Somewhere in outer space… Uh… Around here somewhere… down on the peaceful planet of Funkotron…
In 1993 on the SEGA Mega drive, Toe Jam and Earl had just made it back to their home planet of Funkotron after a rather eventful visit to the planet Earth. Unfortunately, the duo had somehow managed to bring a gaggle of Earthlings back with them.
After my recent review in retrospect on Command and Conquer: Tiberium Dawn, this was one I really wanted to do. Essentially, Toe Jam and Earl: Panic on Funkotron was another opportunity to talk about how one of my favourite games of the nineties touched upon the nature of humanity.
Toe Jam and Earl: Panic on Funkotron begins with the titular heroes promising to round up all of the rowdy humans and send them packing. Simple right? Well yes and no, the humans have spread across the world of Funkotron and are running amok amongst the Funkotronians.
Humans are everywhere, having a good time but absolutely ruining everything.
There are multiple different enemies in the game that appear, but the only ones that will really hurt you are the humans. From the little boy that throws tomatoes, to the annoying tourists that blind you taking pictures and the ghost of a cow that possesses you if you get to close. The variety of bad guys in the game is incredible.
“It really is a tale of humanity gone rogue.”
They all act and behave differently and play out a frustrating element of our culture. The tourists are unrelentlessly invasive, the road worker destroys and drills anything in his way, the dog mom acts like nothing is wrong as her poodle bites and barks at all the locals. It really is a tale of humanity gone rogue.
Toe Jam and Earl: Panic on Funkotron is a gorgeous game.
Yet TJ & E: Panic on Funkotron has some of the most beautiful visuals of any game in 1993. The vast floral fields and the crisp snow strewn landscapes truly depict a planet free from the stresses of modern day Earth.
I don’t intend to continue the narrative of Humanity being the true bad guys in games as my retrospectives continue. It just so happens that in TJ & E, we really are the bad guys. It takes all the worst stereotypes of our culture and makes them a caricature.
The Funkotronians just want to dance, sing and live their lives the way they want. We humans just couldn’t leave them alone and made a real mess of their planet. That is until Toe Jam and Earl tossed us back to Earth in their capture jars.