Hooters Road Trip (PS1)

How You Doin’, Sugah?

The one and only time I visited a Hooters, I ordered a burger well-done, and it came to the table red and raw. The waitress apologized and got me a replacement burger, which she accidentally charged me a second time for on the bill despite my not even biting into the original burger. While I was there, I bore witness to a dude hitting on a different waitress so aggressively, a manager had to come by the table and tell him to slow his roll. I still ended up leaving a 25% tip because despite my order and my experience being a total debacle, I felt bad for everyone working there. Also, my waitress was admittedly very pretty and called me “cutie” and I am a complete and total sucker.

In case you are unaware, Hooters is a chain of restaurants wherein the primary novelty is that the waitresses are all conventionally attractive and made to wear semi-revealing uniforms. It is a company in which the employee handbook demands that female staff “acknowledge and affirm […] the Hooters concept is based on female sex appeal and the work environment is one in which joking and entertaining conversations are commonplace.”[1] In other words, employees are basically made to consent to being objectified and hit on by customers if they want to keep their job. Granted, there are hundreds of thousands of other waitress gigs out there where the environment isn’t inherently skeevy by design, and a woman who knows what they’re signing up for should be free to pursue their “Hooters Girl” career as they please. But also, they should totally be allowed to kick shithead customers in the groin if they happen to get handsy.

In 2002, someone decided that what the Hooters brand needed was a tie-in video game for the Sony PlayStation. Not the two-years-young PlayStation 2, mind you, but the original PS1. And what genre did they assume most players would want to see the Hooters brand associate with? No, not a dating sim or food service simulator.** It’s a danged racing game. Because truly, the strength of the Hooters brand doesn’t lie in pretty women or passable food: It’s all about their on-and-off involvement in sponsoring NASCAR racers. And who better to helm development than Hoplite Research — the developers of 1999’s Extreme Paintbrawl 2?***

Gas your cars and get your grub on, folks: It’s time to go on a Hooters Road Trip.

** If you absolutely, positively need to live out your food service fantasies, get your hands on Cook, Serve, Delicious. If you prefer your games on the rare side (pun intended), you can always go ahead and import the Japan-exclusive Yoshinoya for the PS2.
*** Yes, the original Extreme Paintbrawl is on the shortlist of “games to review” for this website, and is one of the most truly terrible first-person shooters of all time. How it has managed the staggering number of sequels it has is beyond me, but at least Hoplite’s take on the franchise is a marked improvement over the first.

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Bad Game Music #007

Right about Now It’s Time to Rock

In this month’s batch of entries to the Bad Game Hall of Fame YouTube channel, I accidentally went and included a recurring theme across our three uploads: All of these songs feature some use of vocal sampling in them! In fact, I was so pleasantly surprised by the consistency of this batch, I may actually try to intentionally group uploads together like this together again in the future. Until next month, please to enjoy the sampled sounds of Violent StormBuck Bumble, and Global Gladiators.

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The Top Five Worst Games Print Ads

Back in the day, before we had your new-fangled “World Wide Web,” most of us had to get our news from games magazines. And we liked it, dagnabbit! Of course, these supposed tomes of gaming knowledge were basically little more than advertising fed directly into our eyeballs, often absent of genuine criticism or any other concerns other than letting consumers know what new games were coming out and when. At some point, any and every asset of these magazines might have only existed as thinly-veiled promotional material — from the developer-supplied cheat code sections all the way down to bought-and-paid-for reviews.

In a shocking turn, the actual as-advertised print ads themselves might have been the most genuine parts of some of these magazines: At least when you were staring at a full-page promotional panel, you were aware you were looking at marketing material. Of course, sometimes even these adverts might be misleading, as advertising is wont to be. In some scenarios, they seemed to care less about selling you on the games themselves and more about simply grabbing your attention. I mean, you don’t actually need me to explain any of this to you, do you? Kind of the nature of the beast here, innit?

Anyway, this list is dedicated to some of the worst print ads ever run to promote individual game releases. To be clear, I’m intentionally eschewing print ads to promote consoles / hardware accessories / companies in general, as that’s a list for another day.

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Bad Game Music #006

 The Return of the Curse of the Bad Game Music Hall of Fame

My friends, I am afraid this is the return of the Bad Game Hall of Fame YouTube channel, including cuts from the SNES version of Wolverine: Adamantium Rage, Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode, and Night Trap.

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Transformers: Mystery of Convoy (NES)

Kinkyu Shirei

More than meets the eye.
Transformative art by @KSShaezer.

Boy howdy, how about those Transformers, huh? Why, I remember back in the day, watching them on that cartoon show of theirs. And of course, who can forget those toys? Transforming all over the place, turning into all sorts of stuff! But oh man, don’t get me started on that jerk Michael Bay, tarnishing the reputation of… Those cartoons designed to sell the toys, I guess? Autobots, keep on rollin’ baby!

Alright look, I’ve gotta come clean: I’m not really a Transformers fan. I didn’t grow up watching them (I was more of a Looney Tunes kind of kid), I didn’t mess around with any of the toys, and while I honestly didn’t hate that first Michael Bay movie, I also did not feel the need to watch any of the sequels. If you’re one of those folk who loves this sort of mecha stuff with a passion, more power to you! It’s just not my bag, baby. You know what is my bag, though? Bad video games. Which is where and why our paths cross today.

1986’s Tatakae! Chō Robotto Seimeitai Toransufōmā: Konboi no Nazo translates roughly into English as “Fight! Super Robot Life-Form Transformers: Mystery of Convoy.” But for the sake of simplicity, maybe we oughta’ call the game “Mystery of Comvoy [sic],” as that is the only English present on the Famicom box / cartridge art. You see, we never actually saw a release of this game in English-speaking territories, which is honestly something of a surprise. Considering how anything with the Transformers branding seemed guaranteed to sell like hotcakes in the States at the time, you’d think that they’d have been willing to localize any slop with a shot at making a quick buck? Unless, of course, the product was so bad, that releasing it overseas could’ve been seen as potentially harmful to the franchise as a whole.

Transformers: Mystery of Convoy is one of the classic “Kusogē” titles** of the Famicom era, whose legacy has endured through the years much as the source material it is based on. It was the among most popularly requested games to appear on the venerable GameCenter CX, its legendary difficulty has been referenced in spin-off Transformers anime, and it was even re-imagined as an endless runner smartphone game in 2014 to capitalize on the originals notoriety. It takes a special kind of awful to be recognized as one of “the worst of all time,” and so today we’re gonna get to the bottom of what makes Mystery of Convoy so infamous.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mystery of Convoy utilizes some pretty severe strobing effects, which I have attempted to diminish the speed / frequency of in the animated GIFs included with this article. This may slightly affect the timing of some of the animations on display, but seizure-proofing takes priority on this website.

** Since this is actually our first time using the term on this site, it may bear some explanation: Kusogē is effectively Japanese slang for “shit games,” generally of the “funny bad” variety. In using the term as someone from outside of Japan, it is my thinking that we should generally try to reserve it for games specifically from and intended for Japan, rather than just labeling all bad games as a kusogē.

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