Snacks'N Jaxson - Arcade (1984)
Some games let us act out our fantasies of being a man who can shoot any dude with an opposing political ideology. This game, on the other hand, lets us act out our fantasies of being a hobo clown that loves to eat.
There was a time, years and years ago, when I used to write to Nintendo. I'd be all "What's up!?" and "Man, Sega sure are jerks!" I'd also send them totally fantastic ideas for games, crudely storyboarded in colored pencil and containing far too much backstory. This was before the modern era, where sending in such things results in an instant legal notice telling you to stop sending them ideas or else risk a financially crippling lawsuit. I felt like I was the only kid in the world that sent them ideas for games, and always felt a little let down that not only did they not use my brilliant ideas, they didn't even respond. They weren't all "good job" or "we love your work and would be more than happy to hire you despite the fact that you're six."
Years later, I would discover a game that was clearly inspired by the ideas of a questionably autistic child, much like myself. Except that he was doing it eight years before I even understood the concept of postage.
This game was Snacks'N Jaxson.
Yes; Snacks'N Jaxson, by Bally Sente. I spent about an hour trying to write a paragraph on the game's basics, but I really think the flyer says it better than I ever could:
This is exactly the kind of game I'd have come up with. And I can honestly say for the first time in my life that there's a damn good reason such games never got made.
Jaxson may be the most pretentious name that I've ever heard. It outdoes even the likes of "Bridgette" and "Brayen." It is also a perfect example of a terrible name setting your child up for abject failure.
The game is techincally controlled by trackball, but since you'll likely never actually play this game legitimately, it'll probably be controlled by your mouse. The game itself is essentially 3D Pong, except that the ball is your noise, and the paddle is your clown's scarily expressive face. It is also exactly as pleasant as the mental image that conjures up. Thankfully, the ball casts a shadow, so it's easy to determine where it's going to hit. The game has several levels, per se, and all at different meals. After each "meal", there's also a quick bonus stage where you need to bounce one or more balls, as they continously get faster and faster, until you miss one and it breaks the glass behind you.
This is breakfast, and features such as eggs, pancakes, sausage and bacon. The gameplay is actually rather similar to a combination of Pong and Jacks (Jax?), come to think of it, as you have to bounce the nose off your face and then eat all of the food before you can bounce again. The connection to the popular girls playground sport seems to have been overlooked by nearly every other sarcastic review I've managed to find of this game, despite it being actually in the game's title, more or less. I guess that observation is the one thing that makes this review at least slightly groundbreaking.
Then there's the lunch level. Food in this level includes cheese slices, hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches. The selection of food between all three levels basically makes one thing absolutely clear to me: this game is the premier simulation for being high inside of a Denny's. I don't make drug jokes, least of all jokes about being stoned. But if you're too busy doing anti-drugs like pottery and figuring out tight solos on your sitar, this game will seriously teach you exactly what it's like to be one of your "cool friends" that are frequently high and at either Denny's or IHOP at 2 in the morning.
PRIME SOBRIETY LEVEL: Less hobo clown, more actual Hobo.
APPROXIMATE COMPLETION TIME: If it's anything like the experience that it simulates, it's the around the same time that you go back to finding Adam Sandler as unfunny as usual.
APPROXIMATE QUARTER OUTPUT: 1 [$.25] (Unless, of course, you have a sneezing fetish, in which case this game will provide you hours of wank material at the push of a button.)
THIS GAME NEEDED: A McDonald's license. Seriously. It had the clown, it had every item that McDonalds offers, and there was a high chance that your food would be sneezed on prior to eating. It was perfect.
FUN FACT: Everything released in 1984 seems more significant on a subconcious level. I can say something like "Man, playing Snacks'N Jaxson. It's like I'm in 1984" and you'll actually have to stop and think for a second before you realize that it isn't actually poignant.
FINAL SCORE: Lumberjack Slam (out of) Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity.
This is not the worst game starring a clown, believe it or not. It's even playable, in short bursts, and features an oddly good quality soundtrack, especially for something from 1984. It's worth a play for novelty, if nothing else.