Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imaginable

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OneCrudeDude
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Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imaginable

Post by OneCrudeDude » Wed Apr 08, 2015 12:39 am

I only put this here because, admittedly, there's nowhere else for it. If this isn't the proper place for it, then feel free to remove it.

So I went out to celebrate my birthday with friends and family, and my brother got me some relatively sweet booze. Allegedly, Takeshi Kitano came up with the idea of Takeshi's Challenge (Takeshi no Chousenjou for you Japanophiles) while he was intoxicated, and seemingly enough this idea was also born from having a bit too much to drink, so maybe great ideas come from intoxicated minds.

Anyway, one of the things I like to do is watch videos, more specifically, a series of videos called Chrontendo wherein a person by the alias of Dr. Sparkle decides to play through every single NES/Famicom game ever made. And most of the games featured are a bunch of innocuous games that often had something to do with mahjong, baseball, or horse racing, all developed by no-name developers whose entire existence was to churn these games out. I was watching the latest episode, episode 48, and he was playing a Famicom game based on some Japanese movie about a woman investigating a tax fraud. The English title of this movie was "A Taxing Woman", and this game was apparently developed by Capcom. One of the things Dr. Sparkle said about this game is how it was based on something that wouldn't lend itself very well to a video game. He even said that the American equivalent of such a game would be "Hannah and her Sisters: The Video Game", and thus inspiration struck.

Now as we all know, NES games, particularly Famicom games, were very hit or miss, where most of them were playable but forgettable, so I wish to design a game (be an actual game or a "throwback") that seeks to recapture that feeling of excitement that quickly is replaced with remorse. So what better way to do that other than to make a game that's derivative off whatever was popular at the time, combined with corporate meddling in the publisher's attempt to maximize sales and profit? For starters, I was imagining this game to have a shoehorned license so that it has a boost in sales, in this case, Hannah and her Sisters. And how does the game start out? The only way you could start a game of proportions as epic as this, by having a NES-ified rendition of Woody Allen's character telling the player that "Hannah and her Sisters have been kidnapped by Ninjas". Of course, what is a Famicom game without Ninjas? Why were there so many Ninja games? Is it more than a coincidence that Ninja and Nintendo start with the same three letters?

So once you see Woody Allen tell you what the plot of the game is, the game will burrow nothing else from the license it is based on, and start you in the middle of a Dragon Quest-like overworld that's supposed to be a depiction of the USA, that is if the majority of the USA was a green field with a skyscraper icon on the map to symbolize a city. I don't know what you'd do in the city, probably still walk around DQ style (naw, what about everyone's favorite, the classic first person dungeon crawler?) and talk to unimportant NPCs, and then walk around some more across the USA. Eventually, you will come across several bosses, wherein you must do battle in a turn based... game of Mahjong? And to determine who will play first, each turn will have both players play a game of rock paper scissors, although played similarly to slots (each hand is a scrolling background that rolls like roulette). The characters will use money as a form of LP, and will essentially gamble their LP away.

However, gambling and mahjong won't be the only activities in this fun filled game! You will also go to an obligatory Pachinko parlor and play a few rounds of Pachinko, as dictated by Japanese law, before you are free to progress. And then you will also have to bet on horse races, but with a catch once again. You actually are controlling the racer and his horse, and you have to fight off a whole group of ninjas riding on horses, that explode when killed. And what is a wonderful Japanese kusoge without a mention of Japan's favorite sport, baseball? My inner Takeshi Kitano was channeled and had the great idea of forcing the player to sit through an ENTIRE game of baseball, played out entirely by the computer. And the player has to bet on the winning team, and the winning team is never the same. But you can't just let the game run for 3 hours without input, now that would be too smart. Every now and then, the game will ask for the player's input, and when you fail, the NPCs will think the character has died and it will be Game Over. Finally, the final part of the game will have the player fly in an airplane from NYC to Washington DC, where allegedly the Ninjas have made their hideout, and of course this stage is a shooter section, and is arguably the most polished part of the entire game. Once you beat this stage, the game will have a digitized version of Hannah and her Sister's ending scene, which is odd since the game had absolutely nothing to do with the movie other than the title and ending.

I apologize if my phrasing is a bit weird, I'm a bit tipsy and about to hit the sack. And I apologize if the essay is a bit tl;dr in areas. That said, let me know what you think; would this have been a fondly remembered game? Or would it have been forgotten in the sea of Famicom kusoge? Thank you for reading.

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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by ccovell » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:15 am

It would have been a "vice" version of World Sports Competition, basically. :-D

It might not be super accessible if you don't have an emu (or flash cart), but I made a PCE/Turbografx disk magazine named Courage, and one of the articles in there has a parody of genericized, license-shoehorned meddling game titles from that era (late '80s). Feel free to check it out: http://www.chrismcovell.com/data/CMC_Co ... iskmag.zip

Image

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OneCrudeDude
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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by OneCrudeDude » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:28 am

So I woke up and I still think this idea of a game would be horrible, horrible enough to warrant an awesome box cover that would give the impression the game would be good. Essentially, perfect enough to have been an actual Famicom game, though I don't see how mahjong or pachinko could appeal to American gamers. Perhaps it could do what some NES games did and cut a big chunk of content that would alienate gamers.

That said, I'm not surprised that very, very few people wish to create a throwback game that's more or less a reminder of mediocre at best NES games. Glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks many faux-retro games look back to the NES with rose-tinted lenses. It's also quite a bit ironic that many NES throwback games are incredibly derivative of existing NES games, much like how actual NES games were derivative of each other.

Also, I forgot to mention, tough it's probably a given, that the game's graphics and music would be average as average can get. The music would sound bland at best, and the graphics would be serviceable but nothing exciting. And, the game would have been released in 1987 in Japan, but as with some NES games, it wasn't released stateside until 1989, maybe 1990, thus looking INCREDIBLY dated. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it?

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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by Drew Sebastino » Wed Apr 08, 2015 3:56 pm

OneCrudeDude wrote:Ninja
OneCrudeDude wrote:baseball
I think you already know what this reminded me of...

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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by ccovell » Wed Apr 08, 2015 5:29 pm

Espozo wrote:
OneCrudeDude wrote:Ninja
OneCrudeDude wrote:baseball
I think you already know what this reminded me of...
Not another *gasp* IREM game, perchance?

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OneCrudeDude
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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by OneCrudeDude » Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:20 pm

I honestly wonder if "Ninja Baseball Batman" was born out of the relatively common game tropes of the time, those being ninjas, baseball, and licensed properties.

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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by Asaki » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:20 pm

Kind of reminds me of the Great Gatsby game.

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OneCrudeDude
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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by OneCrudeDude » Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:31 pm

Except the Gatsby game was more of a "good" depiction of NES games, and not much else besides a sidescroller. It's still an average at best game, and would be an average game by NES standards, probably comparable to Karate Kid due to the fact it only has 4 levels.

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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by Bregalad » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:36 am

I don't get the point. If you are wishing to develop a good game, there is already chances it'll be accepted by gamers as a mediocre game, because you screwed something up without thinking about it. So why make a mediocre game for purpose just to honor the large set of mediocre games of the time. As myself I try to make my game just like "they were made back then", as opposed to some other people here who tries to push the system to its limits, I sort of see the point. But, not quite.

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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by tokumaru » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:24 am

Bregalad wrote:If you are wishing to develop a good game, there is already chances it'll be accepted by gamers as a mediocre game, because you screwed something up without thinking about it.
Exactly. I don't think anyone (commercial or otherwise) ever thought "I'm gonna make a mediocre game" when starting a project, and yet, we have tons of that. Maybe by aiming at "mediocre" from the start, you'll actually land on "bad" in the end, so this is quite a risky move.

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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by rainwarrior » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:52 am

Bregalad wrote:As myself I try to make my game just like "they were made back then", as opposed to some other people here who tries to push the system to its limits, I sort of see the point. But, not quite.
Are any of the people who are trying to "push the system to its limits" actually making a game on the system? It's really easy to just do design, so there's nothing holding it back. It's hard to make a tech demo, and it's, like, sisyphus-hard to make a decent game.

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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by Asaki » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:19 pm

tokumaru wrote:I don't think anyone (commercial or otherwise) ever thought "I'm gonna make a mediocre game" when starting a project, and yet, we have tons of that.
What you really need is a good idea for a game, or maybe even an amazing, overambitious idea for a game, and then have some big-wig publisher who knows nothing about videogames breathing down your neck, saying things like "This would be much better if you added or removed _____. Our marketing research shows that our target demographic is really into _____. We are $_____ over budget and have _____ weeks left to ship, please finish the game. We now have ____ weeks left, we have outsourced your game to _____ who will be completing the product on schedule. Your wife is not very good in bed."

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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by OneCrudeDude » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:28 pm

Basically what Asaki said, the idea is that some games were very obviously made due to a CEO who likes to bark orders at a group of overworked, underpaid programmers. The CEO will see that there's dozens of Baseball, Mahjong, and Pachinko games for the Famicom, so he believes this Frankenstein's creation of a game will be a runaway success. The programmers are only working on this game arbitrarily, I don't think the people were genuinely excited to program another boring mahjong game for a shoddy salary. So the game is boring, due to corporate meddling and the fact the programmers were just going through the motions. And then one of the programmers hides a rather scathing rant inside the game, accessible only via a very obtuse button combination at a particular scene.

THAT is the sort of game I wish to replicate. A game that became mediocre due to corporate meddling and low employee morale. Unfortunately, the NES/Famicom has a lot of games like this, so it'd be fitting to pay tribute to the poor games made by thankless, otherwise uncredited programmers.

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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by Zepper » Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:23 am

Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imaginabl
Even Pong is fun to play. ^_^;;

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Drew Sebastino
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Re: Designing the most boring, most generic NES game imagina

Post by Drew Sebastino » Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:26 am

Well, simple doesn't necessarily correlate to boring.

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