Most of the games we play today are, in some way, based in reality. At home, we fight evil dictators in Ghost Recon 2, or try to get out of the 'hood in GTA: San Andreas. In arcades, we race cars, drive trucks, and hunt anything that moves. In the early '80s, however, things were different. Video games were on an entirely new frontier, and programmers were encouraged to take creative risks. This resulted in games that were a little strange, but really fun, like Pooyan or Domino Man. Some games, however, came straight from the weird-as-shit department. Like Ponpoko.
Gameplay: Depending on whom you ask, Ponpoko is a squirrel, a cat, a raccoon, or a creepy dude dressed as a furry. His(?) mission is clearly laid out in the jaunty little tune that plays during attract mode:
Run run Ponpoko
To eat the fruits
Jump bound around
With your big belly out
Following in the successful footsteps of Donkey Kong, Ponpoko wants to climb higher and higher up each level, eating fruits and scoring big points. He has to watch out for deadly thumbtacks, though, and these... uh... mouse-scorpion-snake things that, for some reason, want to kill him. And the magic pots will sometimes hold oodles of bonus points . . . or deadly naked-snake-baby things. Which also want to kill him. Poor misunderstood Ponpoko! All he wants to do is jump bound around with his big belly out!
Could be mistaken for: A nightmare weekend at a furry convention.
Kids today might not like it because: Trying to figure out exactly what the hell Ponpoko is could very well drive them insane.
Kids today might like it because: If they play more than 10 minutes, their brains will help them cope by making them think they're high. It's cheap and legal, and they don't have to pretend they have glaucoma!
Enduring contribution to cultural history: Ponpoko took bizarre characters, gave them arbitrary goals, and set the whole thing to bad music. Cop Rock, anyone? Wil Wheaton
Wil Wheaton is sick of your bullshit.