Sunday 27 November 2011

I'm Sorry

For the last couple of years, it's been my dream to bring political satire into video games. Regardless of your views on the state's role in society, I think UK citizens will come far and wide to watch a virtual Nick Clegg hurl Ford Escorts at giant mutant rabbits. It'll get the younger generation interested in the governance of this fine country, and more importantly, will train the populace for when the evil space rodents inevitably invade. You won't get that by diverting union membership fees to the parliamentary Labour party.

But for now, you'll have to make do with an apology. Or rather, "I'm Sorry", an arcade game released by Coreland (now Banpresto) and Sega in 1985. No Sheffield MPs or reliable motors in this one, but you do get to control the late Kakuei Tanaka, 64th and 65th Prime Minster ("Sori") of Japan. It's every man's dream.

Kakuei Tanaka, supposedly corrupt ruler of Japan between 1972 and 1974, is on a mission to retrieve gold bars dotted around urban areas of Japan. You can punch people, smash obstacles and jump over barrels to achieve your goal, and this all has to be done within a set time limit. Collect all the gold bars and you can progress, get killed three times and you'll be barred from playing.

But ho, Mr. Tanaka has an opposition to contend with! Japanese wrestler Giant Baba, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Japanese comedian Tamori and of course his greatest foe, former American track and field athlete Carl Lewis, all of whom want him dead. Your job is to keep him alive. For capitalism.

I know what you're thinking, so I'll confirm that yes, this game does exist, and indeed, it was exported to North America at one stage. A team was brought in to produce this game, and upon completion it was marketed and sold to arcade operators. And people bought it. No joke.

Though its premise is wonderful, the gameplay is predictable and doesn't take much explaining. Enemies have different speeds and varying amounts of hit points, and as the game progresses life gets harder for the former PM. At its core, I'm Sorry is little more than a glorified Pac-Man (or Pac-Mania) - solid and fun, but not at all revolutionary and nothing you can't see elsewhere.

The aesthetics haven't aged well, and the music is a bit drab too, but both would have been perfectly acceptable for 1985. The fact the game is ridiculously rare tends to suggest it's not likely to be a blot on your local arcade's landscape. Just be thankful you've seen a working copy in the wild.

Anyway I figured this was worth sharing. You're unlikely to see anything like this sold today.

1 comment:

  1. I admit I'd rather see giant mutant rabbits hurl Ford Escorts at Nick Clegg, but that's just me.