1. Arcade Game Shame

    By Luke Freeman on 2002-10-18

    Okay, it’s true. I’m one of those people who can’t walk past an arcade game machine without popping in a few coins and playing it. When I hear the all too familiar sounds of beeps and buzzes, I lose control, I become a completely different person. Moving the joystick wildly, slamming my fingers on the buttons in desperation, I take it more seriously than most. Why? It’s because I’m obsessed with getting the initials LSF on the top of the high scores screen for future game players to admire and worship. It’s been said that getting ones name entrenched on the high scores table is the nearest one can get to immortality, because those initials you type in stay there forever, well, at least until your score is pushed down off the list or the memory chip is cleared.

    My inability to resist arcade games extends to even long outdated titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, franchises that anyone else would be embarrassed beyond belief to be seen within ten feet of. Come on folks, they used to be cool, and all things come back in style eventually. And to the Ninja Turtles credit, they were big enough to have their own arcade game, and when you get your own arcade game, you know you’ve made it big. Now the question that has to be asked, is where is Bonds arcade game? I haven’t seen one anywhere, and believe me; I’ve looked (purely for research, I assure you). I’ve heard stories of an Octopussy game back in the mid-eighties that barely made it to the market, but that seems to be little more than an urban legend. I know that we have Bond video games, like Agent Under Fire and so forth, but it’s not the same as riding your bike down to the milk bar or video store to play an arcade game. There are no Bond arcade games, and I have to say, someone really dropped the ball here. Yes, I aware that MGM possess remarkable ball dropping abilities, but really, what excuse could there possibly be for kids being denied the chance to waste their pocket money on a 007 game? It’s a sad state of affairs when Bond can’t even get his own arcade game.

    Now, in the tradition of imitating what’s successful and cashing in on someone else’s hard work, 007 related arcade games starring all your favorite characters could be made simply from modifying existing arcade titles. This would introduce fans of the old games to Bond, and fans of Bond to the old arcade hits, everyone wins. If MGM return my calls and this plan goes ahead, here are a few of the conversions that you can expect…

    Pac-Man becomes Kauff-Man: If you haven’t heard of the arcade classic “Pac-Man”, then chances are you’ve been living under a rock since 1981. That would be darn shame because this ultra cool maze adventure where the hunter becomes the hunted is more than just a game, it’s a way of life. And now, with a slight tweak of the graphics and whatnot, Bond can enjoy the same success as we turn the game into “Kauff-Man”. With Dr Kauffman of Tomorrow Never Dies fame in the starring role, this hipper than hip game would have him dodging those menacing cell phones as he chomps his way to glory. But it’s not just for the fellows, the feminine version, “Ms. Kauff-Man” would fly the flag for the ladies.

    Mario Bros. becomes Mishka Bros.: I pity those whose childhood didn’t involve playing the video games featuring those tubby, pasta munching plumbers, Mario and Luigi. If you missed out on helping the Mario Bros save the princess over and over again, then you truly missed out on something special. But that’s okay, because the original smash hit is making comeback, but instead of fat, sluggish plumbers, we have fit, agile knife throwers in Mishka and Griska from Octopussy, the Mishka Bros. Yes, slice and dice your way through an army of clowns as you make your way to the final encounter with 007, on top of a moving train. The two-player option ensures twice as much fun.

    Ghosts n Goblins becomes Ghosts n Galore: You know, alot of people write in to me to say “Freemo, when is there going to be an arcade game starring Pussy Galore?”, they’re hanging out for a Pussy Galore game, and I wholeheartedly agree with them. One of the best characters in the series, Miss Galore surely deserves the right to make a name for herself. But there are enough games starring pilots, she’ll need a change in career, at least early one, to show that she is versatile. A job as a ghost buster could be just the thing for Pussy, sure, it would be pretty tough, not exactly a romp in the hay, but I think she’s up to the challenge.

    Moon Patrol becomes Moonraker Patrol: An obvious one perhaps, but a game that’s just dying to be made. I don’t think anyone actually knew what the plot to “Moon Patrol” was, you just drove your little moon buggy along, jumping over holes and speed humps, and shooting down flying saucers, may they be enemies or friends. For the Bond version, we’d have to add a bit of storyline, the fans demand it. Perhaps we could make the moon buggy the one from Diamonds Are Forever, and maybe have Jaws driving the buggy, trying franticly to get home to his wife Dolly, who’ll be mad if Jaws isn’t back in time for dinner.*

    1942 becomes 1959: “1942” had the player as a pilot during the Second World War, “1959” would have you on an equally as important and dangerous adventure. Your mission? To fly from Jamaica to England carrying Ian Flemings manuscript of Thunderball to the publishers. It’s precious cargo, and if you fail to get to your destination, one of the best James Bond novels and thus one of the great James Bond films will never be made. A game of high tension and even higher stakes, as you go face to face against Kevin McClory’s fighter planes, the game also serves as a great history lesson for the kiddies^. Who says learning can’t be fun? You’ll be pumping quarters into this roller coaster ride of a game for weeks.

    Until next time,