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5/11 – Cool World

Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Back in 1992, a movie came out that fused live-action with animation. It told the story of an animator, Jack Deebs, who creates a comic strip called Cool World and is sucked into it by a vampire, Holli, who wants to use him to escape into the real world. The film featured significant adult humor and clashed hard with critics and fans alike, resulting in a large commercial failure. Despite this, 7 months after the movie released in theaters, three completely different games were released based on this movie, one for the Game Boy, one for the NES and one for the Super Nintendo. Today, let’s talk about Cool World for the Super Nintendo.

Released in Februrary 1993, Cool World for the Super Nintendo lets players play as Jack Deebs and is actually the only game of the three Cool World games to do so. The game functions as a side-scrolling adventure game, where Jack must traverse non-linear areas to pick up and use items to solve puzzles. Jack also has a cartoon extending arm to punch enemies at a distance or pull himself up to different, out-of-reach areas.

Due to the adult nature of the movie, the game is heavily censored and adapted from the movie in order to be playable by kids. There are still some mild suggestive themes throughout the game, with Jack meeting Holli alone for a date and the scene simply involving several hearts appearing on screen. Otherwise, it does follow the basic premise of the film with Holli escaping to the real world and Jack having to find a way to stop her, although Brad Pitt’s character, Frank, seems to be entirely removed from the game.

Cool World received fairly negative reviews at the time and in most retrospectives. The Cool World film was advertised as being a risque, adult-humored animated film and it was seen as a failure. Since the game removes almost all of the adult humor, it is often seen as even more unnecessary. Many critics seem to ask who this game was made for, as the film it was based on was not made for kids but the game isn’t interesting enough to hold adult’s attentions. Ultimately, this would be the last game made by developer Painting by Numbers as the developers were spun into Ocean’s American studio, Ocean of America. While the game is mostly seen as a failure, it was an interesting experiment and could have been a game ahead of its time, as games marketed towards adults are far more common today.

Thanks so much for listening to the show. If you want to hear more episodes, check out the archives on videogameoftheday.com and also follow me on Twitter @vg_oftheday for updates and polls and random thoughts about whatever I happen to be playing or watching. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day.

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