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MTV's Remote Control: The Nintendo Game
Matt - 08/14/00

MTV's Remote Control game captured the spirit of 80s MTV - mindless, fun-loving idiocy and tons of useless tv trivia. Nintendo's Remote Control video game captured the spirit of 80s video game creators - sometimes, they just didn't give a fuck.

Now, most every video game based on a gameshow is universally bad and almost never played. There's a reason why the only old Nintendo games you still have the boxes for are Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune...because nobody ever bothered touching the things. But this? This is Remote Control! From MTV! Surely, a hip happenin' corporate conglomerate like MTV could make the gameshow videogame genre cool, right? Wrong. Very, very wrong.

Years back, one of my sisters gave me this game for my birthday. I think she was trying to gain revenge on me for telling our parents I found edible condoms in her room. In any event, it was pointless in all respects for me to own this game. I didn't watch MTV until I was around 14 and realized how cool some band t-shirts looked. In fact, in the years when Remote Control was on the air, the only song I even had a remotely vested interest in was Kokomo. Yes - a Beach Boys song. So if anyone ever asks me... 'Hey, what happened to you? You used to be cool' ...I can just refer them to that incident. Obviously, I was never cool.


Getting back on track, I guess I wasn't too upset while playing the game, because I never wanted it to begin with. It's like, when I got Zelda II, I damn near killed myself over the agony of being so dissapointed with the game. But Remote Control? C'mon. I'm not naive. I knew the game was gonna suck. The only real question that remained was how bad it could actually get.

See those two images above? Get used to them if you're planning on playing the game, because that's about all you'll see. And the only way Nintendo got away with making such a worthless, empty game was by forcing you to watch these images over and over again in ten-second intervals to make the game seem to have more than the virtually no content it had.

See the host? Apparently, someone tipped him off that his voice wouldn't carry through your NES. That's why he utilizes more hand gestures than a sign language translator on a Micro Machines commercial. They're not even the usual hand gestures, either. They're fucking stupid hand gestures. Whenever he speaks, he looks like he's doing the Watusi.

But the only thing worse than the way he speaks is what he's speaking. We'll get to that in a bit...first, meet your contestants! I had the honor and crass distinction of playing Freddie, the guy on the left. I forget the name of the blonde in the middle, but the girl on the end is named Howie. Yes, she's named Howie.

The questions are actually pretty fun. The first time you play. The second time you play, it's like deja vu. Not cool deja vu. Ever step in dog shit and feel like somehow, you've done it before? That kind of deja vu. The sucky kind. Essentially, this is the only Nintendo game in history that has absolutely, positively no replay value.

Oh look, more graphics. You know it's bad when you get excited to see giant white clumps that are supposed to be popcorn fall on your head. This is the extent of the action in Remote Control. It's at this point that I wondered if the creators were actually proud of this game. I imagine the final convo before distribution went something like this...

Bill: Well, the game looks to be about done. What do you think?
Joe: We've got zany questions, wild contestants, and popcorn! What other game has that?!
Bill: I feel pretty safe in assuming no other game has that...but I'm not sure that's a good thing.
Joe: C'mon Bill! What's with all these sudden doubts? When I told you I managed to animate the host's arms, you just about hit the ceiling with delight!
Bill: That was impressive, no doubt. I'm just not sure if we've created a good game. In fact, I'm not sure we even created just a bad game. I'm afraid this might actually be the worst game ever made.
Joe: Well, what if I slap a big exclaimation point graphic on the host's pedistol?
Bill: Now you're talkin!!

You'll get to answer trivia questions about everything from Batman, Elvis, reruns, dead celebrities, soaps, and beyond. If you beat out the contestants, they'll get incinerated by lightning...

And that's just about the only cool thing this game has to offer.

Also, it's pretty impossible to lose. Even if you can't guess the answer from the three choices to each question, you can bet the other two contestants will guess both wrong answers before the five seconds are up. Any semblance of a challenge might've saved this game from being a total abomination, but no, we couldn't even get that.

Yup, the questions were really tough. I've never seen 'The Rockford Files' in my life, but how could anyone possibly guess the wrong answer here when they literally give you it in the question? I'm absolutely convinced that this game wasn't created by MTV. It was created by a fanatical parents group that wanted to dispersuade kids from playing video games. If given the option of playing this game or studying arithmetic, most kids will pull out their rulers. Along the same lines, if given the option of playing this game or drinking cat urine, most will break out a straw.

So what grand ending will you receive if you're in that 100 percentile that wins the game?

Yup. You get your character's face brandished onto the MTV logo. If that's not the most rewarding thing in history, I don't know what is. A black screen with the words 'Nice Job' would've been better than this.

Don't take my word for it, emulator boys and girls. Download the game by right-clicking here and saving it onto whatever drive your illegal emulator resides in.

There was also a board game version of the show. It's in my attic in a box marked 'Useless' right alongside my collection of newsclippings about Bob Saget.

Sing alonnnnng with Colin...

- Matt