Last year I decided to take the plunge and support a Kickstarter endeavour by Wisdom Tree (see this post), a company known for producing and distributing unlicensed games for both the NES and the Sega Genesis. A lot of their games contained religious themes and imagery that conflicted with Nintendo’s firm censorship rules, but despite these setbacks, Wisdom Tree fought the Lockout Chip War and found a way to get their games out there.
I first heard about Wisdom Tree and these bible-based video games from the Angry Video Game Nerd (Episode 17) back in 2009. The Bible Games episode just so happened to be the first episode I ever saw from the AVGN series and is what made me fall in love with the web show. Having grown up going to Catholic church, the games reviewed in that AVGN episode struck a special chord with me. It was both hilarious and intriguing to see stories I’d grown up hearing my entire life parodied in such an interesting and funny way, and I was pretty desperate to play the games and experience their “horribleness” for myself. One of the first gifts my boyfriend ever bought for me was a copy of Bible Adventures, one of the several unlicensed NES cartridges put out by Wisdom Tree. Sitting on my living room floor and playing “Baby Moses” for the first time on my 55″ LCD TV was an experience that had me laughing to tears, and I wanted more.
Unfortunately for me as an eager collector, these games have been launched into superstar status over the past few years and have consequently seen skyrocketing price tags along with many other retro games. When I saw the Kickstarter project come up, the initial premise was for Wisdom Tree to produce a plug-and-play console with all their original releases on it. Because I’ve become a bit of an audio/video snob and like a higher quality on original hardware for my gameplay experience, I didn’t want a composite video hookup directly into my flat screen. Thankfully, my wish came true as Wisdom Tree was releasing multicarts of their video game releases for the NES and the Sega Genesis! They were also re-releasing a game called Super Noah’s Ark 3D, which was a re-skin of Wolfenstein 3D with entities from the story of Noah’s Ark. I jumped all over that and pledged $95 USD. After a few delays, the games arrived at my house last month in all their glory!
Though I’ve played a ton out of Bible Adventures before, I’ve been dabbling a bit in the games I’ve never had a chance to play, primarily Bible Buffet and Spiritual Warfare. I think I’ve got Bible Buffet figured out (it’s actually really fun), but some of the other games are tricky for various reasons, and I really just need to spend more time with and get used to the controls and gameplay mechanics. I’m pretty desperate to sink some time into Super Noah’s Ark 3D since I used to love me some Wolfenstein 3D on DOS as a kid. What could be better than shooting food at animals with a slingshot?
I’m really happy I caught wind of this Kickstarter initiative while it was live and got to support these folks. It was actually really refreshing to be able to order classic games directly from the source rather than going through arbitrarily price-inflated websites (Lukie Games, anyone?)
If you’ve never heard of these games at all, I’d recommend checking them out. Though some of the games have incredibly frustrating controls and strange gameplay mechanics, they’re sometimes a really fun and challenging twist on familiar people and places if you’re even remotely familiar with the Old Testament. Tons of hair-pulling fun!
Happy long weekend, everyone! Thanks for reading!