| I’ve always been disappointed at how poorly M.C. Kids did in the market. When we started the project everybody was very excited. We were going to do a super fun game and it was for McDonalds. They were going to have Happy Meals for the game which they sell 1 million a day and run for 30 days so 30 million ads for our game would be placed. How could it lose?
They game was accused of being a copy of Mario but we didn’t think so. In Mario the object was to get to the end of the level. In our game, getting to the end of the level didn’t help you. You needed to find a magic card. If you didn’t find the magic card in the level you hadn’t accomplished anything. (An idea that is now used in Mario 64 so you could say they took the idea from us!) Each world had a character that would require a certain number of magic cards to be found for his world before he would let you on to the next.
All in all it was a good game. Better than most NES games at the time. For some reason though McDonalds didn’t agree and decided not to support it with a Happy Meal promotion.
What was even more personally frustrating was that Virgin came out with a string of games, Global Gladiators, Cool Spot, and Aladdin. None of which were as good a game as M.C. Kids but they had artwork and sound that helped get them a ton of attention. In M.C. Kids you could not only run and jump but you could pick things up, throw them, catch them. You could ride a boat. You could ride moving platforms. You could take a block and turn it into a moving platform. You could change the level by removing blocks. You could warp around levels using zipper warps. You could play the level upside down where the ceiling became the ground. There were spring boards to jump and and super spring boards that required extra weight to activate. Burning bridges, breaking ice platforms, breaking bridges, lava boats, sand blocks that revealed things behind them, treadmill platforms that you control. We had secrets on every level. Extra goals (finding all the cards instead of just the required number got you extra things). We had characters you could talk to that would give you hints on where you might find a card. We even had an extra secret world with 3 really cool puzzle levels.
Global Gladiators had almost nothing. Run, jump, shoot and invisible platforms. That’s it. 15 levels. We had 33. Cool Spot added a few more things and Aladdin added a few more than that but it still didn’t match M.C. Kids in features or fun. What made this so frustrating was that all it would have taken was to take the artists from those games and put them on the M.C. Kids engine and Virgin could have had some of the best games in the industry.
M.C. Kids had basically a 3 person team. Two programmers and 1 artist. Global Gladiators was given 5 or more artists.
It just goes to show that making a good game is not sufficient to having a hit game. Oh well, I guess as some would say, that’s just Sour Grapes.
Here are the many of the various maps from M.C. Kids.
Here’s a list of which levels have which cards. For example: Lake_2 has Grimace card #0 and Ronald card #1 (cards are numbered 0 to 5 cause I’m a programmer and programmers count from 0) To find those cards, look up the map ‘Lake_2.gif’ on the page of maps above and find the two cards. One is at the right top of the big waterfall. To get it you have to carry a boat to the top of the waterfall and then take the boat across. The other is on the right just under the finish line. To get it, at the start of the level you have to jump to the left. Then take the zipper and it will start you under the finish line so you can get the card.
For more information about many NES games try these links:
Node 99 System Software: Emulators for many systems
tsr’s NES archive: Tons of info on NES games.