Welcome to Blarch!!!! (I swear the puns get better in future months). This month we take a look at the Top Ten gross things found in video games! Why? Because blaaaaaarch! (That was seriously the best pun I could muster). So, put away your maturity for a minute as we dive into the toilet of gaming!
10)The Simpson’s: Bart’s Nightmare – Barney’s Burps (SNES/Sega Genesis 1992)
Falling under the category of “games that I wanted to love but ultimately really hated” is The Simpsons’s: Bart’s Nightmare. Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised. Bart Vs. The Space Mutants and Bart Vs. The World, both for the original NES, were terrible games. However, childhood me was already excited by the characters and didn’t yet understand that most games based on TV/Movies are probably going to be bad. I actually own Bart’s Nightmare and it is incredibly difficult. Basically, you navigate Bart, who falls asleep while trying to start his homework, through a dream world to collect pages of his paper. When you find a paper, you’re presented with two doors that will lead you to a mini-game of sorts that will award you with a piece of paper upon completion. The more papers you collect, the higher your grade will be at the end (can someone teach me how to dream-write papers?). One such mini-game involves Bartman flying over the Nuclear Power plant avoiding radioactive clouds, Krusty balloons, and full-on missiles. So, nothing gross so far….right? Then you come across your first boss: the town drunk, Barney, riding a flying purple elephant who shoots peanuts while he loudly burps out toxic belch clouds. Yes, this game truly is a nightmare.
9) Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure (Sega Gensis/SNES 1994/1995)
It was the mid 1990’s and gross-out humor was in full swing. I never played Boogerman but some of my favorite cartoons like Ren and Stimpy and Ahhh! Real Monsters fell right in line with the crowd that Boogerman was trying to attract. Just take a look at the commercial that was playing ad nauseam in 1995 when the game released: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIUF4R7ghpk. Both Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber came out just the year before, so a game about taking out enemies with your “atomic butt blast” didn’t phase us one bit.
8) WarioWare, Inc. – Gold Digger (First appeared on GBA 2003)
Now I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger, but she ain’t messin’ wit no broke, broke. Whenever I think of WarioWare games, I always think of the above image. For those of you who aren’t familiar with WarioWare, the premise is simple: you are presented with a series of “micro-games” and have just a few seconds to compete a random task that pops up on the screen. In “Gold Digger,” all you see are a nose and two fingers moving left and right when the word “Pick!” flashes up on the screen. Then, you have approximately one second to push the button at just the right time so you can successfully pick your nose. It’s weird, it’s frantic, and it makes you wonder, how did Wario end up in this weird genre of games? He started as a menacing Bizarro character to antagonize Mario in Super Mario Land 2: The Six Golden Coins. His greed for treasure is expanded further in the Wario Land games. And then, suddenly… he appears in Wario Blast, a Bomberman clone, for the Game Boy in 1995. So, we’ve established that Wario is greedy and he likes to blow things up… Uhhhhhhhhh, MINI-GAMES! Perhaps this is why Nintendo is so careful about their beloved Waluigi so he doesn’t suffer a similar fate!
7) Banjo Kazooie – Loggo (N64 1998)
I’m in Mad Monster Mansion. Mumbo just turned me into a pumpkin. What can I possibly do with this new…power? Oh! Now I can flush myself down a toilet! I think the part I love about this section of Banjo Kazooie is that there’s really no clue or indication that you should try to flush yourself down the toilet. You simply have to put two and two together to realize that you’re now the size of something that would fit comfortably within the bowels of the toilet bowl. Equally amusing is that Loggo asks you to “lock the door on the way out” as if the toilet also has to use the toilet. Do toilets go to the bathroom? I’m genuinely curious about this…
6) Ren and Stimpy: Veediots – The Boy Who Cried Rat (SNES 1993)
So, we’ve already talked a little bit about the pitfalls of video games based on TV/Movies…and Ren & Stimpy: Veediots is no exception. I remember excitedly renting this game (from Family Video!) only to be deeply disappointed. I couldn’t even get past the first stage…and there are only 4 stages in total! “The Boy Who Cried Rat” references Ren & Stimpy’s 11th episode, “Ren’s Toothache,” where Ren deals with the consequences of refusing to brush his teeth. It’s…awful (you can watch it here: https://renandstimpy.fandom.com/wiki/Ren%27s_Toothache). Anyway, in the level, you navigate Ren through a decaying mouth to fight the Tooth Beaver who feasts on nerve endings. Meanwhile, gnashing teeth attempt to crush you unless you’re able to hide safely in toothless crevices throughout the stage. This was the section I couldn’t complete. I guess I was too young and too impatient…though I was able to get through similar sections in games like Mega Man and Little Nemo: The Dream Master. Then again, those are actually good games.
5) Day of the Tentacle – Mummy Model (PC/Mac 1993)
A sequel to the classic LucasArts game, Maniac Mansion, in which our heroes can microwave a pet hamster, Day of the Tentacle gives us the opportunity to win a futuristic “Human Contest” by dressing up a mummy with stylized spaghetti and dentures that originally belonged to a horse from colonial times. Do I really need to say more? If you haven’t played this game, the remastered version released on Steam in 2016 and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a point-and-click puzzle adventure which may seem a little dated in today’s market of video games, but B-movie-esque plot is driven along by a colorful cast of characters who are constantly making references to Star Wars. I first played the original at a friend’s house when I was younger but wasn’t able to get far when my parents told me it was time to go home. When I finally had a few free hours over my Thanksgiving break, I jumped back in immediately and finished the entire game in just two sittings (okay….two relatively long sittings….but it was break!!!). Check it out and you, too, can win the Human Contest…and save the world!!!!!
4) Tekken 3 – Gon Gas (PSX 1998)
Tekken has been showing up a lot on my lists lately. Honestly, I didn’t play the game too much, but when I came across this picture, I knew I had to include it on my list. Not only is it ridiculous that you can play as a tiny dinosaur named Gon (Hunter X Hunter reference??), but this same character can…well…you saw the picture. Dinosaurs are no stranger to fighting games. Prehistoric combatants were battling it out in Primal Rage in 1994 (a year after the release of Jurassic Park in theaters) and Dino Rex existed in arcades in 1992 (though not as well known). Of course, this was the 90’s and Tekken 3 wasn’t the only game using fart attacks in 1998 – as we will see later in the list! (Is this where Wario got his inspiration for his fighting style in Super Smash Bros??)
3) Conker’s Bad Fur Day – The Great Mighty Poo (N64 2001)
If I didn’t mention this game, I knew I’d get some major backlash. When it comes to toilet humor in video games, Conker’s Bad Fur Day appears in almost every conversation about the topic (and it even lands at the #1 spot on similar lists!). The only reason it’s #3 on my list is because….I never played it! BUT(T), I know its legacy…and I know about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vdd4rBlsj2o (warning: naughty language but super amusing). Please enjoy.
2) Earthbound – This Game Stinks (SNES 1995)
The epitome of what I associate with the “gross-out campaign” of the 90’s is the marketing strategy of Earthbound. In Earthbound’s case, this marketing strategy backfired, and people actually thought the game was bad which left it only to obtain a cult status in the years that followed. The image I attached was something you’d see in gaming magazines like Nintendo Power, and I recall one issue even included scratch-and-sniff cards (shown below) where you could “smell the game” (side note: the banana card smelled quite pleasant). Interestingly enough, the game itself isn’t actually that gross. Yes, you can dig hamburgers out of trash cans and you fight a giant blob named Master Belch…but that’s about it. The rest of the game is a quirky RPG following four children in an attempt to save the world from evil aliens from another time. I’m not sure if I bought into the marketing necessarily, but this was a game that I remember getting shortly after it came out (in the giant box that included a strategy guide). I was totally enthralled and would play it every chance I could before and after school. It was the first RPG I ever owned and I was proud to finally have a game in the genre that was different from my friends who were playing games like Final Fantasy and Secret of Mana – a game that was also suited so closely to my personality. Despite the weird marketing campaign, Earthbound remains one of my favorites of all time, and I’m glad I got to experience it at the time of its release to see it through the eyes of my childhood self.
1) Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus – Exploding Farts (PSX 1998)
Abe’s Exoddus is the sequel to Abe’s Oddysee which came out in 1997 (If you have time to watch an interview with Lorne Lanning, he offers some awesome incite on the creative process and restrictions they had with having to release a game just a year after the original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7f0YtzWBG4 – I *think* this is the right interview….). In the interview, Lorne explains how development for the second game was rushed and how he was frustrated that they weren’t able to tell the entire story that was in line with his vision for the series (so now they’re working on Soulstorm, which is a re-imagining of Exoddus…a story for another time…). Anyway, when I learned about the developmental hell they went through, I was genuinely surprised because Exoddus is easily my favorite of the two games released on Playstation. It improved the game in so many ways. Instead of leading around just one Mudoken at a time, you could now have several follow you all at once. Sligs were no longer restricted to the ground, so when you possessed them, there were several areas of the game that had cool flying sections. Also, a later section of the game let you possess Glukkons, who were the main villains of the first game. I thought it was such an interesting twist to be able to take control over the enemies who were only seen in cutscenes in the first installment. So, how is this gross and a top spot on my list? Well, the main quest has our hero, Abe, saving his friends from a factory that makes Soulstorm Brew out of the bones of his species. Despite this horrifying fact, Abe and his company actually become addicted to the drink and quickly learn that it produces some interest side effects… The game takes it a step further and allows Abe use his mind control powers to possess the clouds of his “side effects.” Being an “explosive” drink, clouds can be navigated toward nearby enemies and then blown up on command. In simple terms, you can blow up your possessed farts. There, I said it. This was the cherry on top of all the other new features introduced into the game, and it was exactly what my 8th grade mind needed to escape a tough time during my childhood. These games remain some of my most cherished memories, and I’m looking very much forward to the release of Soulstorm (hopefully I’ll have a system by then that can actually play it!).
What are some of your favorite instances of toilet humor in video games? Tell me about them in the comments below! And be sure to subscribe via e-mail for content delivered directly to your inbox!