Kawasaki Caribbean Challenge

Considering that we live in a largely capitalist society, it should be of little surprise the wide variety of methods that which companies will employ in order to advertise their products and services to the general public: SUV posters at bus stops, product placement of alcoholic beverages in educational television, tattoos of soft drink slogans on our eyelids, prescription drug commercials broadcast via satellite into our fillings, images of feminine hygiene products beamed into our skulls while we sleep by microwave lasers constructed on the moon—boundless is the realm of human ingenuity when confronted with the myriad of opportunities with which to wrench the hard-earned ducats from the general public.  Indeed, the pervasiveness of the commercial world has also been known to extend its viscid tentacles into the one of the most rapidly growing forms of home entertainment—pornography.  And video games.  One such example of the latter is today’s subject: Park Place Productions and GameTek’s Kawasaki Caribbean Challenge.
Kawasaki is a Japan-based manufacturer of a wide variety of land-, water-, and air-based vehicles and related equipment, although they are likely best known to most as a manufacturer of redneck and white-trash recreational transportation.  In 1993, they ventured forth to extend their brand-name recognition by licensing the use of their motorcycle and personal watercraft lines for, what is honestly, a shit racing game.  After playing this game for the extent of an hour (or some period of time that felt like such), I cannot honestly state that I find much to be redeeming about it.  That’s about it.  There is nothing special here, just a mishmash of poor controls, a frustratingly limited overhead view, and an altogether bland racing experience.
While the game is upsetting on its own merits, I am somewhat further saddened by the realization this game is nothing unique, and simply exists as another piece of corporate shovelware—a title developed with the primary purpose of simply providing an additional advertising channel for a large corporation.  Domino’s pulled the same crap with its “Noid” mascot on the PC in the ’80s; 7 Up followed suit times ten with the ironically titled “Cool Spot”, which was pushed onto just about every popular video game platform early in the following decade; and, more recently, Burger King violated early adopters of the Xbox 360 with a handful of cheap titles prominently featuring its plastic-faced, serial-rapist monarch.
But even then, isn’t just about every game—at least every game sold for money—produced with the goal of turning a profit for the developers, publishers, and any other investors who have a stake in the product?  Every now and then, someone hits gold with a new idea or piece of information property, business and marketing execs jump on top of the situation, and we end up with enough Final Fantasy games to drown a small nation in a sea of androgynous anime rejects.  Internet forums cry out in horror, only to find themselves deafened by the din of unbearable voice acting from countless numbers of Sonic the Hedgehog sequels.
Sweet.
KAWASAKI-IT TO ME!!
KAWASAKI-IT TO ME!!

Considering that we live in a largely capitalist society, it should be of little surprise the wide variety of methods that which companies will employ in order to advertise their products and services to the general public: product placement of alcoholic beverages in educational television, soft drink slogans tattooed inside our eyelids, prescription drug commercials broadcast via satellite into our fillings, images of feminine hygiene products beamed into our skulls while we sleep by microwave lasers constructed on the moon—boundless is the realm of human ingenuity when confronted with the myriad of opportunities with which to wrench the hard-earned ducats from the general public.  Indeed, the pervasiveness of the commercial world has also been known to extend its viscid tentacles into the one of the most rapidly growing forms of home entertainment—pornography.  And video games.  One such example of the latter is today’s subject: Park Place Productions and GameTek’s Kawasaki Caribbean Challenge.

I see what you did there! With the play-on-words with "storm"? Clever girl...
I see what you did there! With the play-on-words with "storm"? Clever girl...

Kawasaki is a Japan-based manufacturer of a wide variety of land-, water-, and air-based vehicles and related equipment, although they are likely best known to most as a manufacturer of redneck and white-trash recreational transportation.  In 1993, they ventured forth to extend their brand-name recognition by licensing the use of their motorcycle and personal watercraft lines for, what is honestly, a shit racing game.  After playing this game for the extent of an hour (or some period of time that felt like such), I cannot honestly state that I find much to be redeeming about it.  That’s about it.  There is nothing special here, just a mishmash of poor controls, a frustratingly limited overhead view, and an altogether bland racing experience.

kawasakicaribbeanchallenge-bikes

While the game is upsetting on its own merits, I am somewhat further saddened by the realization this game is nothing unique, and simply exists as another piece of corporate shovelware—a title developed with the primary purpose of simply providing an additional advertising channel for a large corporation.  Domino’s pulled the same crap with its “Noid” mascot on the PC in the ’80s; 7 Up followed suit times ten with the ironically titled “Cool Spot“, which was pushed onto just about every popular video game platform early in the following decade; and, more recently, Burger King violated the hearts and minds of early adopters of the Xbox 360 with a handful of cheap titles prominently featuring its plastic-faced, serial-rapist monarch.

But even then, isn’t just about every game—at least every game sporting a price tag—produced with the goal of turning a profit for the developers, publishers, and any other investors who have a stake in the product?  Every now and then, someone hits gold with a new idea or piece of information property, business and marketing execs jump on top of the situation, and we end up with enough Final Fantasy games to drown a small nation in a sea of androgynous anime rejects.  Internet forums cry out in horror, only to find themselves deafened by the din of unbearable voice acting from countless numbers of Sonic the Hedgehog sequels.

Sweet…

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Kawasaki Superbike Challenge

kawasaki

Here is a list of facts as to why I often to not feel like very much of a man:

– I look like a wet noodle with a not-thin-anymore layer of lard on top
– I haven’t been in a fight for 15 years (at least I won that one, though)
– I stopped playing sports long ago
– I love going to buy clothes
– I have a very musical voice
– I own no leather aside from a pair of Sperry Top Sider deck shoes
– I am currently wearing a green cable-knit cardigan
– I have incresingly drank less regular beer and more light beer this summer (because it’s… summery)
– I think scotch is yucky
– I think UFC is pretty boring
– I know what “braised” means
– I’d rather play video games than eat beef
– I don’t know how to drive, and
– I HAVE NEVER BEEN ON A MOTORCYCLE.

Good thing I spent about eighteen minutes playing this game, because now I know! Stunning first-person graphics bring the crotchrocket to life in this insane-o speedrace to see who can ride a motorcycle fastest from some place to another place that may or may not be called “Suzuka.” Apparently it takes eight hours; I am boggled as to who on God’s green earth would sit down and play a game for eight hours in this day and age where EVEN YOUR VERY CONSOLE distracts you (Bloop! Your friend is online! Bleep! You’ve got e-mail! Blop! Have you had dinner yet?). But, I respect that this game may have come out in a time where sitting down to play video games meant you were entering your own tiny sensory deprivation state, where the only things that existed were you, a controller, and some circuits or whatever blah blah something technical. But now I got the cell phone, and the laptop, and the desktop, and the 360, and the house in the city that looks out onto a shitty, noisy, busy, light-filled street. I’m lucky if I get 30 minutes into anything.

Then again, if I were to get that much in a game, it wouldn’t involve something as masculine as tucking an engine between my legs. It’d probably be a puzzle game with lovely animated characters in lovely top hats, or little androgynous fellows whacking away at each other with swords on a grid. But I think that makes sense. We’ve already established that I’m about as manly as a pile of Richard Simmons’ nail clippings.