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  • Smooth “Selling” (get it?!!)

    Posted on May 17th, 2010 keving 3 comments

    Magweasel is now a year old, and I must admit to forgetting one of the main reasons why I launched it in the first place — to build a showcase for the office cabinet full of old E3/CES promotional material I have. While the great majority of the collection isn’t half as exciting as AMAZING SETA HELPS RETAILERS Volume 1, much of it is so old that it’s beginning to ignite twinges of — dare I say it? — nostalgia for the ’90s whenever I go diving through the files. Case in point: this fold-out flyer from the 1995 Winter CES shilling Ocean’s Waterworld.

    As a high-schooler in 1995, my impression of Kevin Costner was that he was a self-centered, egotistical washout who liked to produce meandering snorefests starring himself. That period of his career was short-lived, honestly, but if you were unfortunate enough to grow up in the midst of it, that’s likely still the gut feeling you’ve got about the man. It’s perhaps a bit unfair, because Waterworld — despite being a  US box-office flop and certifiably a terrible movie — was a big hit overseas and wound up becoming very profitable for Universal, which still has special-effects stage shows modeled after the film running in three of their theme parks.

    You can see why a company like Ocean would be excited about nabbing the game license. This was a company that practically built itself off big-ticket game licenses in Europe, among them RoboCop, Batman and The Addams Family (the C64 version of which I pirated off a BBS in 1992 and played to completion — hey, I was young, and it never got an official NTSC-compatible release anyway). Those few decent games, however, were dwarfed by all the crap licenses Ocean released over the years, and Waterworld was their last major shot at the “genre” they helped to pioneer. Presumably, developing movie games for the PlayStation generation was expensive enough that it stopped making financial sense for them.

    Waterworld eventually came out on the SNES, Game Boy, and the Virtual Boy of all things, for which it was a launch title. Steven Kent called the Virtual Boy Waterworld the worst game ever made in an article once; I’d disagree with that, but it’s certainly the worst Virtual Boy game ever made. Genesis and Saturn versions were announced but never released; the Genesis ROM is easily available, but the Saturn version isn’t and I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t close to finished, a victim of Sega mucking around with the Saturn’s US release date.

    Ocean’s Saturn project has nothing to do with the games Interplay had developed for the 3DO, PlayStation and PC at the same time. Not much is known about this lost title, except that it apparently has a “fully dynamic virtual ocean with staggeringly dynamic water surface,” which would make it kind of unique among Saturn games, wouldn’t it?