“I wrote another post today,” I mentioned to my fiancé over dinner.
“On what game?” he queried.
He paused then snickered. “That was a fun game. Did you mention the singing poop?”
“Yes,” I stated. “Yes I did.”
And dinner continued without incident.
Of all my past consoles, it is the Nintendo 64 upon which I look most fondly. It had so many great games, from my most favorite Mario game of all time, Paper Mario, to my most favorite Zelda game ever, The Ocarina of Time. The N64 came out in the 1990s when several other new consoles, the Playstation, the 3DO, and the Saturn, were also released. It was a time of competition and experimentation for game companies; so while many tried and true games were put out, so to were lots of odd and unusual games, and I’d place Conker’s Bad Fur Day smack dab in the middle of odd and unusual.
We picked up Rare’s now-classic Conker’s Bad Fur Day sometime in 2001. (It was re-released on the XBox as Conker Live and Reloaded. Never played it, but we never had an XBox.) We had heard that it had a criminally funny story that was replete R-rated content, along with blood, violence, gunplay, the releasing of bodily fluids, and enough potty humor to make Adam Sandler proud. It’s vulgar but clever, raunchy but sweet, ribald yet funny. Obviously, those who were offended by curse words, alcohol consumption by cartoon animals, and an operatic pile of shit, no matter how spectacular it sounded, probably did not like this game. Thankfully, we were not those people.
At its core, Conker is a 3D-style action platformer with treasures to find, characters to meet and help, and level bosses to beat. It’s driven by a classic damsel in distress story centered on Conker’s quest to save his girlfriend Berri. Conker likes to drink, a lot, and the game opens with him dealing with the worst hangover in the world, only to soon find out that his girlfriend has been, like, kidnapped, fer sure (in Berri’s vernacular). You must guide Conker through various worlds and stages to save her. Along the way you meet numerous characters, from a pint-sized grim reaper named Gregg to mischievous fire imps to well-endowed flowers to the aforementioned heap of doo doo to patched-up stuffed Nazi-esque bears. Seriously, how could someone NOT want to play this game?!
Just about everything, from cogs to bees to wads of money communicates with Conker. Those that speak English readily throw around language that ranges from blue to blush, and there are plenty of great quotes for any occasion! There are cut scenes, some of which parody famous movies, while others present simple if laugh-out-loud dialogue, such as a scene between a paint can, brush, and pitchfork, in which they hash out who among them should kick Conker’s ass. One nice touch is that Conker often breaks the fourth wall to remark, spoken or unspoken, to the audience about the current or ensuing ridiculousness.
I played through the game several times and that little rascally Conker never lost his charm. It’s not the world’s first R-rated game, nor was it the last; and nor was it the only game ever to have cute wittle animals doing horrible things and making questionable life choices. And, besides, it was insanely fun game that didn’t take itself too seriously. It was also fun to play in groups, as there was nothing like the looks of astonished horror/joy that readily appeared on the faces of close friends as they made their way through its tasteless trivialities for the first time.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day remains a high point in my gaming career. Sure, I wasn’t going to win the Noble Prize by playing it, but I will survive the Nazi teddy bear attack that’s bound to happen sooner or later.