Thursday, December 01, 2011

Three Famicom games I want to like, but can't

I'm sure this will sound a tad fanboy-ish, but it can't be helped (since, for me, it's the truth): I've rarely encountered a Nintendo-developed game that I didn't end up liking after spending some quality time with it.

Interestingly, most of the ones that haven't clicked with me were released during the Famicom's--or the Nintendo Entertainment System's, if that's how you roll--first year or two on the market.

Case in point: The three Nintendo-made carts below, each of which I've tried my darndest to enjoy but in the end just couldn't bring myself to do so.

1. Clu Clu Land (1984)

Why I want to like it: It's colorful. It's cute. Its box art is appealing. Uh, isn't that enough?

Why I can't: For some strange reason, Clu Clu Land's controls don't agree with me at all. I feel like I'm drunk whenever I play it--or that I've lost all sense of coordination, at the very least. Maybe my brain just isn't wired in a way that allows me to enjoy this superficially appealing game?

2. Tennis (1984)

Why I want to like it: I'm a huge fan of the sport. As such, a tennis game really has to suck for me to not like it.

Why I can't: Although I wouldn't say this is the worst tennis game ever made, it's pretty close to earning that title thanks to its slippery and severely limited controls. (Also, defeating computer-controlled opponents often is hair-pullingly difficult.)

3. Urban Champion (1984)

Why I want to like it: It's one of the earliest one-on-one fighting games to hit the home market. Also, it features some fairly unique and even innovative controls for an 8-bit brawler. Finally, I find the Japanese version's box art completely charming.

Why I can't: Despite all of the above, and despite how much I desperately want to enjoy it, Urban Champion has always bored me to tears--when it isn't making me want to chuck my controller through the TV screen.

See also: 'Three PC Engine games I want to like, but can't' and 'Three more PC Engine games that I want to like, but can't'


Mark Ayala said...

Try to give Clu-Clu land another shot. I actually never played it on my NES back in the day, but got hooked on it ten years ago when it was a piece of furniture you were able to get in Animal Crossing. The controls do come off as a little like being drunk, but that's what makes it fun. It's a game where eventually you get in this weird rhythm where moving your character is like second nature and so incredibly smooth and fun.

Tennis and Urban Champion were games I also came to late, again, because of Animal Crossing. But neither one is very good. Especially Urban Champion with it's wonky control and slow pace. I can appreciate the idea of a blue guy punching a green guy in the middle of the street while avoiding police, but it's just not very fun. Tennis is just hard and the controls are bad. And no music on the court! No thanks!

Bryan Ochalla said...

OK, I'll give Clu Clu Land another shot or two, Mark. Who knows? Maybe further experience with it will cause me to change my mind about it and include it in a future "Second Chances" post. As it is now, though, the controls definitely are what's keeping me from enjoying it. I just can't seem to get a hang of them.

As for your thoughts on Tennis and Urban Champion: I agree completely. Urban Champion, especially, features some great ideas, but they just don't come together to produce a very fun game, do they?

Darwin said...

I remember my dad got me Clu Clu Land for Christmas one year, and I thought WTF is this game!?! Haha

And those days I had to play whatever game I got for a very long time. I do remember learning to enjoy it though. I haven't played it in a while but I always thought it was a weird game concept.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ha! I like that story, Darwin :) Also, I agree that the game's concept is weird -- although that doesn't really turn me off. Maybe I've just got to play it some more, as I really do want to like it...

Viewtiful_Justin said...

Clu Clu Land feels the same for me, too. A little wonky...I played it mostly on Animal Crossing, as well! But I never really got the hang of the controls. I like the CONCEPT of the game, but...the execution is a little frustrating. But really, without that control scheme, wouldn't it be WAY too easy?

Bryan Ochalla said...

Well, it's good to know I'm not alone when it comes to Clu Clu Land. Every time I try it, I'm like, "Wait, which direction do I push on the d-pad to turn right? Or left? Ahhhh!!" Really, I'm hopeless. Anyway, I think you're probably right, Justin, that the game likely would be too easy with a different control scheme. (Kind of like what I've said about Ice Climber in the past.)

Marco Grande Arbitro said...

it is true! Urban Champion bored me, I preferred Punch-Out!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, you won't get any disagreement from me there, Marco! Punch-Out!! is the better game by far :)