As anyone in the gaming industry knows, it’s natural for some games to be left by the wayside on their native platforms while others get ported to different game devices for various reasons, mostly to gain a wider audience. However, there are some rather curious decisions made every now and then where a version of a game would be placed onto a console in a way no one would ever be able to imagine. These are the kinds of ports where consumers may go “Wait……..This is for real?” or “Huh…….Well that’s a thing”.
Hello, reader! My name’s Ryan Silberman, and I welcome you to TICGN’s very first Top 5 list!
TOP FIVE MOST SURREAL PORTS
(Well, technically, the versions of games that are completely rewritten for other consoles with significant differences may not be classified as “ports” per se, but it’s much easier to call them such in this case)
#5 – FIFA 14 on Playstation 2
I swear to God there’s no typo to be found here!
Normally, I could give much less of a care about EA and the various properties they have under their belt and piles of partially stolen cash, but there’s one case that I couldn’t help but try hard to wrap my head around: FIFA 14.
Now, I know the Playstation 2’s game library lasted a remarkably long time, being that it successfully continued onward well through the seventh console generation (Wii, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3), but who would’ve thought that it would even have received anything as late as in the year 2013?
So not only was Fifa 14 one of the latest releases to ever grace the King of Generation Six, but it’s also one of the only, if not the only, games to ever be released on the Playstation 2, 3, and 4 all at the same time! Pretty nuts, if you ask me! Although it speaks volumes about EA’s grudge against the Wii U when one realizes that they’d rather port the game to a now-16-year-old console than Nintendo’s currently running one.
#4 – Frogger on Sega Genesis
Everybody knows the classic, right? You’re a frog that must reach the pond while avoiding traffic. Simple as that, but because it’s an arcade game of the 80’s, its simplicity made for an addictive phenomenon. Aside from an obscure home console sequel, however, Frogger kind of disappeared since then as a franchise. Then, in 1997, Hasbro obtained the rights to make Frogger games, and they rebooted the series with Frogger: He’s Back, on the Playstation and PC.
Sounds fine enough so far. But in the following year, Hasbro decided to make a bunch of versions of Frogger for the Super NES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Sega Genesis, and even Tiger’s miserable fail of a handheld, the Game.com! They all feature the same cover art as the Playstation and PC game, so it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that Hasbro wants to continue cashing in their reboot. However, these ports have more in common with the arcade original. The Nintendo ports are nothing really special, and while the Game.com version is quite the spectacle for actually being playable on that thing, the Sega Genesis version is the true hidden gem around here. Well, not “hidden” to be exact. In fact, I wouldn’t doubt that people can find themselves right at home with this port…
….because it’s literally the arcade game on a Sega Genesis cartridge!
Yep! Your eyes aren’t deceiving you! This is the same exact game as the arcade original, released standalone on the Sega Genesis, as late as 1998. To make things even more meta, Frogger was the final game released for the console (and Super NES but who cares?) in North America, and keep in mind that the arcade original was initially published by Sega to begin with. So not only did they eventually build the house Sonic would live in, but they allowed their little froggie to come back home later on. Aww…..
#3 – Zelda on the Game Boy Advance
“Now wait just a minute,” you might ponder. “There have been plenty of NES game re-releases on the Game Boy Advance, not just The Legend of Zelda! And they were intended to celebrate the NES’s 20th Anniversary!” And this is where I get smug and say “No. I’m not talking about that Zelda. I’m talking about this Zelda!”
You know that character in the Super Smash Bros. series named “Mr. Game & Watch”? Yeah, well he’s the embodiment of what was the precursor to not only the Game Boy, but the market of LCD electronic games in general, the Game & Watch. Debuted in 1980 with the game, Ball, Game & Watch handhelds were build solely for one game each, and they were also built with alarm clock functions. Eventually some games would be created to tie in with certain notable NES games, such as Super Mario Bros. and, of course, The Legend of Zelda.
These things weren’t absurdly popular outside of Japan, but they did have a legacy that Nintendo embraces. In fact, they released a series of compilations for the Game Boy, Color, and Advance under the title of “Game & Watch Gallery”, which would feature a number of recreated classics (without the alarm clock functions of course) in both faithful and modernized fashions.
The fourth and final entry (shown above) is especially wealthy in terms of unlockable games. Starting out with just six, players can be able to unlock up to fourteen more games! The very last one being Zelda.
Unfortunately, there’s no “modern” variant of the game, but it’s crazy enough to imagine that the Game & Watch version of Zelda would ever even be available in a release like this! Good thing, too, because the actual Game & Watches can reach up to hundreds of dollars in value. Amusingly, Game & Watch Gallery 4 also features the Game & Watch games that are based on Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Mario Bros., and another game in the collection, Boxing, was once re-branded as Punch-Out to coincide with the release of the NES title. I probably would have put one of those on the list had it not been for the uniqueness that Zelda‘s G&W version carries in comparison.
#2 – Rayman Raving Rabbids on mobile phones
There once was a time where phones weren’t miniature touchscreen computers, and app games didn’t even have the technical capabilities of a Game Boy Advance, usually using Java to run a primitive few-hundred-kilobyte program. That was the grand majority of last decade (although some cheap phones still use this kind of tech). That didn’t mean there was nothing the market was able to offer back then, however. In fact, when it came to the bigger names, developers were arguably being more ambitious with what was being put out, while some others may create new games entirely that you won’t be able to find elsewhere.
Many franchises have had installments on these kinds of mobile phones, like Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Call of Duty, Pac-Man, and even Ratchet & Clank!
As unique and eye-opening as all of these can get, however, there is one particular game that I think takes the cake. And that game is Rayman Raving Rabbids. Rayman has had plenty of little games on phones beforehand, such as Rayman Golf and a rather abysmal excuse for a game under the Rayman 3 name, but not only was Raving Rabbids a technical and functional improvement – It felt familiar in an odd sense.
(The music from Rayman 1 & 2 is not from this game – The video uploader put those there himself)
Running really fast? Dash ramps and rainbow hoops? Loop-de-loops? Excuse me, Ubisoft, but if I wanted to play Sonic the Hedgehog, I could just buy one of the many Sonic mobile games instead!
In all seriousness, though, this game is bizarre. If Rayman blatantly borrowing elements from the Sonic series wasn’t enough, there are certain levels that would carry mechanics like playing a round of Breakout to break the cage of Teensies to beat the level. And in the midst of the high-speed action is one-two punch combat and needing to jump carefully a few times. As far as mobile platformers go, it’s actually pretty good, but boy does this one boggle my mind! I could have made it so any console-to-mobile conversation would be appropriate for this listing, really, but Raving Rabbids just has that slight edge over them in terms of being overall surreal.
#1 – Any third party licensee on the Game.com!
Oooooh no, a brief mention of the Game.com wasn’t all I needed to make this list golden! Considering how much of a failure the handheld was, how crude it was in comparison to the original Game Boy, and how many franchises have had their names on the system’s game library, this stuff is simply way too juicy to pass up!
And yes. Most of them are absolutely terrible.
Sonic Jam, for example, is known as a Sega Saturn compilation of the classic Genesis/Mega Drive Sonic games. On the Game.com? It’s a painfully slow and frustrating mess of levels vaguely resembling classic Sonic, overall giving Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis for GBA a run for its money.
Duke Nukem 3D: An innovative action-packed adult-orientated first-person shooter starring a freakishly egotistical blond muscular dude. On Game.com? A toned-down linear shooter where you can’t even move backward.
Mortal Kombat Trilogy: A Mortal Kombat game made up of elements of all three of the original Mortal Kombat games. On Game.com? A hilariously sloppy mess of fighting game execution that’s even more broken than the Game Boy ports of MK3 and MK4 and you can’t even play as Scorpion or Sub-Zero!
I could go on for as long as the Game.com’s library spans (which isn’t to say for much longer, but still). You get the idea, though. Funnily enough, the only games that could actually play smoothly enough on a Game.com are ports of arcade games like Centipede and the earlier-mentioned Frogger. What makes all this so intriguing, however, is just how badly these officially licensed games are screwed up. There’s no helping but wanting to see just how botched up they are, as people are most likely to have never seen anything like it! It’s its very own definition of “bizarre”!
Mortal Kombat 4 on Game Boy
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Arcade
Double Dragon on Atari 2600