If you’ve been collecting for any length of time, then you’ve probably accumulated a lot of cool stuff. Stuff you love. Stuff you treasure. Stuff you never touch. You know how it is: you acquire something, you’re excited about it at first, but eventually you put the item away and promptly forget about it. In other words, what once was “found” has now become “lost” (get it?). ”Found & Lost” is all about delving into your collection, dusting off your favorites, finally firing up those untried games you’ve had for years, admiring the gaming memorabilia you’ve acquired, remembering why you wanted all this stuff in the first place.
I’ve been on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet for six months now. I’m trimmer, have more energy, and feel better than ever before. I also REALLY WANT SOME FRENCH FRIES, DAMMIT!! But sadly, this simple pleasure is denied to me... in real life, anyway. Any pigging out I choose to do from now on will have to be done on the video screen. It’s time to hunt through my collection for some tasty treats.
In my search for high-caloric games laden with saturated fats and oils, I turned to the source: McDonald’s. Yes, apparently when the Golden Arches aren’t busy deep-frying assorted cow and chicken parts, they’re cooking up video game ideas. Surprisingly, I have three McDonald’s-licensed games in my collection, and I’ve never really played two of them: McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure and Mick and Mack as the Global Gladiators, both for the Sega Genesis. My third Mickey D’s title, M.C. Kids for the NES, is an old favorite.
Hungering for a new taste sensation, I place a napkin in my lap and pop in Treasure Land Adventure. I’ve heard good things about this game, which is why I plunked down eight bucks for it at GameStop a few months ago (more than I usually pay for used Genesis games). It’s developed by Treasure, which can only be a good thing. The plot goes like this: McDonald’s spokesclown Ronald McDonald finds part of a treasure map. Not content with the mere billions of dollars his global conglomerate pulls down in burger sales every year, Ronald strikes out to find the missing map scraps and procure the treasure for his own greedy self.
The game is well seasoned with common Treasure ingredients. Colorful, detailed graphics, whimsical music that has no business coming out of the Genesis’s rather weak sound system, a high degree of polish throughout. It’s a Sonic-style platformer without the super speed, although Ronald does get around. For a guy whose diet presumably consists of Big Macs and McFlurry™ dairy desserts, Ronald’s a pretty spry guy -- although I suspect the pudgy appearance of his lower body isn’t entirely due to those baggy clown pants, if you know what I mean. The game’s also trippy as all hell. Ronald faces off against a pirate captain whose head is just a pair of huge lips, or hops on twirling ballerinas while music from Swan Lake plays in the background. I don’t know what the Treasure guys were smoking, but I bet you can’t buy it at McDonald’s.
I really enjoy playing the game, but it’s not very fattening. There’s no mention of burgers or Super-Size French fries at all, just a lot of hubbub over Ronald’s magic jewels. The gems serve as Ronald’s health, but everybody else wants them too. Bosses become vulnerable only after eating Ronald’s jewels -- which sounds naughty, somehow. Maybe I’m immature, but when Birdie (another stalwart in the McDonald’s mythos) started pleading with Ronald to give her his jewels, I nearly lost it.
Still hungry and slightly embarrassed, I turn to my old pals Mick & Mack -- the multiculti duo from M.C. Kids -- in their one and only 16-bit adventure. This game was given to me by a friend who was thinning out his collection. He assured me it wasn’t very good. Nevertheless, I held out hope that it would at least be less suggestive… that is, until I opened the instruction manual and took in the opening phrase: “Strap on your goo-shooters.” Immediately I began pining for Ronald’s magic jewels. Yeah, this game isn’t very good. It’s just Yet Another Platformer, less energetic and far less colorful than Treasure Land, with sampled sound effects that become annoying within seconds. Ronald cameos to transform Mick & Mack into the superheroic Global Gladiators, but other than that and a few scattered Golden Arches to collect, there’s not much deep-fried goodness in this game. Come to think of it, M.C. Kids didn’t have much to do with food either, and this game is no M.C. Kids. But you do get to shoot your goo at a character named Biz E. Beaver. Eww.
By now I was ravenous for some real video chow, so I served myself up some comfort food from the trusty Atari 2600. Fast Food (“You’re getting FATTER!”) and Pressure Cooker are always filling. BurgerTime, which is great on the ColecoVision and Intellivision, is unsatisfying on the VCS, as I quickly rediscovered. Finally, in homage to the patriarch of video eaters, I even played a few minutes of Pac-Man on the ol’ 2600. Then I reached for the antacid.
By now I was feeling full, and it occurred to me that games have long been associated with convenience food. Games like Kool-Aid Man and Yo! Noid are just the most obvious examples. Looking through my collection of video game advertising, I found a 2002 pamphlet about Burger King’s “Nintendo Superstars Action Toys” -- one free with every 2,000 calories! I still have part of a Tony’s brand frozen pizza box that offers “Your Chance to Advance” -- a 2002 contest with GBA consoles and accessories as prizes (I lost). I also saved part of a McDonald’s placemat advertising PlayStation prizes during the “Get Back with Big Mac” summer of 1998 (I lost again). If you’re into game advertising, you can get some good stuff by simply watching what you eat.
Dieting is no fun. But you gotta do what you gotta do. Luckily there’s no restriction on the fat content of my game collection, and digging into it is always delicious. Now go chow down!
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