Ever since it was announced last week that Microsoft had agreed to buy Activision Blizzard, the internet has been full of people rhyming off Activision games that could now potentially be resurrected as Xbox exclusives.
Naturally, the usual suspects keep popping up: Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero and so on. But the reality is that given Activision’s 40+ year history, if you really wanted to you could delve way back into the company’s archives to come up with something obscure to make you sound really clever.
And when I say ‘really clever’, I mean ‘like an absolute wank who clearly just looked up a list of Activision games on Wikipedia to pretend you have an encyclopaedic knowledge, when in reality you’ve got no fucking idea what Rescue on Fractalus is, but you saw LucasArts was involved so fuck it, it’ll sound good’.
Well, allow yer man to put in the effort for you. I’ve put together this list of 10 games that nobody in their right mind would actually cite as their most-wanted Activision comeback, all for your benefit.
All you have to do is memorise these ten monologues, and the next time you want to sound like an insufferable know-it-all prick at a party, simply recite one word-for-word. You’re welcome!
“I know we’re all talking about Call of Duty, and sure, that’s probably fine if you like your games a little mainstream. But have you ever heard of Sky Jinks?
“You probably haven’t. That’s okay, most people under 40 haven’t. It was an Atari 2600 game released in 1982 and is about flying a plane round a series of pylons in a sort of slalom race.
“It’s been commonly reported that the game was used by social psychologist Roy Baumeister to conduct psychological research into performance anxiety.
“Roy Baumeister? Surely you’re familiar with his work? No? Oh dear. Well, I strongly recommend his non-fiction thesis entitled Is There Anything Good About Men: How Cultures Flourish By Exploiting Men. I think you’ll find it fascinating.
“Sorry? An incel? No, I think you must have mistaken me, madam.”
Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures
“Don’t you miss the good old days when SeaWorld was allowed to imprison giant killer whales without those pesky tree-huggers getting all uppity in their faux leather waistcoats?
“Join me, colleague, as I petition Microsoft to remaster Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures, a game in which you try to prevent SeaWorld being destroyed.
“Not by do-gooder beatniks, I should stress. Sweet Christ, no. In this game, you control Shamu as he literally fights Poseidon himself (who wants to replace SeaWorld with Atlantis).
“A game in which you literally fight on behalf of your captors? Sounds a bit like paying tax in a socialist government, am I right *guffaw* *pushes glasses up nose*”
Little Computer People
“I’ve always been livid at the continued success of The Sims and its successors, because anyone with half a brain knows it wasn’t an original idea.
“No, we all know that Activision released Little Computer People back in 1985 and was basically exactly the same game (except for the parts where it was different).
“If Microsoft had a shred of sense it would return Little Computer People to its rightful place and dethrone the charlatan pretender that has falsely claimed dominance for so long.
“There’s no better time, either, for what could be more relevant in the modern era than a game about surveillance and watching people through your computer?
“After all, have you heard of Twitch? It’s a… oh, you have? Hrmph. Well I suppose they’ll let pretty much anyone access video streaming these days.”
Tongue of the Fatman
“I’ll tell you, if there’s one game I’d love to see make a comeback as a consequence of this new deal, it’s Tongue of the Fatman.
“You may know it best as Slaughter Sport on the Sega Mega Drive, or maybe as Mondu’s Fight Palace on the Commodore 64, but chances are you don’t know it at all because you aren’t quite as well-versed as me on these things.
“The game itself isn’t much cop, but the final boss does have a large stomach with a face on it and it can lash you with its tongue like a whip.
“And if there’s anything I know, it’s how to give someone a right good tongue-lashing, especially when they’ve had the gall to park near my home. That’s private property. Actually, it isn’t, but it’s close enough to unnerve me and that’s just as bad.”
Zork Zero: The Revenge of Megaboz
“You know, by acquiring Activision, Microsoft is also rather shrewdly acquiring the companies it had already acquired. A sort of acquireception, if you will. It may not be a word yet, but I have enough clout to make it a reality.
“This means it also owns Infocom, the interactive fiction specialists who were merged into Activision back in 1986, and with it their host of adventure games too.
“Any hapless fucking prole can cite Zork as an example: hell, the original was included as an easter egg in a Call of Duty game, which shows you how sickeningly mainstream it is.
“No, friend, I’m more interested in Zork Zero, which is the eighth game in the series. My knowledge on it is patchy, but the very fact I know about the eighth anything in the series means I must be pretty knowledgeable.
“Incidentally, I mentioned this game to a Scotsman once, and the silly jock bastard started laughing when I said ‘Megaboz’ for some reason.”
“I appreciate that some ‘clever’ souls have realised that Microsoft could now resurrect Guitar Hero, should it so desire, but that’s just so mind-numbingly predictable it makes me want to yawn my soul out of my chinos.
“Instead, we should be petitioning for the relaunch of Band Hero, the lesser-known spin-off which featured a wider range of artists than just those in the overused rock genre, which I generally find to be somewhat beneath me.
“It doesn’t just appeal to those with a refined musical palate like me, of course. Who wouldn’t want to have another chance to strum along to the likes of 3 Doors Down, Joss Stone and Hilary Duff? That’s who the youngsters still like these days, isn’t it?
“What’s more, players could export the songs to other Guitar Hero games, which proved to be a slight miscue when people unlocked Kurt Cobain in Guitar Hero 5 and then used him to sing YMCA by The Village People.
“The whole thing led to a messy lawsuit when No Doubt sued Activision for the same reason, but if there’s one thing Activision knows, it’s lawsuits.”
“Have you ever referred to mahjong solitaire as Shanghai? Did you know that the name is actually a trademark owned by Activision (and occasionally licensed out to Sunsoft back in the day)?
“Well, now you do. And I’ll bet you feel like a prize goose for all the times you’ve called it Shanghai to your friends, just like when people say they’re going to do the hoovering instead of the vacuuming.
“How about Astroturf? Or Band-Aid? Or Sellotape? Or Biro? Or Bubble Wrap? Or Dictaphone? Or Frisbee? Or JCB? Or Jacuzzi? All the same thing.
“Or Onesies? Or Tannoy? Or Tupperware? Or Super Glue? Or Rollerblades? Or Post-Its? Or… I sense I’m losing you here, I’m trying to educate you.”
Paparazzi!: Tales of Tinseltown
“You know something, there’s nothing better in my eyes than when a jumped-up celebrity is ruthlessly hunted down by a paparazzo looking for that jackpot photo.
“You know some of them literally lie in the gutters so they can try to get a shot in between a female celebrity’s legs when they’re trying to get out of a car?
“Of course, the woke brigade don’t allow things like that these days, some nonsense about common decency and not being vermin, but it’s all a lot of fluster if you ask me.
“My point is that Paparazzi! is an early FMV game about the good old days, when you could spy on situations from afar with a wide-angle lens and try to get literal money shots.
“Look, I don’t know why you’re looking at me like that, Pokémon Snap is exactly the same thing. If you replace the Pokémon with human women.”
Spycraft: The Great Game
“Speaking of FMV games, it takes a great intellect to appreciate the genre – a lot of saps write it off, when in reality those capable of thinking outside the box can actually see its benefits.
“Take Spycraft, a game about an attempted assassination on the US President. Granted, it’s a completely linear game full of video clips, but the thing is as tense as it gets.
“Not only that, the game was created in collaboration with former CIA director William Colby and former KGB Major-General Oleg Kalugin, both of whom appear in the game too.
“Just a year after the game was released, Colby died when he went out on a solo canoe trip and his canoe was ‘found’ lying upside-down. Some people suggest foul play, naturally.
“Meanwhile, Kalugin is still alive and well, and if you’d like my lengthy take on the history of Russian espionage despite me having never studied it to any real academic level then I’ll happily bend your ear for a few hours: this party’s pretty boring anyway.”
Leather Goddesses of Phobos II: Gas Pump Girls Meet the Pulsating Inconvenience from Planet X!
“A lot has been said recently about Bobby Kotick and the way he’s overseen rampant sexism and discrimination in Activision without making any real effort to do anything about it. But I call both poppycock and balderdash on that in equal measure.
“After all, just a year after Kotick became CEO of Activision in 1991, the company released this charming little adventure game which was a little saucy in a purely harmless way.
“I have no doubt whatsoever that should it be re-released in the present era it would be met with the same welcoming open arms than it was in 1992, when it… well, it didn’t review very well, actually.
“But listen, neither did The Wizard of Oz when it was first released in cinemas. And how many Academy Awards did It’s A Wonderful Life, Reservoir Dogs and The Shawshank Redemption win combined? Zero, my friend.
“And if we live in a world where the likes of The Terminator, Drive and The Big Lebowski can exist without enjoying the taste of Oscar success, I’m sure we can live in a world where Leather Goddesses of Phobos II can get a second chance as well.
“Wait, come back. I’m so alone.”
If you enjoyed this and other articles and want to help me write them more frequently, please consider donating to my Patreon account. You’ll get early access to some articles as well as other behind the scenes information on the site and my books.
Don’t want to commit to a regular payment? I’ve now got a PayPal ‘tips’ jar: if you like what you read feel free to chuck yer man Scullion a couple of quid here or there and help stock up my Irn Bru fund so I can continue working away like a bastard.
Alternatively, if you can’t afford to support me on Patreon, please do your normal Amazon UK shopping via this link or Amazon US shopping via this link. Tired Old Hack is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.co.uk and affiliated sites.
Want to watch my videos in full 4K on your 4K TV? Simply subscribe to my channel on YouTube then sign into your YouTube app on your telly.