For this edition of Retro Ramblings, we’re going back to 1990 to look at an ad featuring a Nintendo game I found under the tree that year. That’s all the reason I need to consider this a Christmas-themed post.
Now as for the ad itself, it’s pretty swank. It does its best to make the game sound exciting by throwing out those blurbs about what you’ll face in the game. Unfortunately, some of those things just don’t sound exciting. The Karate Creeps and Combat Copters sound great, but when you have to start naming off things like Open Manholes and Vicious Dogs, it could be an indicator that your game isn’t exactly Contra.
But it does highlight some screenshots, and the shots they chose to show make the game look really good. The broken highway in particular makes it look like a game you’d want to play.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the game. I really liked it. The fighting aspect was fun in its own way, and the skating aspect added a degree of difficulty not often seen in side-scrolling games. Like, after you landed a jump you had to instantly react because your player would just keep going. While that doesn’t sound all that bad, think about all the spots in games where you have to make numerous consecutive jumps and land on little spots between them.
The problem this game suffered from was false advertising. I mean, if you were watching Rollergames on television, you were expecting a roller derby on a figure-eight track with the massive wall of death and alligators potentially on the track. But what you go was a side-scrolling fighting game. It’s like they had a game designed that they felt they needed to attach a brand to, and Rollergames was it.
They did keep the teams from Rollergames intact, as you had your choice of three playable characters. A girl from the Hot Flash, a guy from The Rockers, or “The IceBox” Robert Smith from the world-famous L.A. T-Birds. The managers of the heel teams were also represented, as they were featured as level bosses throughout the game.
The Rollergames TV show didn’t have a large following. I mean, it only lasted 13 episodes. So Konami was already drawing from a limited pool and the fact that the video game wasn’t like what was seen on TV further limited its appeal. But none of that stopped me from enjoying it. I liked the game for what it was and spent many hours on it. Especially on Christmas day in 1990. There…that last sentence reinforces that this is a post for Christmas.