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Backlogged - "Superman" (N64)

The very nature of the internet ensures that the new interest or idea or joke of one could very well be the beating of the proverbial dead horse of another. On that note, I decided to take a look at the much maligned "classic" that is Superman for the Nintendo 64 upon purchasing it from a flea market this weekend, despite everybody and their mother having done so. For the first time in my life, I now own an N64, and it's really very exciting. And while I could talk for hours about how great both Banjo games are, or how I feel Diddy Kong Racing is a huge improvement over Mario Kart 64, or how great it feels to exploit cartridge-tilting glitches in Ocarina of Time, I felt like it was necessary for me to add this game to my review repertoire.

Now, last year, I played the infamous E.T. for the Atari, and discovered that it was just as bad as everybody proclaimed it to be, and in all honesty, I could see how it crashed the feeble game industry of the early 80's. But is Superman as bad as they say it is? Is it still an awkward, muddled mess of horrid graphics, abhorrent gameplay, non-plot, and lack of any direction? Or has it transcended its badness, becoming something of a Kaufman-esque joke like Freddy Got Fingered, or a so-bad-it's-good guilty pleasure like The Room?

No. Not at all. In fact, this game is far, far worse than I could have possibly imagined. If Superman is to be taken as a joke, then it can only be taken for one that lacks any semblance of a punchline. And while perhaps it is something so undeniably awful that it is entertaining, only the most masochistic players could keep going for the span of the entire game. Because while the quality, or lack thereof, is indeed hilarious at first, hilarity soon gives way to bemusement, which gives way to tedium, which gives way to absolute, sheer anger. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is one of the rare video games that made me spew a massive string of expletives out of blind anger. And on top of that, I kept asking myself why I was doing this with my life.

To know of Superman is one thing, as you can avoid it and remain pure. But to watch somebody play it is another, because you can realize how truly awful it is, and laugh and groan and so on and so forth. Nothing can touch experiencing it, though. Absolutely nothing. Because to experience Titus' depraved assault on the human will is something that will make you feel incredibly dirty after a few hours. Have you ever picked up a trash bag, only to have some mystery liquid from within spill onto you, and have the stench linger with you for quite some time after, even if you wash up? That's what Superman is like. You're messing around with garbage, but then it becomes a part of you. The garbage becomes a part of you.

I am one with the garbage.
So in that sense, Superman has become a part of me. It's been several hours since I played it last, but I can still feel exactly how the controls respond, and hear the sound effects echoing in my head. I can feel the very, very real frustration of Superman getting caught on scenery, or veering wildly out of control when I try to guide him through Lex Luthor's infamous rings. Every jagged polygon is etched into my memory, and I don't feel it going away any time soon. Honestly, this is a game that will stick with me for years for all the wrong reasons. It makes me realize how far we've come, and as bad as games like Ride to Hell: Retribution or Aliens: Colonial Marines are, they simply are nowhere nearly as godawful as this abysmal yet towering fuckheap of a game. This is, truly, the E.T. of fifth console generation. Nothing even begins to touch it in terms of sheer unplayability.

Sure, you could play this ironically and laugh at it. Laugh at every festering, miserable moment that dwells within the cartridge. But you know what? You could also take up a hobby, or you know, find true romance. Maybe travel the world, or adopt a healthier, more positive lifestyle. Hell, why not write that novel you've always been meaning to, or learn the ins and outs of watercolor? Or at the very least, play a better game, because this is as bad as it fucking gets, folks. Superman is an abomination to video games, a disgrace to the N64 library, a fucking backhand to superheroes, and a defecation on the graves of Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. It's misery contained in a cartridge, and quite honestly something that I'm going to be having awful flashbacks to for weeks to come. No exaggeration. It makes me physically and mentally distressed just thinking about this game.

What have I become, my sweetest friend?
Superman for the Nintendo 64 is not bad. It is not awful. It goes beyond that. This is something that truly defines the very idea of a miserable gaming experience, and something that's broken to its very core. Nobody should play this. Not for a laugh. Not for fun. Not even to punish themselves, because nothing a normal person could do would ever merit having to play this. Except, of course, making it. Because in my opinion, everybody involved with how this game came into existence should be forced to play it several times over, and then think about what they did. It's a sick, cruel joke with no resolution that brings nothing but suffering and pain to everybody involved.

I'm begging you, as a trusted friend. Don't let Superman into your life.


  1. Sooo...I'm confused. You liked it, right?

  2. 10/10 Best ring-flying experience of the year, all years.


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