Monday, November 19, 2012

NES Replay: Adventures of Gilligan's Island

Gilligan's Island Title Screen
Developer: Human Entertainment
Publisher: Bandai
Released: 1990
Is It Just Me: Or Does "Human Entertainment"
Sound Kind of Sinister
In NES Replay, we go through each NES game from A-Z to see if they're any good. Today: Adventures Of Gilligan's Island.

When I was a kid, I thought that the TV show Gilligan's Island was hilarious. I think it's already been established that I had bad taste when I was kid, but just in case there was any doubt, that should seal the deal.

Sadly, I wasn't alone in this. Gilligan's Island was really, really popular for a few years and was on syndication forever. Just writing this article has put the stupid theme song in my head, and if I write down the words, "a THREE HOUR tour", it'll be in yours too.

When Gilligan's Island was on the air, intelligent people viewed it like the death of society. After all, if a stupid show where the same thing happens every episode could be so popular, what chance did civilization have? Best for civilization as a whole to just turn off the lights and go home, frankly.

However, just because Gilligan's Island was an awful TV show doesn't mean it couldn't work somewhere else. The story of seven castaways who are trapped on a island could be fodder for a fun, silly game. I mean, really think about the show. There's barely any conflict, lots of silly machines and plotlines, and Gilligan always finds a way to screw things up. Doesn't Gilligan's Island seem like it would make for a great point-and-click adventure game in the vein of a Monkey Island?

Like, let's say that the Professor comes up with an idea to make a coconut radio to broadcast a distress signal. The Skipper and Gilligan need to go get the coconuts and end up falling into a pit and have to come up with a solution to get out that revolves around flinging Gilligan against a wall. Then they get the coconuts and bring them back to the professor, who has to rig up a machine using the coconuts and wires made out of palm fronds.

In other words, make a new Gilligan's Island
Thx - MGMT
Then, when the signal goes out, they have to build a signal fire. Mary Ann and Ginger head off to do that while Gilligan goes to collect wood. He ends up being kidnapped by birds or something, and the Skipper has to go rescue him.

The fire is built, and they just have to wait for help. Gilligan is told to wait by the fire and keep it lit. If you do nothing, the fire goes out and everyone comes just this close to murdering him. If you put wood on the fire, it creates a raincloud above the mountain that starts a rainstorm and puts out the signal fire while also destroying the radio, and everyone comes just this close to murdering Gilligan again. With a little bit of self-awareness, it would be surprisingly fun to play.

I mean, imagine if a company like Telltale Games got the opportunity to make a Gilligan's Island game. That would be the perfect fit. Their graphical style would mesh almost perfectly with the already-cartoonish show, and their episodic skill would work well with it too.

Oh, I suppose I have to review this game, not some nebulous game that I just made up in my head. Anyway, The Adventures of Gilligan's Island for the NES sucks. The controls suck, the music sucks, the lame attempts at humor suck, and why is the Skipper punching gorillas now? There's a time limit running in the background too, if all of that wasn't enough. Gilligan falls down wells and you have to rescue him all the time. It's just bad and I hate it.

Either way, it doesn't pay to get all nostalgic about something like Gilligan's Island. It was really lame and kind of dumb. Making a game based on it in the NES years was the definition of "cynical cash-in" and I hope the developers are all ashamed of themselves.

Final Rating:

Next Week: The Adventures of Lolo

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