When An Image And A Game Don’t Align

saturday morning rpg logo

I was recently perusing the PlayStation store on my Vita, and I came across Saturday Morning RPG. It immediately pulled on my nostalgia strings, so I headed online to look at the Wikipedia page for it. There I learned it had initially been released in 2012 for iOS, and was released for various other platforms in the years since.

Developer Mighty Rabbit Studios know their ’80s lore. The game is steeped in silly goodness from top to bottom, and I never grew tired of finding Scratch N Sniff stickers that would help boost my stats in combat.

The game didn’t suffer from perfection (long load times, needlessly long backtracking segments), but it was mostly enjoyable. Every time I found a new weapon, it was some relic of my youth, be it a Simon Says (named “Garfunkel”), or a Care Bear clone that would shoot rainbows from its chest at opponents. I loved trying each one out to see how it performed in battle.

(Side note: no Speak & Spell?)

Sure, the battles felt repetitive, and sure, I felt like some jokes were too cheesy for words, but overall, I had a decent enough time with the game.

But.

I had one big (and, admittedly, silly) beef: one of the main images I saw for the game gave me false hope for what was included in it:

saturday morning rpg misleading image

I saw this photo and got all kinds of excited because on the right, that’s Jem (or, more accurately, a cross between Jem and her alternate form, Jerrica). As a kid, I was a HUGE fan of the Jem cartoon (it also explains a lot about my fashion sense), and I was so jazzed that something related to her might be in the game.

(Another side note: I am well aware, after having watched a few episodes of Jem as an adult, that it does not hold up well.)

So I played. Nothing about her in the first episode. I kept playing. Nothing about her in the second episode. More playing. No Jem (or Jem-like character) in the third, fourth, or fifth episodes either.

The game only has five episodes.

I didn’t even encounter a Jem-like NPC. So why, oh why, does that image above exist? I know it’s just a game, and I know it shouldn’t matter, but I was disappointed that I never got to sing my way through a battle or call out “Showtime, Synergy!”

Oh well.

I do think it’s ironic (and a bit funny) that one of the few images I saw when researching the game online happened to be that one with the Jem-like character in it. Ironic-er still that she didn’t appear anywhere in the five episodes of the game.

But this made me wonder: does this fall under the banner of false advertising? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset, I’m just genuinely curious. For the record, the guy on the left in that image (the Conan clone) didn’t show up anywhere that I can recall either.

Curious.

Have you ever bought a game you didn’t know much about that wasn’t what you thought it was? Did you like that or did it peeve you? I’d love to hear about it.

With that, I wish you a game-filled weekend. Please be safe out there. Cheers.

8 replies »

  1. WTF that Jem image is a troll? She isn’t a secret character or something? I’d trash that game just for playing with my emotions. You’re much more forgiving than I.

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    • Ah, but we grew up in the ’80s when game art was often super misleading. The good old days.

      Someone let me know it was a concept image. When I did my research, I didn’t see that about it anywhere, but oh well. The game was moderately fun anyway. It just makes me want a Jem game, now.

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  2. I think any promotional imagery for a game should represent the game, and it could probably argued both ways in this case (actual characters vs. thematic intent, or something). I’ve purchased several games in the past that I was disappointed in because the packaging didn’t effectively inform me about the game, but those were usually gameplay related.

    Side note: when I saw the image above I assumed April O’neal (microphone=reporter) and He-Man…

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    • You are right in that I think it’s supposed to be He-Man (what do I know about dude cartoons?), but someone brought it to my attention that the image was concept art. When I did my research online, I didn’t see that information anywhere, so, I learned something, just not at the time I saw it!

      I’m not sure I’ve ever been disillusioned by game art in the last ten years. Box art from the ’80s was a different story, indeed! Some of that box art was NOTHING like the game. Ahh…good times. :)

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  3. You know I am not much of a gamer but I would have played that game if I had seen the same image. And I would have been seriously disappointed. I still may have to play this game strictly based on the Scratch N Sniff stickers.

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    • It just made me want real life scratch n sniff stickers. I had pizza ones and root beer ones and cotton candy ones, but they are knock offs. The real stickers sell for ridiculous amounts of money. Why they don’t bring them back, I’ll never know.

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  4. I feel like this happened a lot in the 80’s and 90’s. Just generally “pre-internet era”. I mean, the best way to sell your game was whatever sick images you could put on the cover to blow kids’ minds – either with pure, unfiltered awesome stuff (in the early 90’s), or with edgy attitude and promises of “mature content” like gore and sexy ladies (in the late 90’s). And then none of that stuff would be in the game, lol.

    Pictures of realistic, shining knights fighting vicious dragons that all looked like they were ripped straight out of a King Arthur book suddenly became goofy & charming Akira Toriyama artwork when you actually fired up Dragon Warrior, for instance. That game about a nervous, chubby, middle-aged man in an ill-fitting exterminator costume who was seemingly trapped in some garish 80’s galleria turned out to be Mega Man :) Or that gruff, edgy guy in the battered armor standing emotionless amidst the blazing fire of a nearby explosion that would kill a less-gritty man was the super goofy and fun multiplayer game Blast Chamber (for the PSX).

    Huh, maybe the false image & empty promise of meeting “off brand Jem & He-Man” was just another throwback to the 80’s? Except, like, a sh*tty thing they used to do back then, lol :P

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    • That would make so much sense! And you bring a good point. I remember some of that box art being so drastically different, but at the time, getting a new game was like a national holiday so I didn’t even care. :)

      Someone brought it to my attention that it was actually concept art that didn’t make it into the game, but when I initially saw it in my internet search, it didn’t say that anywhere. Oh well. It was an interesting situation.

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