I remember when video games flat out didn’t give a fuck. A fat Russian guy belching fireballs was your thing? Karnov. How about a game where your character was ever changing thanks to various masks? Kid Chameleon. Games weren’t afraid to be weird so long as they were fun, which a ton of them were! Alas, the idea of originality went out the window as the years progressed.
It’s kinda like with movies how original ideas were coming out left and right but now we’re stuck in a seemingly endless series of imitations, sequels, or reboots/remakes. Sure, there are some great original movies coming out here and there but have you noticed that they, with rare exception, are smaller scale films, ones that fall under the “indie” label?
I bring all this up because that’s what kinda feels like is happening with ToeJam and Earl: Back to the Groove, the brand new game featuring two Sega icons! The original game came out in 1991 for the Genesis and followed two rapping aliens who crash land on Earth and have to find pieces of their spaceship. The game received a lot of critical praise for its unique visuals, funk soundtrack, and sharp humor. However, sales didn’t match the love. That being said, two sequels were released: one in 1993, also for the Genesis, and one in 2002 for the Xbox.
Now, 14 years after it last hit consoles, Adult Swim is bringing the duo back and they’ll be hitting PC and consoles in 2017.
Adult Swim explains:
Yo! Check it out… ToeJam and Earl are back on Earth once again, getting funky and running from those crazy Earthlings. Deja vu! (deja vu!) Here’s the basics… TJ decides it’s a good idea to “borrow” the Rapmaster Rocketship from Lamont (no point waking him up, right?), so he and Big E. can take Latisha and Lewanda out for a joyride. While they’re in orbit around Earth, maybe showing off just a little, TJ tells Earl to crank the bass on the speakers and “Press the RED button!” Unfortunately, that’s the button that says: “Black Hole – Do Not Press!!” (Doh!) You can pretty much guess the rest, TJ and Earl once again find themselves searching for the pieces of their Rocketship, collecting power-up presents left lying around by Santa, and dealing with the less-than-rational human beings.
Yeah, Adult Swim is a big name but their games have always felt kinda niche and contained. What I love about the visuals of ToeJam and Earl: Back to the Groove is that they seemingly kept the same style and presentation of the original two games just with updated graphics.
Having grown up with the original games, color me 100% in for some funky alien times!