Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hop in that elevator and be sure to put on a belt!

If the title of this blog makes any sense to you, then that would be incredibly awesome! It is in reference to one of my (and my sister's!) favorite games: Toejam & Earl! It was released in 1991 for the Sega, and I'm pretty sure the only reason our mom picked it up was because it was in the sale bin. Luckily for us, it ended up being an amazingly fun game which we still enjoy to this day.

Growing up, we really only had two or three games for each system that we owned. Video game prices were so high that after the initial expense of the system we were simply tapped out. Of course, back then, the systems came with two controllers, a game and a handful of demos, so we really had everything that we needed.

A delightful image made by Andrew! Click to enlarge and feel free to download
as a background :] Toejam is my preferred character, I love him! I used to always
draw little three-legged aliens and I could never play as Earl, that was my
sister's job :)

For our Sega we had a handful of Sonic the Hedgehog titles, Mickey's World of Illusion, Mickey's Castle of Illusion and Toejam & Earl. I'm pretty sure the Sega was our most prolific system until I started buying my own games in my mid-teens. A long-lasting advantage of this is that I am able to play one game over and over again, and I am also capable of making a game last a very long time. Did your first systems have a lot of games? What was your favorite?

My sister and I spent many, many happy hours playing Toejam & Earl. The items used in the game were hidden inside a variety of different looking presents; the player didn't know what was inside until the item was opened, and there were multiples of each gift type spread around the game. Some things were good, like Super High Tops or Icarus Wings; some things were bad, like Total Bummers and Earthlings (the enemies of the game). It was fun and also unnerving to open an unknown gift. Possibly the worst thing to get was a Randomizer; this horrible item would change all of your previously discovered gifts into new items, so you had to learn what they were all over again.

Not all Earthlings were bad: some would identify presents, some would
sing and get rid of the bad Earthlings, and some left presents! [Source]

The premise for Toejam & Earl is that they're marauding aliens out taking a joyride in their spaceship. Toejam, the level-headed one, has the controls hijacked from him by Earl, the scatter-brained one, and the ship promptly crash lands onto Earth. The duo's singular goal becomes locating all the missing pieces of their spaceship so that they can return home to Funkotron, a positively delightful planet that can be visited in the sequel, Toejam & Earl in: Panic on Funkotron!

It took us well over ten years of playing this game, we were fortunate enough to continue to have access to functioning Sega systems, but at long last we finished it. It was an exhilarating experience, one that I know neither of us will ever forget!

The gameplay is unique in that you travel to different "levels" of Earth via an elevator. Random levels have ship pieces on them, so in theory the game has an incredibly wide variety of completion time.

It was never fun to have a ship piece be on a level full of sand. That stuff
is hard to slough through, plus the hula girls won't stop distracting them!

Naturally, as you progress to higher and higher levels, the game becomes more difficult. The Earthling enemies change from fairly innocuous Devils and Hamsters to the much more belligerent Doctors and Mailboxes, to the completely impossible Ice Cream Truck and the Stampede of Nerds.

It's at this point that my sister and I would yield to the fact that today wouldn't be the day, and instead we'd locate a pair of Rocket Skates. Once this happened, we'd take the time to fall off the edge of the levels aaaall the way to back to the starting point at level one. From here, we would equip the Rocket Skates and fly to the lower left hand part of the map, skimming over the water. This venture would be rewarded by a small patch of land with a hole in it, and jumping down revealed the glory of level zero; commence free presents, hot tubs full of hula babes, and a lemonade stand that gives the player an extra life.

Hubba hubba. [Source]

Much to my delight, Nintendo put Toejam & Earl on the Wii's Virtual Console a while back! Yay! I believe it's between five and ten dollars. Now you too can experience the joy and terror of an Earth full of edges you can drop off, crazy old men smoking cigars while mowing their lawns, and gaggles of chickens hellbent on killing you with a rocket tomato launcher. If you visit be sure to bring a floatation device, the water is full of sharks!

Oh, and if you've played/you're going to play, be sure to let me know what you think!



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