March 30, 2023

These days, if somebody was looking for a go at this game, they would probably sail the high seas of piracy. Well, it turns out that the guys at Western Technologies designed a (perhaps unintentional) piracy prevention feature. In the penultimate stage, after defeating Mojo, the game would tell you to “RESET THE COMPUTER!” The player was supposed to guess that doing a light reset of the console would bring them to the final level. As you probably guessed, that is easier said than done when you’re playing the game via a ROM. There are some ways to sidestep it these days, but it’s a frustrating (if fascinating) little gimmick.

11. An Unreleased Penn & Teller Game Makes Millions for Charity

Back in 1995, Absolute Entertainment was supposed to release the Sega CD title Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors. For those who don’t know who Penn and Teller are, think of them as Jay and Silent Bob for boomers. Smoke and Mirrors was going to be a collection of six games, including one where classic rockstar Lou Reed automatically murders you with his death vision if you choose “impossible” difficulty because that’s literally what “impossible” means.

As the publisher went kaput before the game could be released, people weren’t able to play it until it appeared online in 2005. That’s when gamers became interested in the title’s fascinatingly stupid side game “Desert Bus.” In it, you drive an empty bus from Tucson to Vegas with no pausing, no distractions, and really a whole bunch of nothing for eight hours as you must make sure you keep the bus from drifting off the road. If you can pull this off, you win a single point and get to drive back to from whence you came.

The group LoadingReadyRun started up an annual event called Desert Bus For Hope where they would play Desert Bus for hours and hours, based on the number of donations they receive. The first event (given the thumbs up by Penn and Teller themselves) gained nearly $23,000. At this point, the event has a running total of about $9.5 million for charity. Not bad for a game that was never on the shelf!

Batman: The Animated Series Sega CD

10. The Lost Batman: The Animated Series “Episode”

The Adventures of Batman and Robin was the title of several adaptations of Batman: The Animated Series for Nintendo and Sega’s various systems. Each game is completely different with its own sets of levels and story, but the Sega CD one really stands out above the rest due to the possibilities afforded by the hardware. The core gameplay is just a series of levels where you drive the Batmobile or Batplane while trying to catch the likes of Poison Ivy, Riddler, and the Joker, but what makes that version special are the fully-animated cutscenes you get between levels.

Stitched together, it’s 16 minutes of original footage featuring animation roughly on par with the cartoon (plus all the voice actors). There’s even a moment of Batman fighting one of Poison Ivy’s plant monsters that has no connection to gameplay, but it’s violent as hell and crazy intense. As a reward, the villain behind everything turns out to be Clayface pretending to be Rupert Thorne, so you get several minutes of rad Clayface animation.

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