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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