Six Bizarre Canceled Videogames That Deserve A Second Chance At Life

By Jason Iannone in Daily Lists, Video Games
Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 6:00 am

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Every year, more video games are released than people are born, and most of them are either derivative or horrible. Oftentimes it's both, which proves the gaming industry has less quality control than the guys in charge of cleaning a North Korean prison camp.

So when an actual innovative game gets canceled, our fragile little minds basically go into shock. Granted, the innovation is sometimes goofy as hell, but we grew up on plumbers stomping anthropomorphic mushrooms to death, and blue hedgehogs sporting magic speed sneakers while fighting a morbidly obese scientist with chicken legs and a Dali mustache. "Goofy" is not difficult for us to handle.

So instead of adding to the endless sea of Call Of Duty clones that we get every other week, maybe some more interesting ideas could get another chance to thrive. Such as ...

6. Christopher Columbus

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The story of Christopher Columbus isn't exactly game-worthy. He sails an ocean, bumps into land he didn't know was there, spreads a bunch of smallpox, and then leaves. How to make that worthy of your button-mashing time? Simple: add monsters. Lots and lots of monsters.

Misawa Entertainment's Christopher Columbus was a flying/shooting game based on the explorer's trip to America, with some ... well ... liberties taken. Actually, "liberties" is a ridiculous understatement here. For one thing, the Santa Maria is now a flying warship, and the crew must battle aliens and monsters, both real and fictional, on their way to the New World. Dragons, tortoises, woolly mammoths, giant snails, and Lord-knows-what-else invaded your private space, as you strove to "find gold, free people, and restore peace." We're guessing the "find gold" thing was faithful to Columbus's actual life, but not much else.

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At one point, you fight a living building with a giant Chinaman's head sticking out of it, just in case giant turtles and man-eating snails were a little too believable for your tastes. If the real Columbus had endured such trials, maybe he'd actually deserve a holiday named after him.

The actual gameplay appears to be your basic R-Type-style game, with full-screen, side-scrolling shooting galore. However, the premise is so damn trippy that it simply has to be brought back somehow. And really, other than making it 3-D, you don't need to change very much at all. This premise is weird and wacky enough as is; it's like one of those dumbass SyFy Channel flicks that exist simply to be laughed at (that is the only reason Sharknado was made, and we all know it), only in game form. It's better actually, because there are no commercials, and your horrible living-room acting is likely better than the horrible on-set acting SyFy vomits at you.

Actually, maybe that's how you improve Christopher Columbus; have the SyFy people write it. Imagine stages where Columbus has to navigate his ship through a violent Tigercane, or a Bearsunami, or a thunder storm made entirely out of killer bees. Drooling yet? Of course you are. Oh, and he dies from smallpox at the end, because everyone loves a happy ending.



5. Tornado Alley

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So we can all agree that an overrated explorer battling SyFy's versions of natural disasters is a great idea, right? But maybe you don't want to be an overrated explorer. Maybe you want to be the natural disaster instead, like every other normal kid on the block. Well, that's what Tornado Alley promised.

You wouldn't be a guy who chases after a raging tornado and then acts surprised when a 500-pound piece of steel come flying at his car at 200 MPH, nor would you play some evil wizard who can control tornadoes and sic them on anybody getting in your way of world domination. No, you would be the tornado itself, just rambling along as tornadoes do, destroying everything in sight and causing untold billions in damage that you don't have to pay for, because you are a bunch of wind, and wind has no concept of cash or moral responsibility.

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Even better, all the budding science eggheads out there would have loved how you were supposed to keep your tornado alive. Basically, you would need to keep your strength up by searching for thermals and by balancing cold and warm air; too much of either and the tornado goes flat, much like in real life. Other than that, though, there did not appear to be much to this game beyond DESTROY EVERYTHING KILL EVERYTHING ALL THINGS MUST DIE. Works for us.

Likely, this game died once its developer realized forcing a large percentage of gamers to relive that horrible day when a twister swallowed up Grandma and spat her out 200 feet in the air, causing her to go splat on the metal weather vane below, might be bad for business. Well, dead Grandma or no dead Grandma, this game needs to return. And you don't even have to change anything; it was already a new-school 3-D game, it was loaded with death, destruction and despair, and a rudimentary science lesson came free with purchase. Other than an expansion pack where you get to play as a series of giant sinkholes, how could you ask for anything more?

4. Hit The Ice

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For the most part, Hit The Ice was your basic 8-bit hockey game: skate around, hit people, shoot, score, dance to happy bleepy bloopy music. But then you had the Quest Mode, which led to the ultimate oddball hybrid: ice hockey, crossed with an RPG.

Yes, an RPG. While fully clad in pads and skates (because stopping to change into street clothes gets quite cumbersome after a while,) you would wander around an overhead map until you found an arena. You would play the team there, defeat them, and earn money. You would then use the money to travel from town to town, buying better items and equipment. You would then travel to the next arena to play the next team, and so on and so forth until you won the championship. Along the way, smaller teams would serve as random field map enemies, challenging you to scrimmages that you must win to proceed.

Every last bit of this was real, and the game itself was close to completion before Taito turned chickenshit and cancelled it. The game was released on Game Boy and Super Nintendo, but without the Quest Mode. Ultimately, nobody cared, because it was the early '90s, and even hockey players didn't care about hockey back then.

But hockey's making a comeback now, with old-school cold weather teams like Boston and Chicago winning the Stanley Cup again (we're just going to pretend Los Angeles didn't happen. Deal? Deal.) Therefore, it's high time to revive Hit The Ice, Quest Mode and all. But, whoever makes it needs to go full-throttle. Instead of simply walking around playing hockey, we should be battling dragons and monsters and earning magic, all while making money by winning hockey games. Make it Final Fantasy with more ice, less teeth, and absolutely no pretty people whatsoever.

In the end, the main villain can be the commissioner of the league, conspiring to destroy your team with an army of vicious magical beasts, so a more marketable team can win and earn him enough money to RULE THE WORLD (he's an RPG baddie, so naturally this is his goal.) Destroy him with your weapons, beat his favorite team with your sticks, and you win!

Then the league folds, because the commissioner was right, and your team isn't marketable at all. Whomp whomp.

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