Remember in the early 90’s when 7 UP was the coolest drink ever? No? Me either. Still, I do remember their ad campaign, Cool Spot. For anyone that might not remember Cool Spot, he was the mascot for the 7 UP brand for the late 80’s through to the mid 90’s. Somehow they took the random red dot on their logo, gave it arms and legs as well as a pair of cool shades, and called it a day. It might sound kind of stupid now, but it must have worked for them to keep it around for as long as they did. Moreover, I can’t think of the last time I actually drank a 7 UP since the campaign ended. I know I’ve had Sprite and Sierra Mist since then, but never 7 UP.
It wasn’t so long ago that every major corporation wanted to have their own videogame to draw in some extra cash from the growing market. I’ve already played one of the Cheetos games based off their mascot Chester Cheetah, and I’ve had my eye on 7-Up’s Cool Spot games since they always looked fun. But today we’re going to be playing a game from one of the biggest chains in the world, McDonald’s. Specifically the Sega Genesis game Mick and Mack: Global Gladiators.
Back when the Sega Genesis first launched, Sonic the Hedgehog was still a few years off. Without the Blue Blur telling people to “Go Fast”, the system was marketed more for its arcade ports. Arcade ports like the original pack in game with the system, Altered Beast. A side scrolling beat ’em up game where you play as a shape shifting Centurion warrior resurrected from the grave by the god Zeus to rescue his daughter Athena from the Demon god Neff!
If you’ve been following me closely, you might already know that I grew up on the Genesis side of the Console wars back in the day. “Back in the day”? I’m getting old. Anyway, back then, Altered Beast blew away my tiny little mind. Making that jump the 8-Bit Nintendo to the 16-bit Genesis was like night and day. The huge sprites, the music, the action, “Sega does what Nintendon’t”! I loved this game back then, but how does it hold up now?
If I remember right, Aladdin was the first Disney movie I saw in theaters. At the time, it was probably my favorite movie. It’s still ranked highly among my favorites, and for good reason. It won several awards and was nominated for a dozen others. It also can’t be understated that Robin Williams as the genie really made the movie as great as it is.
When the games came out, there were several different versions, depending on which system it was released on. Since I’ve never played any of them before, I chose to play the Sega Genesis version. It’s partly because I grew up with the Genesis instead of the SNES, but also because the Genesis version actually had Disney staff members on hand to draw everything, which were then converted to sprites for the game. I just felt the version with actual Disney involvement must be the better version. Let’s see if I was right.
Travel back in time with me. Back before Family Guy was the top of the FCC’s most wanted list. Back before South Park shocked the world with elementary school children swearing. Back to when MTV actually aired music, and the vulgar behavior of Beavis and Butt-Head were destroying the very fabric of society.
Originally airing from March 8, 1993 to November 28, 1997, Beavis and Butt-Head became the scapegoat to any and every terrible thing committed by the generation X youth culture. Whether that be throwing bowling balls at cars from the overpass, or shoving firecrackers up cats’ butts. Some of these claims probably could be linked to seeing it on Beavis and Butt-head first, so eventually MTV took drastic action to prevent this in the future.
It’s late and the lights are off as I watch an old cult classic B-movie. I’ve heard terrible things about it, but hope it manages to pass as “so bad it’s good”. I’m not disappointed. The horrible acting is punctuated by over the top graphic blood and violence with a splash of sex and nudity for good measure. As the film rolls to an end, I watch as the corrupt mayor desperately tries to stuff his intestines back inside himself. If nothing else, this movie has firmly implanted a single though in my head, “They should make a Saturday morning cartoon out of this.”
The gaming community can be a harsh mistress sometimes, especial in regards to sequels. A sequel has to be exactly like the original, that’s why we loved it. But it has to be brand new and innovative, because we’ve already played the original. It’s a delicate balance that borders on the impossible for game developers.
Some franchises manage to pull it off. The Mario series for example is still going strong after all these years. Many franchises however aren’t so lucky, as is the case for Toejam & Earl. Released in 1991 for the Sega Genesis, Toejam & Earl is a surrealist roguelike game following two alien rappers trying to rebuild their space ship after a crash landing on earth. Each level has you controlling one of the aliens as they wander around trying to find a piece to their ship and the elevator to the next level, all while avoiding the hostile inhabitants of earth. It’s an odd but very comical game which very often ranks among the greatest the genesis had to offer. At their height, Toejam & Earl even held secondary mascot status for the genesis alongside Sonic the Hedgehog. Personally, it was, and remains, one of my favorite games for the genesis.
Growing up, my parents bought me a Sega Genesis, and I played the heck out of it. I only had a small collection of games at the time, but one stands out in my mind as being both my favorite game, and the bane of my childhood existence. Earthworm Jim!
We haven’t even started and you’ve already embarrassed yourself
During the mid 90’s, Earthworm Jim was the man. He was so popular he even had a successful cartoon show. Well… he had A cartoon show… Anyway, after the 90’s past, Earthworm Jim just kind of faded away with it. It’s kind of sad really. I have so many good memories playing his games. Never got very far before I ran out of lives, but still enjoyed it.