Based on Crap: The Worst Things to Make Nintendo Games About.

My ouija board already told me I was going to die fighting apes from the future in 2019, so the only thing I needed to know was who the sadistic bastard was that decided to make this game. And according to the game, "YES."

Dennis: Hey boss, I'm done with that game you wanted me to design.

Nintendo Boss: Dennis, you're the janitor we found at the circus. You're not supposed to be designing games.

Dennis:Yeah, but I just had all your programmers finish up that game where you read tarot cards.

Nintendo Boss: You're not just fired, Dennis. Your kids are expelled from school, we're taking your wife's hair, and you're putting your genitals in this paper shredder.

Dennis (?): Dennis? Ha ha... I'm not Dennis. Dennis doesn't have... he doesn't have... a moustache!

Nintendo Boss: Dennis. You're holding a finger under your nose. (Or is that just what he wants me to think?)

Don't get too excited about that time machine ejaculation. The game basically reads you a tarot card instruction booklet and gives you four random lucky numbers. It travels through time about as much as a fortune cookie. But just in case, "Hey Taboo! When you're travelling through time, say HI to my cookie! Tell it it was delicious!"
TABOO was not a game. It worked in your Nintendo and you controlled it with the same jelly-clogged controller you use to move Chubby Cherub from cupcake to cupcake, but it was not a game. It was a portal into the mysterious world of the occult. Finally, for the price of 5 phone calls to a telephone tarot reader, your Nintendo could predict your future. Of course, if that was true, it would have forseen the fact that no one wanted to buy the fucking thing. Actually, if there were any four year old kids around at the time, they could have told you that with or without the help of satanic card magic.

The cartridge wasn't intended for people under 14, which is sad because those are the only people who might have believed this voodoo Nintendo shit. The manual made it very clear that you were dealing with supernatural forces that might try to eat you, and most of it was taken up with disclaimers. When your TV summons a demon or turns your legs into goat-legs, the makers of TABOO were not legally responsible. Here's a sample: "No responsibility is accepted in any form whatsoever relating to TABOO and any such effects influences or miracles incurred divulged resulting or directly connected with TABOO whatsoever." So not only do you have to be older than 14 to buy it, you have to worship the devil to like it, and you have to be a lawyer to fucking understand the instruction manual.

During a rare moment of non-lawyer non-satanic babbling, the TABOO instruction manual says very clearly, "USE TABOO AT YOUR OWN RISK." You're not scaring me, TABOO. I stopped believing in magic Nintendos when I discovered the fishing line my brother was using to make it fly around like that. A few pages later the TABOO manual taught me, "There is no such thing as luck, there is only chance, and what chance do you stand!" But you know what's even less likely to exist than luck? A Nintendo that can tell the future. I don't think a game claiming to be a time machine has any right to say there's "no such thing" as anything else.

If you were worried about TABOO not being faithful to card shuffling, calm down. All the card shuffling excitement is there. And no, you can't skip it.

Beginner Hint: After you play the game half a time you'll be tired of watching it shuffle, so be sure to keep a book near the Nintendo.

Advanced Hint: Books with boobs in them are better than books without.
More TABOO Manual Madness: "TABOO is the Nintendo Entertainment System version of the occult and ancient tarot system of divination of future events. All that the tarot is and was has been incorporated into the depth of this cartridge. It's mysteries and untold riddles encoded in the minute electronic circuitry of today's high tech components. The meeting, if you like, of an ancient miracle together with the modern miracle of science and technology, to serve you, as a high priest would an emperor."

So I'm the emperor, and the cartridge is the high priest? Fuck that. I'm the emperor, and the cartridge is my harem girl. And after I'm done with that, I'm the emperor and the cartridge is my royal toilet paper. In fact, as the emperor, I'm sending a warning out to the kingdom that the next person that brings me a Nintendo game and calls it a high priest gets this sceptre so far up their ass... that... they're better off... keeping it up there! Because it would really hurt to pull it out again with that knobby part so far up there.... I... I'm not a very good emperor. But since my court is made up of Nintendo cartridges, my only real emperor duties are dusting every now and then and storing them in cool, dry places.

Let's assume TABOO was a faithful recreation of tarot card reading. Would you take metaphysical advice from someone who got their guidance from a video game? Imagine it; you wander into a sideshow tent to get your fortune read and you find a gypsy playing Nintendo. And instead of turning it off and getting out her crystal ball, bat wings, and deck of cards, she presses RESTART. There's a line where eccentricity turns into "fucked up." It sort of takes the mysteriousness out of tarot cards. Telling your fortune on a Nintendo is like conducting a business meeting from a big wheel. I guess it still works if you don't mind looking like an idiot.

You: Hi, can you tell me my future?

Gypsy Lady: Oh, sure. Let me take out Baseball Stars.

You: What?

Gypsy Lady: Oh, I was using my Ninte-- my Tarot Card Database to play... baseball.

You: Is that a Nintendo?

Gypsy Lady: Yeah, kind of. I like to call it TIME MACHINE.

You: I like to call you Gypsy Lady, but it looks like you're a stupid bitch.

Actual in-game action!
TABOO doesn't recreate the entire tarot experience. Where's the sassy black lady to tell me my wife's cheating? If this game was really faithful to fortune telling it would say, "I see by the King of Cups that you've recently moved... and the Chariot card shows that your wife is a very controlling woman, isn't she? And... she has anal warts and something growing on her back that you're afraid to touch. She's also fucking a Jamaican lifeguard when you think she's getting her nails done. Hello? Are you still there?"

I don't need my Nintendo channeling Satan. And kids shouldn't either. I don't want grandma saying, "Merry Christmas, Billy. This isn't like your other Nintendo games. This summons the mysterious power of our dark lord to predict the future. Now, share with your sister, especially the goat's blood that comes with it."

Who would want this thing anyway? Gypsies are the only people who use tarot cards, and they don't have electricity. You can't plug a Nintendo into the back of a donkey. You can, but the only thing that's going to get turned on is the donkey. Besides, what gypsy can afford a Nintendo and a fifty dollar cartridge? When you're living in a tent paying for crystal ball repair with money you got from selling stolen children, a Nintendo is a beautiful distant luxury. Gypsies are hoping to someday own a toothbrush. Not to someday transfer their tarot card collection to the same mystical device they play Rad Racer on.

It was nice the pagan mystics finally got together and made a game about their proud religion, but they screwed it up. To see how, you need to look at fellow superstitious crazies, the Christians. The Bible games were all just Mario with a bike and necktie rather than a plumber's outfit, and instead of saving a princess, he was trying to find a crystal that would stop people from seeing boobs. If you pick up a Christian game for just a minute, the only hint that it's a God game is that it's not as good as a regular game. Between the levels there's some God crap, but the Christians really tried their pathetic best to make the non-God parts fun. They didn't make the entire game about passing out pamphlets or turning pages in the Bible.

The pagan mystics weren't as clever. TABOO is just the tarot cards. They didn't stretch it out to be about a commando in space collecting the tarot cards. They made it about flipping over cards and looking at those cards. Maybe we would have bought it if there was a bonus game about rolling dice. Or maybe a tarot card game where you're a tiny pterodactyl in a go-kart fighting your way through the belly of a monster with a flame-thrower. You give us a game like that, and between levels your gypsy fortune-telling ass can go on and on about all the damn tarot cards it wants. That's how you make a game about metaphysical beliefs, you damn witches.

"If Taboo: The Sixth Sense is not working properly, pierce a baby with an icepick and draw a perfect circle with its blood around your Nintendo Entertainment System(tm). Chant verse 7:32 from the included Funtime Satani-Chants chantbook, being careful not to slur any words. Beginners may need to cut their tongue in half bilaterally for proper pronunciation. After you're done, store the remaining baby in a cool, dry place."

Graphics: 2
One of the nice things about tarot cards is the detail in the illustrations. The perfectly rendered moan of agony from the Hanged Man, the painstaking care in the Devil's scrotum. In Taboo, all the cards are reduced to bad pictograms. For example, the four of swords is a crappy little sword stuck in a card with the number four flying above it. And I have a feeling that even that hurt the head of the satanic gypsy game designer who had to think it up.

Fun: 0
The game is less fun than regular tarot cards, unless you're using the edges of the cards to slice open the skin between your fingers. Then they're about even.

Spiritual Effectiveness: 2
What you are reading now is my actual fortune. The first thing the game told me was that I'm the Knight of Coins. But I thought that sounded like what a banker would call himself if he liked Dungeons and Dragons, so when the Nintendo wasn't looking I replaced the ME card with a four of spades from a nude deck of playing cards. It was two naked cheerleaders making out.
My SIGNIFICATOR was the Five of Staffs, and the game says that means my current situation is unsatisfied desires. No shit, TABOO. My Nintendo is on. That means I desire a fucking game, not a picture of a stick.
My CROSSING GUARD was the Eight of Swords, which means that someone's either dominating me or putting me in jail. Just to prove it wrong, I punched my girlfriend in the stomach until she told me I was in charge. Next I went after my parents and my boss. My dad didn't answer the phone, but I called my mom a fag. And since I don't have a boss, I called myself a fag too. Eat that, TABOO.
My CROWNING CARD was a chariot, but it looked more like a covered wagon to me. It meant that I'm trying to make myself a stronger person. After some self-analysis I realized it was right, and that I wasn't struggling to be a bigger pussy. So I guess that's one point for TABOO, but telling someone they're trying to be a stronger person is like telling them they're going to eat in the next couple days or that they like to have fun.
My BASE OF THE MATTER was the Six of Swords. Even after I read about it, I didn't know what it meant. It looked like the worst parts of a few bad motivational speeches smashed back together in a nonsensical order, but now I was only three Sword cards away from a flush.
My PAST INFLUENCES was the Four of Swords meaning I was exiled or retreated in my mysterious past. Which is totally eerie because this morning when I was filming my neighbor doing the dishes in her panties, she turned and saw me and I retreated. Then I exiled myself to the living room to watch the tape a few times. You know, TABOO, you can save yourself a lot of time if you stop telling me about my past. I have old photo albums and things. If you really want to talk about my childhood, get together with the Ninja Gaiden cartridge when I put you back in the closet. I played the shit out of that game.
My FORTHCOMING INFLUENCES was Judgement. And nothing says "Judgement" like a little mummy in a coffin. I couldn't take this one seriously. Look at that little mummy. That's not Judgement. That's bait to catch a mummy fish. I'll look out for that eerie prediction, though. I don't know how I'm going to sleep at night knowing that any day now I could be forced to say I'm sorry.
My WHERE ONE FINDS ONESELF was the Three of Coins. It means I'm a great artist. If you want proof, here's a picture I drew for my girlfriend last week. It's kitties snowboarding. The one on the left is her cat. The one on the right is his friend. Look out for that apple tree, kitties!
My VIEWS OF OTHERS was the Two of Swords. It says I'm PLEASURE and AFFECTION, which is a polite way of saying that other people want to have sex with me. Finally, my fortune is starting to get somewhere. I was just about to turn you off and melt you, TABOO. All this talk about people wanting to fuck me might have just saved your life.
My HOPES AND FEARS are that I'm an asshole. The universe is a complicated place: it took some gypsy game designers to turn my Nintendo into a time machine just to call me an asshole.
My FINAL OUTCOME was the Star. Then it gave me a cryptic bunch of crap that basically said that my insight comes from stuff I've learned. Why is it that everything that comes out of this magic time machine makes me say, "Duh"? Here's some insight I put together from what I learned today: this game is full of shit.

After I was legally recognized by a tarot card on a Nintendo as a Star, TABOO gave me a few personalized lucky numbers which lost me twenty dollars in lottery tickets. It's not a funny story, but it at least backs up my theory: If TABOO is really a vessel for occult power, it looks like satan worshippers are lower on the power chain than third grade girls. Third grade girls with no hands.

For Entertainment Purposes Only: The Taboo Instruction Manual

Caution! Evil forces surround Taboo: The Sixth Sense ROM

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