Lucas White writes game reviews for www.snackbar-games.com. Check out more of his work if you enjoy this article.
Everyone loves crossovers; otherwise, the comic book industry would never be able to afford producing stories that are actually good, every once and awhile. For some reason, seeing popular characters in settings they have no business being in is like catnip for nerds, and this real life money glitch is not going unnoticed. Now, we see plenty of cameo appearances in video games as well, often from established companies (Nintendo), who love putting a little extra effort into making their rabid, slobbering fanboys (not you, calm down) happy, by showing them Mario’s face in a bathroom window or something. Sounds harmless (almost), but every now and then, magic happens, and by magic, I mean the nonsensical bullshit that follows. Here are some cameos that are no doubt the product of nobody having the guts to tell some shareholder’s spoiled offspring that their ideas are terrible.
7. Guybrush… Threepkiller?
(Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II)
Here, we have the infamous burnout developer LucasArts (Rest In Pieces) committing the cardinal sin of intellectual property abuse. After suddenly remembering that Monkey Island is a thing that exists and is liked by people who might be packing some combination of nostalgia and money, they shoehorned the poor Guybrush Threepwood (mighty pirate) into one of their particularly crappy Star Wars games (no, not the Kinect one), in form of a fucking hideously deformed character skin.
Star Wars may be a work of pulpy sci-fi fantasy, but in the gritty, self-serious world of this game, a plasticky cartoon of a ‘person’ sticks out like a still-living black guy at the end of a horror movie. Clearly though, this was the best use of the franchise instead of, you know, a new goddamn Monkey Island game.
Mad props to Telltale Games for actually making that happen later on, but now that Disney owns Monkey Island, the poor guy’ll probably end up in some Kingdom Hearts bullshit next.
6. 8-bit Ballers
(NBA Street V3)
Mario and his entourage playing basketball (or doing anything at all, really) is not new, nor is it the problem with this cameo. Hell, it’s actually kind of cool, in theory. The issue here is how bizarre and horribly out of place it looks.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware of the rather over-the-top stylistic approach to the sport that the NBA Street series presents, but when you have a roster of normal (-ish) human beings jamming it out with otherworldly, dwarfish living mascot suits, with enormous fucing heads, that are unabashedly defying the laws of goddamn physics, well, you’re lying if you tell me you don’t feel uneasy
Take a good long moment to truly absorb that image and then tell me that you are not disturbed. Be honest, now. At best, this is like a reverse Space Jam but without the cheesy 90’s pop music to bolster your suspension of disbelief.
5. James McCloud the Otherkin
You know when that really annoying friend insists that you click on a context-free DeviantArt link and you’re like, “No way, dude, not after the MS Paint Sonic recolor, with all them dicks,” and he urges you to not be a wuss of a bro, and so, you click it and it turns out to be a page full of weird fetishistic human versions of lovable childrens’ cartoon animals? Specific enough for ya? Well, that’s what happened here. In an official game. From Nintendo.
As if the Star Fox series wasn’t already an easy target for the Internet, they brought the friggin’ main character, who is supposed to be an actual fucking fox remember, into the futuristic racing franchise as a totally ripped, spikey-headed anime beefcake (with admittedly rad sunglasses). I don’t even want to know what the fan response to this was. I don’t want to know anything else about it at all, actually.
4. Mario Mo-cap Fever Dream
(Just Dance 3)
Confident, after the… rousing success of DDR Mario Mix, Nintendo decided that the world wanted, no, needed more overweight middle-aged plumber dancing. Ubisoft, too busy being French and rich as hell to give a damn, agreed to a Wii-exclusive addition to Just Dance 3 and approached it in the worst way possible…
Just Dance games make extensive use of motion capture for their ostensibly accurate dance moves, and from the looks of things, they paid a guy ‘not enough money’ to attempt a dance in a Mario costume that allowed less range of motion than Michael Keaton’s costume in the first Batman movie.
The wobbly “dancing” of Mario combined with his unblinking, lifeless face and the feverish neon filter over everything have secured a permanent spot for this sequence in my recurring nightmare schedule. Well, just watch the video but be sure that you aren’t planning to sleep tonight.
3. Skin-tight Sumo
(Tekken Tag Tournament 2)
Perhaps you’re familiar with the “sexy Ninja Turtle” halloween costumes. The uncomfortably sexist but ultimatelybizarre reimagining of the Ninja Turtle characters into something very stupid-looking, as pictured here:
Well, this entry is kind of the opposite, though less offensive and more ridiculous. Namco Bandai has always been about the goofy non-sequiturs in their fighters, including boxing kangaroos and fucking dinosaurs, but this one teeters on the edge of the uncanny valley. The silly Mario nose on Heihachi is certainly amusing, and dare I say, cute but poor Ganryu is suffering from a severe case of socially unaware cosplayer.
You know what, we’re done here.
2. He Left Capcom for This?
(Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2)
You may be wondering what Keiji Inafune has been up to since dipping out of Capcom, right after getting a greenlight for Megaman Legends 3, setting it neatly on a track for failure. No, I’m not talking about the Monster Hunter ripoffs on the Vita, I’m talking about his appearance in a Compile Heart game. Seriously.
For those of you fortunate enough to not know what the hell I’m talking about, Hyperdimension Neptunia is a series of JRPGs, hiding their half-naked preteen robot girls under a thin veil of video game industry commentary and lazy reference jokes. The creator of Megaman makes an appearance as a sword called the “Inafune Brand,” which is best described as an anime lightsaber featuring Inafune on its’ tip, from the torso up. Because that isn’t kooky enough, there is also a special move that brings Inafune’s giant, blurrily-textured face down from a mess of stormclouds to shoot a giant beam of… pink stuff from his mouth.
I’m really trying hard not to include a joke about physics and heat produced by a friction of wood… so let’s move on. The image says it all, really.
So, Captain Rainbow is a super weird game that Nintendo kept in Japan out of fear of being accused of terrorism, among other things. The main story of the game is that you’re a tokusatsu-style superhero on an island inhabited by old, minor Nintendo characters. You help them out with their problems, none of which seem to be getting their jobs back. Birdo, the infamous vaguely transgendered egg-face-hole dinosaur thing from Mario 2 makes an appearance in what might be the dumbest scenario in video game history. When you meet him/her, Birdo feverishly claims to be female but has been arrested for attempting to use a women’s restroom… Continuing to be a bastion of poor taste, the game burdens you with proving Birdo’s innocence, and does so by having you find a… censored, vibrating object in her house:
Yeah. This of course is all the evidence the police need and nobody really knows what happens next because nobody cares about the game, at least, not past being weirded out by this one scene. In all seriousness, I dare you to think of something more random and crazy. Can’t wait…