I don't know what an Obitus is or what it does. I'm not sure the game does either.

I think Obitus is a game.  There’s controls and graphics.  I can’t really tell.  It’s sort of like a MUD/text adventure/whatever.  But less text.  Stuff is on the ground and you pick it up.  Sometimes doors open or a man punches you in the back of the head.  There’s forest.  There’s a tower.

Oh, ok.

I didn’t really get further than the forest.  I tried to navigate it a bunch of times but I kept ending back up at the tower.  So… that’s awesome.  Maybe the Obtius is the tower, and also a metaphor for Groundhog Day… and maybe that guy who punches me in the back of the head when I leave the tower is Bill Murray?  Or Andy MacDowell?  There was long hair.  Who knows?

There's some woods.



I thought I would get to play a horrifying vampire beast in this game and eat people. IMAGINE MY DISAPPOINTMENT when I realized I had to play some 90s kid in a dank old castle. IMAGINE IT!

However, I am no nancy. I present to you: the internal monologue of the character for the entirety of the time I spent playing this game.

“Hey… huh. I am in a castle. My girlfriend is probably missing or something. I sohuld find her. Oh shit! Some dudes! How do I punch… there it is! Holy shit! I am really good at punching demons!

“A door! I am going to go in this! What the fuck? It closed behind me! The only way out that that little hole there… if only I could figure out a way to slide under it… how do I slide? How do I lay prone and belly crawl? I mean, I can imagine myself doing it, but I can’t seem to do much more than run at it, full speed, and crash into the wall and fall down!”


“GAME OVER?! Well, at least I was probably right about my girlfriend! There’s an old photograph of a couple! In black and white!

“Okay, let’s try a different door this time… ugh! A centipede! Oh awesome. I stepped on it and now it’s dead! I didn’t evne have to punch it! Which I could easily do, by the way! Or slide at it, which I CANNOT DO!

“Sweet, an hourglass! This will presumably give me more than 200 seconds to find my ladypal! Oh no, there’s only one door left…




Nolan Ryan’s Baseball


It’s Christmas today, and no one sane is reading about SNES games. This means I have completely free reign to celebrate Santa’s birthday however I want, so in that spirit, I present:


(DISCLAIMER: “Nolan Ryan” refers to an alternate dimension Nolan Ryan who is absolutely not this dimension’s Nolan Ryan. Any similarities, as unlikely as it seems, are total coincidence caused by trans-dimensional flotsam interfering with some kind of spectrum that I’ll make up later.)

A young Nolan Ryan dreamed only of becoming a professional baseball player. He lulled himself to sleep every night by imitating the sound a baseball made as it thudded into a catcher’s mitt. “Kraka-szzztplatpthumf!” he’d cry, completely hopeless at making sound effects—one of the many reasons he wanted to be a professional baseball player instead of that guy from the Police Academy movies (he’s a different guy in this dimension since it’s not our dimension (but is very similar to our dimension which is a fortuitous circumstance for the purposes of this story)).

It was hard for young Nolan Ryan, born seven years prior in the year of 1947 in a tiny town in Texas called Oigufer, to lull himself to sleep this night. This night was Christmas Eve, and visions of baseball paraphernalia danced in Nolan’s head. “Soon,” he thought, “soon I will have a baseball glove and a baseball and perhaps a baseball hat and oh but I will throw a baseball so hard another boy might die or at least be somewhat maimed.” It was 1954 and kids talked like this. Ask your parents or grandparents.

Eventually borne off to the gentle and restful Sea of Sleep by a ship constructed of dreams about maiming children with a baseball, time vanished for Nolan. He awoke to the sound of his father cursing in frustration as a buzzer indicated his failure in a game of Surgical Procedure (this is like the game Operation from our dimension, but different since this story takes place in an alternate dimension (and this is a different Nolan Ryan)).

Nolan Ryan’s father played Surgical Procedure every morning for 2 and half hours in the hope of one day being able to remove the notoriously evasive Spotted Dick—possibly the least offensive of the body part-themed puns. Christmas morning was no exception to his practice schedule: the only difference was the presence of a Sigg bottle full of eggnog.

Nolan catapulted himself from betwixt his baseball-themed sheets and ran down the narrow stairs into the alarmingly sparse living room. He dodged around his father, who was still cursing at the cartoon depiction of Orifice Orville, the much-ailed patient of Surgical Procedure. He jumped over the stack of firewood and as he landed, slid on his pajama-clad knees and nearly crashed into the sad, wilted Christmas tree. Two gifts bore his name. One was a tightly wrapped sphere that appeared like it was designed to be gripped in the palm of the hand, and the other was an unwrapped box that had a picture of a pitcher’s mitt and said PROFESSIONAL PITCHER’S MITT in large letters in a font similar to that one back there.

Little Nolan Ryan picked up the sphere and tossed it high into the air before catching it deftly and quickly unwrapping it. His eager eyes were greeted with the sight of a transparent ball of glass with what looked like sticks and bits of white flecking on the inside. “What is it?” he asked his father, barely choking back tears. “It’s an irregular snow globe missing its base. Got it cheap due to the internal damage.”

It was a crushing disappointment, but there was still that glorious box awaiting him. Nolan rolled the snow globe to the side and crawled over to the box, holding his breath. Slowly, his hands shaking like frightened dogs who know they’re in trouble for chewing up my socks, he opened the lid of the box. Inside: absolutely nothing. The box was totally empty.

“It’s a metaphor for the disappointments of life or something,” said his father. “We just had a big war so all my money was killed by Germans.”

Nolan’s eyes narrowed as he remained perched on his knees. His fists shot into the air and his face aimed skyward. “Someday!” he cried. “Someday I will take my revenge on this world by making a game that simulates baseball so poorly that no child will ever find joy! This baseball game will be like this box: empty, boring, and totally disappointing! MERRY CHRISTMAS YOU BASTARDS! YOU BASTARDS!”

Nolan’s father smirked and stuck a tiny pair of sharp metal tweezers into a cartoon man’s eye socket.


(Though very abused, no parentheses were killed in the writing of this story.)

Nobunaga’s Ambition – Lord of Darkness

On this, the most Christmassy of Eves, as you gather close to your loved ones like a team of northern explorers who forgot to pack long johns, as Saint Nic begins his annual drunken tear around the globe, as the Queen of England prepares to sound like everyone’s mum tomorrow, as one sad man stands under the mistletoe, alone, in his apartment, weeping, hand down his pants, drinking malt liqueur ’cause that’s all he has left, I offer you a review of Nobunaga’s Ambition – Lord of Darkness. It is my gift to you. You. I know you didn’t get me anything and I know you didn’t ask for a strategy game about a Japanese warlord, but I fucked your mom last night and she made me promise to give you something. I was thinking of giving you a thing of bubble bath, but then I realized that you don’t have a bath, so now I’m giving you this. Enjoy.

First, let me tell you that, whatever I was expecting from the name of this game, my expectations were horribly shattered. The name is comedic gold. I was thinking it would be a side-scroller about a really ambitious man named Nobunaga. That’s an excellent concept for a game! The main game mechanic would be an ambition meter that, when low, would prevent any sort of corporate ladder climbing or general getting-things-done-ness.

As it turns out, the game is pretty much a super complicated version of Civilization. Look at this management screen:

I need more GOLD!
I need more GOLD!

This is about the point I realized I was in way over my head. I can’t handle this kind of game. It may be good and all, but any game that allows me to DVLP my FIELDS makes me want to STB my CHEST. From what I understand about the strategy genre and people who enjoy thinking while they stare at a screen, this could be a damn good game. There seems to be a lot of depth there. Whether or not you care about Nobunaga is another story entirely. I know I don’t. I went to Wikipedia to look him up, found his page, and was like, “whatever.” Turns out he was a real dude. That’s good enough for me.


Nobunaga’s Ambition

Nobunaga's Tax Return
Military Strategy for the Seasoned Salaryman.

Full respect to this Nobunaga character.  Any man that can look at this screen and make heads or tails of it is a man worth knowing.  Maybe he can do my tax for me.

No, THIS one goes here, THAT one goes there!
All I know is that I'm way in over my head.

Look, all I’m saying is that Nobunaga was pretty bloody ambitious, and even he didn’t manage to pull it off.  The ‘Unification’ [read: Domination] of Japan didn’t come until his two successors came and finished the job.

Now if he, with all his ambition, and a lifetime of constant military struggle, could only conquer one-third of Japan, what hope do youlousy, good-fer-nuthin’ couch potato on welfare, I presume – have of conquering the whole damn thing? And in what time do you expect to achieve this amazing feat?  Ten, twelve, twenty-four, maybe eighty hours?  I hope you’re not planning on playing any other games in the future…

CONSTANT MILITARY STRUGGLE. And don't you forget it!
Nobody knows when the warring will end. NOBODY.

I can think of maybe twenty people in all of human history off the top of my head that managed to achieve more, militarily speaking, than this guy did: Otto von Bismarck, Genghis Khan, Charlemagne, Attila the Hun, Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Salah ad-Din, et cetera.

And guess what?  All of them are better than you. So don’t even try.

No Escape

The first level is this exact scenario happening about twelve times.

No Escape is based on a movie.  I would wager it was a bad movie.  It certainly made for a bad game.

It begins by hurling you into a chase scene (after an interminable pause with no music or accepted inputs, for some reason), where infinite jungle warriors pursue you through the jungle.  The controls are incredibly clunky and frustrating; you must double tap to run, and hold up and hit jump to climb, and both of them are incredibly finnicky and don’t work if you’re crouching, and you crouch automatically if you climb something or fall, and you must uncrouch by hitting up.  There is no defense button, and your punch does minimal damage.  There is no tutorial.  The jungle warriors are faster than you, there are spike pits and falling logs which have no warning and do essentially unstoppable damage unless you have memorized the level, and you must fight a spear guy at the end who will do lots of damage to you as you mash your punch button until he falls over.

Apparently, you can explore this island and build things and use traps against your enemies, but you know what?  I don’t want to.  I really don’t.  I wish I could talk to the people who made this game and tell them just how much of a failure their game is, and that they should have actually thought about what makes a game fun before they tried to make one.  But they are probably working as accountants and human resources representatives and middle management, right now, so they wouldn’t care.

Don’t play this game.

The Ninja Warriors

Okay, here’s the situation. The country is in ruins. A military dictatorship has pulled the once great nation into the depths of social and financial despair. The people no longer have the will to think for themselves or strive for greatness.

So what’s the solution?


Therein lies the award-winning premise of The Ninja Warriors. Take down the evil tyrant Banglar and his seemingly unstoppable menagerie of knife-wielding mercenaries, Mad Max rejects, and ’80s businessmen wearing their sunglasses at night™, laying down street justice as one of three mecha-ninjas through six stages of moving right and mashing the Y button.

Seriously, “Banglar”? His name is Banglar? Not to mention that two of the robot/ninja abominations are simply named “Ninja” and “Kunoichi” (which itself simply means “female ninja”). I mean, it should be obvious enough from the story alone, perhaps even the title alone, that the developers didn’t really give half a shit about trying to make something beyond the bare minimum of mediocrity with this game. I guess just calling it Generic Dystopian Beat-em-up would have been too direct. Gotta make it marketable for the 12-year-old male demographic, I guess.

This is the kind of game that makes puppies cry.