You Read It Here First
With this issue, VCI has attempted to inform our readers of potential rip-offs and catastrophes, now and in the future. We have, however, saved the most grievous example for last.
We’ve just received a report from Pedro Lobelez, VCI’s correspondent in Mexico City. Pedro was assigned to investigate the soon-to be infamous line of videogames from Nada Games, corporate headquarters in San Squertes, Mexico.
The Nada games, only now creeping (nay, crawling) north of the border (and carried only by the most venal retailers) were designed by the company president, former restauranteur and parole violator Carl (“Kahlua and Cream”) Peebo.
Peebo’s games are noteworthy for their dim, flickering graphics, two-note music, and buz-saw sound effects. Scoring is inaccurate or unreadable. Control is such that the player wonders if (s)he is using the correct joystick or paddle. Instructions, if included at all, are written in a Spanglish variant. Worse, many of the chewing gum-epoxied games don’t boot or fall apart at a pinch.
But Peebo’s most notorious achievement is in the packaging and titling of his games, as Pedro’s report makes crystal clear. Pedro…?
“VCI was unable to interview Nada Games’ president Carl Peebo, as he is locked in seclusion in his corporate headquarters and will not return our calls. However, due to our close proximity to the Nada Games’ warehouse, we were able to obtain playable copies of the games.
It appears that Peebo is expanding his line from simple VCS games to computergames for the Timex Sinclair 1000 and even an interactive laserdisc game. We had the opportunity of screening Peebo’s laserdisc Star Trek (“All New!” trumpets the sleeve). Star Trek is an interactive super eight film of a Beverly Hills bus tour, showing the hedges and gates of the stars.
It would appear, to this reporter, that the use of that title is misleading, if not litigous.
With NadaSoft, the computergames, Peebo seems to be striving for something unique: slice-of-life simulations. Titles include Room of Doom (text and graphics; dentist office logistics and operating procedures); War Room (textual; divorce court proceedings); and Alien (textual, static graphics; playing the part of a refugee, the player must fill out multiple forms and wait in a series of long lines).
Peebo’s 2600 games continue his deceptive titling practices but reach an astonishing low in imagination and craftsmanship.
Surprisingly, Nada’s first released game was, and still is, their best. Entitled Spider Fighter, it is a boxing match between a man and a giant spider. The player-controlled man is inevitably decked within seconds, but it is a true original.
Industry insiders claim that after Spider Fighter, Peebo took a two-pronged approach to his subsequent games: he began to cut expenses by hiring computer-illiterate programmers and he developed game themes based on the business he knows best, restaurants.
After the failure of the restaurant series, quality plummeted even further. In short order, Peebo designed and released:
Moon Patrol. The player is a security guard at a woman’s college, assigned to swat away male student pranksters
Space Invaders. Swat pesky neighbors away from your patio.
Space Spartans. Nada’s paddle game offering. Clean up a living room.
Pole Position. As a member of the winter olympics ground crew, the player positions the poles for an upcoming downhill ski run.
Spacehawk. Perhaps the worst of the lot, though it boasts the best sound effects: a nebular spitting contest between player and computer.
Desperate to raise cash, Peebo, VCI has learned, is now releasing the same game under two different titles and in two different packages! Jungle Hunt (“blast the endangered species!” urges the instruction tissue) has the same graphics and sound as Football (one on one football, as it turns out). Likewise, Phoenix, which simulates bumper to bumper traffic in that Arizona city’s downtown area, is identical to Vanguard, which is described in its instruction stub as “a tense chase through a crowded urban center between a Brink’s truck and wily desperadoes.”
With the poor distribution and sales of his games, Peebo is reportedly considering selling his interest in Nada, perhaps to accept a senior executive position with an American company. The offers are firm; only his extradition problems need to be ironed out.
For some time, bogus designer jeans, cassette tapes and watches have been sold with misleading labels affixed. A similar practice is now being pursued here in San Squertes. Let the buyer beware!”