Not pictured: the splits. No, wait!

Thanks, Timecop!
When I heard that no one sent us any copies of games based either on kid's shows or just basic girlish wonderment, I thought I'd get the month off. That meant I could get caught up on some of my non-comedy work, like reading running magazines to crippled orphans. Then I was informed that there's still enough crap peripherally related to video games to make me come to work. Plus, now that Mary Kate and Ashley are one failed project away from softcore porn and an eating disorder, respectively, it's been passed down from an executive level that it's no longer cute to make fun of their games. So here I am reviewing the worst movies based on games, and the children at St. Despair's Hospital for Depressing Reading Audiences will have to make due with their backup entertainment: a box of 3000 hungry spiders.

The Wizard
Some say it was a glorified commercial for Super Mario Brothers 3. Others say no way; this story of an autistic boy leading two sexually experimental 12-year-olds to the Nintendo championships with the money he earns by hustling business men in Double Dragon simply had to be told. Starring Super Mario Brothers 3 as Christian Slater.

Cow Inseminator for the Nintendo Entertainment System-- it's so bad.
It was to the Nintendo community what Over the Top was to the arm-wrestling community: a brutal and lasting reminder of why you shouldn't make movies about those people and their hobby.

Worst Line:
In case anyone thought this movie wasn't a feature-length advertisement for Nintendo: after the evil video game bully is finished playing Rad Racer, badly, he turns to Fred Savage to growl, "I love the Power Glove. It's so bad." Then his TV came to life to tell everyone he was Choco Buddy, the Ovaltine Television and pass out pamphlets.

If you've never tried the Power Glove, it was a lot like translating your input into Eskimo, then Korean, then back into Regular. So for example, if your impotent flailing was trying to say "WALK RIGHT," the signal that made it to your Nintendo was "SPUCULENT HAMTASM."

Worst Scene:
I'd say the worst scene was the one I just mentioned. I might go so far as to dare the filmmakers to try to make a shittier scene, ever, during the entire course of their cinematic future.

He might as well have turned to the camera, and said, "Hi, viewers. I'm The Wizard's Alex. Have you ever dreamed of playing Nintendo by waving at it? The Power Glove increases the chance of that working from none to 4! And now back to your feature presentation... a piece of advice, Fred Savage: when you risk nothing, you risk everything. AAAGHHH! The mutants are breaking through!!!"

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Alright, actors, your motivation is "RAHRR! I'm a monster!" And, ACTION!"
This is a tough movie to pan. No one in it could act, and the script would have to be four times better before I'd be generous enough to call it retarded. However, there's something loveable about a movie that just doesn't fucking care. This plot not only threw out logic, it even threw out the crazy logic established by the first Mortal Kombat movie. For example, when the storyline called for ninjas to appear, fuck the backstory. Giant holes get torn into the sky dropping flaming ninjas that hit the ground cartwheeling. Holy crap! That's the kind of thing that could kill you and your dying words would be, "sooo... a-awe... some!"

Despite the screenplay's determination to care about nothing outside of the totally rad, it's tough to forgive a film for not answering obvious questions like how rampant interdimensional ninjary affected the world's populace. As far as the viewer knows, all humans that did not star in Mortal Kombat the game mysteriously left the planet. I'm fine with them not wasting a lot of time dwelling on the subplot of how some family deals with excitable evil gymnasts falling through their roof, but even one spinning newspaper with the headline, "World in Chaos! Military Advises: Non-Karate Weapons Useless Against Meteor Ninjas!" would have been nice. Except that particular headline is a bad example because it's so common sense, no paper would bother to report it.

The bluescreen effects are so cheap and clumsy that it makes the characters look like they're giving weather reports for Podunk Shitty Karateville. I kept expecting them to say, "My thanks for your feeble tips on staying cool this summer, Randy. Now, for the extended forecast, I, Motaro, vow by the soul of Margdor that Monday's skies will be clear!"

Throughout the script, there's an underlying theme that belief in yourself is the true power. And before you think I'm some kind of deconstructionist genius for spotting this, I didn't extract it from subtle allusions. Every single character says this. Even the villains. If you take out the fighting, you're left with a valedictorian speech. "Let your heart, not your ultra-powered cyborg arms, lead you towards achieving your dreams! The secret of turning into a kickass dragon was inside you all along!"

Worst Line:
When Kitana sees her mother Sindel and exclaims, "Mother! You're alive!", Sindel quips back, "Too bad YOU will... die!" Was there some sort of contest on I didn't hear about it where collecting enough Nabisco snack points let you write dialogue for a feature film?

Worst Scene:
There's yet to have been a cinematic historical society willing to do a proper study on this type of thing, so it's unofficial when I declare this to be the most front flipping movie of all time. Any mode of travel that ISN'T a front flip, such as walking, seems strictly forbidden in Mortal Kombat ettiquette. This reaches the peak of ridiculousness when Shao Kahn has to break the news to his father that Raiden is still alive by, as remorsefully as possible, somersaulting down the stairs at incredible speeds.

Street Fighter

Look for Street Fighter: The Movie 2 soon on DVD featuring Adon as an insurance adjustor and Sakura as a cookie!
Rule number one in making a movie about Street Fighter is to take the characters and have them fight. Rule number two shouldn't have to exist, but if it did, it would be filling the time between fights with musical training montages or musical montages of shorter fights. Ignoring these simple rules I just invented ten years after they made it, Street Fighter was so desperate to keep a fight from breaking out they went so far as to turn Dhalsim into a lab technician and Chun Li, E. Honda, and Balrog into telejournalists. To anyone who tries this again, if you have a group of people who are super-powered warriors, you're done. Have them attack each other for 90 minutes and we'll fill in the holes in the plot by ourselves.

Do you think there's anyone familiar or not with the Street Fighter video game who appreciated your decision to make DeeJay an executive assistant? Or to cast Sagat, the giant Thai fighter, as an aging 5'6" Native American? Any other job and that kind of thing would have gotten you fired. That's like being put in charge of selecting a new intern and hiring three bags of cottage cheese.

Worst Line:
"I'm sumo, brother. My body can be in one place. My mind another." Sumos have magic brain abilities? I guess I never thought about it, but yeah, if my body was trying to pick a fat man up by his diaper my mind is definitely somewhere else, because it wouldn't have had anything to do with that idea.

Worst Scene:
Bison's attempts to seduce Chun Li by putting on the haunting instrumental soundtrack to Street Fighter the Movie was pretty bad, but seeing the wonder of his super suit as it brought him back to life was incredible. A shirt that gives you CPR is an imbecile's idea of unkillable. That would be like saying you're immune to flame throwers because your hat squirts aloe vera, or telling police that tear gas is useless thanks to your contact lenses and their tiny windshield wipers.
I hate when editors change things. Not to sound like the kind of pussy who reads books, but word choice is how a writer establishes his or her voice and it's especially important in editorial or comedy pieces. I'm sort of a frat boy jock with a lot of nerd hobbies, and I think I write like one. I grew up thinking that dunking and poontang were as important as Ninja Gaiden, and balancing the social roles that go along with each of those hobbies has been tough. So when an editor changes a few words between jokes, then another editor does, then another, and then the jokes are modified for content, my voice is all but gone. It makes me sound like a me impersonator, and I fucking hate me impersonators.

This isn't that unusual in magazines. My friend Erik once had a final line in a game review changed from a joke to the words, "Good? Not good." And I once did a piece for Maxim that got so editor-mangled by the time it got to print that I told them next time they can write it themselves and send me a check.

One EGM example that comes to mind was when someone changed the words "old days" in the middle of a sentence to "ye olden times." I assume this was to help readers hate the shit out of me. I think my exact words when I saw that were, "What the fuck is a ye olden times-- who made me say that!? I'm almost sure I wasn't a time traveling ******** when I wrote this." So everyone at EGM agreed to stop changing my words to insane, geeky words for the hell of it.

The problem with their fantastic new policy of not messing with my stuff is that I often write way too much. For this issue, I wrote about three times more than a page can hold, so when it got edited down, they had to cut out huge chunks of text. And since they were polite enough not to rewrite what was left, it led to a lot of strange sentences making reference to lines that weren't there. But I guess I prefer a little awkward grammar and confusion to YE OLDEN TIMES.

Originally appeared in issue #184