Clowns are predictable. They throw pies, cram into tiny cars, perform at children's parties, and shill for fast-food restaurants. In the early '80s, with the advent of video games, digital watches, and breakdancing, people just weren't that interested in clowns or their antics. Sadly, clowns had become... a joke.
In 1982, Universal turned all that around. In a midnight raid, they liberated a circus clown named Mr. Do and returned him to his natural underground habitat, where he could dig for cherries and fight his mortal enemy: adorable little subterranean dragons. For one shiny quarter, anyone with an opposable thumb could try to fill his novelty-sized shoes. The result was so awesome, they changed his name from Mr. Do to Mr. Do!, and a legend was born.
Gameplay: There are three different ways to clear a level: fry all the little dragons with powerballs or smoosh their cute little guts out with giant apples, collect all the cherries on the board, or shoot your little powerball at the superboss when he and his minions venture out of his ivory tower at the top of the screen. Each time he comes out, he wears a sweater with a letter from the word "EXTRA" on it. Spell the word, and you're on your way to the next level, with an extra Mr. Do! for your trouble.
Whichever method you choose, beware: The dragons are much faster than you, and your powerball doesn't attack your enemies so much as randomly fly around the board. Also, the dragons are avid readers of Everything I Needed To Know About Killing Clowns I Learned From Dig-Dug, so stay frosty.
Could be mistaken for: Dig-Dug, the television edit of Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Kids today might not like it because: Jolly old Mr. Do! just doesn't have the same killer instinct as Twisted Metal's Sweet Tooth.
Kids today might like it because: Jolly old Mr. Do! won't give them nightmares like Twisted Metal's Sweet Tooth.
Enduring contribution to gaming history: Mr. Do! has a permanent spot at the spin-off table with Jumpman and Pac-Man. The game's success spawned the arcade classics Mr. Do!'s Wild Ride, Mr. Do!'s Castle, Do! Run Run, and a truly unfortunate Neo-Geo game called Neo Mr. Do! Wil Wheaton
Wil Wheaton's clown suit is at the cleaners until Tuesday.
Images courtesy of the International Arcade Museum and the Killer List Of Video Games.