a space janitor. But not just any space janitor. Ajax Fabuloso is the LAST SPACE JANITOR-tor-tor. The last in a long, proud lineage of intergalactic shit scrubbers, genetically engineered to be the most effective and efficient cleaners of grime the universe has ever seen. Sadly, due to many advancements made in the fields of Roomba robotics, the janitorial race has been in steady decline, even falling into myth in parts of the 'verse.
Basically, imagine if Obi-Wan were the main character of Star Wars. The last of a storied order of warriors, he now lives in seclusion. Dire circumstances thrust him back into the struggle he walked away from years prior. But he has a mop instead of a lightsaber -- a mop he hasn't picked up in years.
What happens when humanity's highly advanced Roomba slaves become aware of their lot in life? They rebel. The Roombas that have kept human civilization spotless unload a century's worth of trash and dirt upon us across all human inhabited worlds. The vacuums want to make us filthy, as dirty as they are on the inside, and we're powerless to stop them. It's been years since any human has lifted a finger to clean something. Swiffers are extinct. Windex is a relic of the past. Mankind is doomed to an eternity of squalor.
They're gonna get real tired of this shit in about 500 years.
Only one man can save us. Only one man can scrub the dirt off of humanity and restore our shine in a third-person action-cleaning simulator with light RPG elements and a C-list voice cast that includes a fan service cameo from that person from that science-fiction show you like, and that other person from that other science-fiction show you like. Only one man alive knows how to use a mop: Ajax Fabuloso.
Shit. I want to play this game.
Luis is in pre-production on his big-screen writing and directing debut, Pong: The Movie. In the meantime, you can find him on Twitter and Tumblr.
For more from Luis, check out The 5 Most Utterly Insane Games You Can Play at Work and 5 Bizarre Trends in Old Video Game Cover Art.