8 More of the Most Awesomely Insane Arcade Games of the 1980s
?Who decided ’80s videogames didn’t have to make any sense? Why was it generally agreed upon that the premise of an arcade game was allowed to be totally fucking crazy? Frankly, we have no idea. It’s tempting to blame the mushroom-added nightmare of Super Mario Bros., but arcade games were insane well before Super Mario stomped his first goomba. Space Invaders is actually pretty straight-forward, once you think about it. And Pac-Man is weird, but it’s not what you would call bizarre. So whose fault is it?
Frankly, we don’t know. But man were the arcade games of the ’80s batshit crazy. So much so that even though we’ve covered this topic before, we found eight more nightmarishly demented arcade games that you need to be informed of. These games ignore all the rules of nature (and the rules of the animal kingdom in particular, it seems) and common sense to force players into bizarre worlds of crystal-grabbing, monkey punching and hobo clown feeding. Grab a couple of quarters and your preferred anti-psychotic drugs and come along.
8) Crazy Climber
First off: Crazy Climber, which starts off this list because it admits in its own title that it is “Crazy.” It’s certainly crazy to have a man climb a building. Also crazy is that the person climbing the building would find so many people and animals trying to kill him. There are people closing windows, throwing flower pots, electrified wires, a giant bird pooping at you, falling metal dumbbells, and of course, a giant ape on the building who wants to kill you, presumably because climbing buildings is his job. There are also signs that read “Crazy Climber” which can fall on you, which makes me wonder who is messed-up enough to make a sign for a person just to try to kill them with it.
You are a kangaroo with a boxing glove trying to save your joey. That’s the normal part.. For some reason, as the opening animation explains, your joey is in a house in a giant tree and you fall through the giant hole in the branches (I’m guessing because kangaroos are not good at tree navigation, although that begs the question why they’d be living on top of a tree anyways) which give a gang of monkeys ample time to abduct your joey. At least these monkeys throw apples at you instead of feces. You basically have to beat the crap out of monkeys on your way to rescue your Joey without getting beaten up, which is something we can all relate to not at all.
6) Satan’s Hollow
A pretty simple shoot-em up — you have a ship that shoots rockets and a shield, and you blast enemies. In this case, the enemies are gargoyles. However, the setting is a hellscape and the goal is to collect pieces of a bridge so you may cross a river of lava to fight Satan. That’s right, Satan, represented by a flying horned head and a pitchfork, breathing fire. Certainly a unique take on the shoot-em-up and the book of Revelation.
5) Crystal Castles
I don’t know if someone involved in the creation of this game was, in fact, a Dead Head, but it would certainly explain this being the only game in which you control a bear with a trackball. Not just any bear, but Bentley Bear, who is in a strange, messed-up world collecting gems and trying not to be killed by witches, evil trees, monsters that eat gems and bees. Jumping is your means of survival, as is getting a magic hat and possibly doing a lot of acid.
You control an anteater tongue in an effort to eat ants and ant larvae in a maze-like environment. Of course, no anteater would be without his natural enemies, which in this case are poachers. No, wait, insects and worms. Yes, a creature that eats insects has, in this game, insects as enemies. The ant larvae are merely dots. The ants you can only eat with the tip of your tongue, if they touch any other part of your tongue you die. You know because you can eat them, but the ants are also poisonous? Further, worms will kill you if you touch them with the tip of your tongue, but not the extended part of your tongue. If an anteater actually worked like this in real life you would call them — well, absolutely nothing, because they would have been extinct long ago.
3) Angel Kids
The object of the game is to throw a child into the air. The child is thrown into the air by angels. The child flies up into the air by bouncing on a rope and pops balloons for items. You have to control the angels by moving them with two joysticks, one for each angel. If you happen to not catch the child, she falls to her doom. Also, a crow will kill the child. I have to wonder what kind of a God would allow angels to go on a mission such as this, especially since there’s a giant beanstalk in the background a child might be able to just climb up.
2) Boxing Bugs
This vector game from 1981 is considered rare by collectors because of its low production run; however, it may have a low production run because it is terrible. Essentially, you play a gun/boxing glove positioned in the center of the screen trying to stop bugs from pushing bombs into your shields and eventually yourself. You can shoot the bombs, but for the bugs themselves, you have to turn around and punch them with your other end. It also contains intermission animation where your character does things like surprise giant bugs with a present that explodes.
1) Snacks n’ Jackson
?Perhaps one of the first games to feature a hobo, this game features Jackson de Box as a scary hobo with clown makeup. You control his head with a trackball and move it around the screen, catching food to eat that is flying at him. It should be mentioned that while moving his head, his body stays still, sitting at a table, his neck stretching out like it’s a slinky covered in flesh. Oh, also — his nose flies off. His nose flies off and you have to keep blocking it with your head or else it will break the window behind you. This is also probably the only game ever made with a “sneeze” button used for when your arch-enemy (which is not named but could be called ‘sanity’) gets soap and hot peppers in your way and you must sneeze to counter them.