Jammit

Jammit: the title is self-instructive.
Jammit: the title is self-instructive.

The word ‘Jammit’ immediately elicits memories of a game very near and dear to my heart, Toejam & Earl.  A game that, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest games of all time.  Those of you who have had the pleasure of playing that game will no doubt understand the reference.  Unfortunately for Jammit, it has just damned itself to the seventh level of Videogame Hell simply by being mentioned in the same breath as Toejam & Earl and failing to live up to that gold standard – an unfavourable comparison for many a videogame, and an unfair one, some may say.

Upon realising that Jammit is in fact a basketball game, it reminded me of yet another videogame: NBA Jam.  This is also an unfavourable comparison for any basketball game, recent or otherwise.  Basketball videogame aficionados feel free to disagree with me here, but to my mind there hasn’t been a good basketball game since NBA Jam (perhaps with the exception of NBA Hangtime, which was essentially NBA Jam 2).  Good simulations of the sport of basketball mayhap, but not good basketball videogames.

Speaking of simulations, dunking in Jammit is about as easy as landing an aircraft in Microsoft Flight Sim.
Speaking of simulations, dunking in Jammit is about as easy as landing an aircraft in Microsoft Flight Sim.

Now that I’ve done Jammit the disservice of comparing it to two great Jams, let’s discuss the game on its own merits.  What do I like about the game?  Well, I like the funky slap-bass soundtrack, which matches the title quite well; I like the fact that there’s a ‘Trash Talk’ setting in the options screen ranging from ‘off’ to ‘some’ to ‘lots’; and that’s about it.  Don’t say I didn’t try.

Aside from those things, Jammit is a rather bland basketball offering.  It’s street basketball, so it takes place on a grey concrete half-court with chain-link fences.  That’s a lot of grey.  It’s one-on-one street basketball, so there are only two fleshy sprites to break up the grey.  There are exactly three playable characters to choose from – two black guys and a white chick – meaning only three possible match-ups.  Said characters are photo-captured Mortal Kombat-style like just about every other awful game of that era.  To think this kind of gritty oatmeal ugliness and ‘street’ ‘tude is actually praised in today’s games – it’s boring and cringeworthy!

Says 'Chill' to 'Slade': "you as bored as I am, man?"  How delightfully 'urban'.
Says 'Chill' to 'Slade': "you as bored as I am, man?" How delightfully 'urban'.

And then comes the racism.  Again.  And the sexism; don’t forget the sexism!  Both of these vices are embodied in one character: Roxy.  Not only is she named and dressed like a prostitute, I’m pretty sure her stats have been messed with on account of her being both white, and female.

Rooooo-xanne, you don't have to put on the red light!
Rooooo-xanne, you don't have to put on the red light!

I realised this once I mastered the pilot controls for dunking – Microsoft Basketball Simulator-style – white chick can’t dunk, man!  Only lay it up.  Facts be damned, I call racism!  And sexism!  And the fires of the seventh hell upon this game!

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James Bond Jr.

There are games that are great, and then there are games that redefine the sensual quality of games. I’m talking about games that make you think about gameness itself. I mean games that say to you, “Look, Fella, you may be made of tin, but you still have a heart.” This game is one of those games. James Bond Jr. is a rollercoaster ride of excitement and fun for the whole family!

This is the part where I gave up.
This is the part where I gave up.

In the first scene, James Bond’s son, who is also called James Bond, is inextricably caught in a dilemma: He must decide whether to use his wits or his jumpy-boots.
He wisely chooses his jumpy-boots; he has tall obstacles to scale.
Then he runs into this big ugly dude who has half a face or something! He also has a moustache, which makes me uncomfortable allowing children near him!

HI! HI! ASL! ....... KTHXBYE!
HI! HI! ASL! ....... KTHXBYE!

Then the Moustache Man takes flight and James pursues him in his Yeller-Copter.
The player says, “Oooh, yes. Look at all the bombs I can poop out of my Yeller-Copter! Cellophane was never this enjoyable!”
But soon, dear reader, the player is singing a different tune. ‘Cause those special shield balls Q Jr. sent in from the fortress of solitude don’t save you from the trees!
Those soldiers on the ground look harmless enough until they find a trampoline. Then they’re on top of you, pulling you down!

 

This ain't no poppy-pippity, guns-only kinda game.
This ain't no poppy-pippity, guns-only kinda game.

 

Those fuckers hide under the bushes. You can’t bomb ‘em! They just keep coming!!
Panic surrounding!! The walls call my name in whispers. Ronald McDonald peeks out from behind the chesterfield and beckons to me, singing, “there’s something happy in here.”

I’m sorry, man. I know this makes you uncomfortable, but ever since that Yeller-Copter ride, I can’t sleep straight. You know what I mean? I gotta sprawl all over the place!
That little kid was fucked up, I tell you. He kept a wry smile on the whole time! He didn’t blink once, man – I was looking!

Deep breath. Done. It’s over. I’m out.
This game is the kind of game that makes you say, “Why don’t I carpet bomb things more often?”
If you don’t believe me, give it a try. Once you’re in the shit, you’ll probably be loving it. I know I was.
I know.
I was there.