I’d Rather Swim in Mashed Potatoes than Win This Ocean Software Contest

There were game developers that left an indelible mark on my childhood. Their games spoke to me in ways nothing else could, and helped shape who I am as a person.

Ocean Software was not one of them.

Remember going to Blockbuster to rent a game and seeing nothing but crappy licensed titles? You have Ocean Software to thank for that. They licensed every property they could get their hands on, from Street Hawk to Waterworld to freaking Highlander. If you’ve ever played a bad game based on a movie or TV show from the 80s or 90s, there’s a good chance Ocean was behind it.

cool world super nintendoWhile a few of Ocean’s titles were decent, most of their games were bargain bin junk. They were what you pulled out when you had no other options; when you could either play Robocop 3 or watch Yo, Yogi! reruns.

Some companies would be ashamed of their mediocrity, but Ocean absolutely reveled in it. In fact, in the February 1993 issue of Game Players, they held a contest in which entrants could “win” a collection of Ocean titles.

Ocean game contest

The contest’s grand prize winner got a collection of titles they could awkwardly hide under their good games when their friends came to visit. Ten more entrants got the chance to choose between one of several crappy cash-in titles. In a strange twist of fate, third-place winners got the Game Players Encyclopedia of Nintendo Games, a prize that was actually worth having.

If I’d won the contest, I probably would have picked Cool World as my prize. I wasn’t allowed to see the actual movie, and I would have been willing to suffer through a bad game to get a glimpse of the plot.

But, given the choice, I think I’d rather swim in a pile of mashed potatoes than win — or play — an Ocean game.

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  • Tim Evans

    Their Lethal Weapon game for the Amiga was actually pretty go– er… well… It was playable.

  • Strontium Dingo

    Ocean: The Hollywood of 80s/90s gaming!

    Now, if it had been Gremlin Graphics or The Bitmap Brothers, I’d have just thrown all the names into a hat and known that, no matter what I picked, I would love it. 🙂

    Strangely, I really enjoyed The Addams Family for the gameplay itself. Of course, part from the sprites, the game didn’t seem to even be *trying* to act like it was using a licensed property – but I liked the game itself. I remain convinced that it was a completely different game that had had the graphics swapped at the last minute, mainly because I remain convinced that Ocean couldn’t make something I’d actually find fun. That wasn’t supposed to sound as harsh as it did, but the fact remains.

    BONUS COMMENT: I’d love to see a remake of The Last Ninja, using the Arkham Series Engine.

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