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M.C Kids

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.

Thumbnails and Images or a Zip file with all the images (2.5meg).

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.


Level Name Card Card # Card 2 Card 2 #
Clif_1
Clif_2
Clif_3
Clif_4
Clou_1
Clou_2
Dock_1
Fore_1
Fore_2
Fore_3
Fore_4
Isla_1
Isla_2
Lake_1
Lake_2
Mead_1
Mead_2
Mead_3
Moon_1
Moon_2
Moon_3
Moon_4
Moun_1
Moun_2
Moun_3
Moun_4
Ship_1
Volc_1
Volc_2
Volc_3
Grimace
Grimace
Grimace
Grimace
Puzzle
Birdy
Hamburgler
Ronald
Puzzle
Ronald
Professor
Professor
Puzzle
Grimace
Grimace
Ronald
Ronald
Ronald
Cosmic
Cosmic
Cosmic
Cosmic
Birdy
Hamburgler
Birdy
Birdy
Professor
Puzzle
Puzzle
Hamburgler

2
4
5
3
5
3
4
3
0
5
0
4
2
1
0
2
0
4
1
0
3
5
5
3
1
4
5
3
4
0

Hamburgler
Professor

Birdy

Cosmic

Professor

Hamburgler

Ronald

Cosmic

Hamburgler

Birdy

Professor

Puzzle

5
2

2

2

1

1

1

4

2

0

3

1

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.

table>

Burning Bridge

Clouds

Falling Platforms

Breaking Bridge

Finish Line

Lava Block

Map

Moving Platform

Snow Bridge

Spring Boards

Super Spring Boards

Treadmill

  • Gazz
    Help me stop tearing out my hair!

    I am a huge McDonald’s Land fan, I’ve recently decided to get back into the game to accomplish the two things I didn’t achieve first time

    1) get to puzzle land….

    2) defeat the magic bag.

     

    I’ve done the first one, but the magic bag still eludes me. I can get to the part where the wand starts chasing and shooting me, but I can’t seem to get a rock high enough to hit it at all, if that’s how you do it.

     

    Please tell me how I can get that blasted wand, I can’t get 1 hit in!

  • z
    hold up

    jump while holding up then press b at the top to throw the block higher

  • sarahs
    We loved this game

    My sister and I loved this game when we were kids we weren’t particularly good at playing nintendo games so MC kids was kind to us in that we could redo levels to get extra lives…. there’s a snow cloud level where you could pick up something like six lives in a minute, and the level was insanely fast cause it was all on ice. so we used to sit on the couch passing the controller back and forth racking up lives so we could get to the farther levels, and we used to time ourselves seeing who could do that little level the fastest. of course if you had to leave to do something like eat dinner there was a strong chance your baby brother would come along and reset it trying to play sesame street but WTF we would just start it up again.

  • VALLEJO
    I LOVE IT

    Damn, i used hella love playin this game when i was a toddler…lol.

    Even though I can’t remeber have of the game i still will remember parts.

    Thanks for the memories.

  • GReg
    Loved it

    Man I love MC kids. Me and my brother would play it all the time. I was only six when I played it. I remember it being challenging and never beating it but it was still alot of fun. I would buy it on the wii’s VC

  • nes_gamer
    not a bad game

    It’s too bad that McDonalds chose to bury this when it was first released. You guys did a good job on this. I just found this game about a month ago, and it’s fun – even in this day and age of 3D high res everything.

  • ArbyDarby
    There WAS a sequel…

    Personally I blame the really crappy box art (way to go Stan Gorman). It looks cheap and no doubt consumers thought so too (the game only started selling after they discounted the retail price).

    As for the poster previous page who said “if it’s any good, they would have made a sequel”: THEY DID! It’s called “Global Gladiators” (for SNES and Genesis). So I guess that validates MC Kids as a good game.

  • PhoenixUltima
    This game was awesome.

    McKids kicked so much ass back in the day. I don’t know if it’s aged well or not, but it was definitely fun back when the power glove was “so bad” and the Olsen twins were precious and cute instead of retarded and obnoxious.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVBerX6Dzmc engri
    really bad ganes

    this game sucks hard. really hard. BTW i owned both global gladiators (gamegear) and this S***** game. They are among the worst games i ever played :(((. Global Gladiators had way better gfx but the playability was still awful! Check the avgn review of the game. He is exadurating a bit. But only a bit.

  • Nesrocks
    I must say I like this game pretty much

    This game has several elements from super mario world, but it is indeed a fine piece of art, and I love the way the artist did the graphics, to me they are suberb…. And learning today that it was done by a single artist impresses me.

    Also the music… I listen to the sound track still today! One of my prefered game soundtracks… This game has an innocent aura and the soundtrack adds to that. Simply fun. (I’m not talking about the mac donalds corporation and it’s aggressive ways, just the game as a stand alone piece).

    Of course the game isn’t better than super mario 3, and I think it’s because the levels are too vertical, but other than that, it IS a great game and it deserved more attention. I don’t know why mac donalds didn’t like it and it is a sad thing indeed… But be sure that it will never be forgotten.

  • Nesrocks
    me again

    “I don’t remember throwing blocks, collecting cards, or riding in boats in SMB3…”

    Well, then you didn’t play Super Mario 3, because it has all of those (not in the same way as mac kids, but it does).

  • Disco_gcu
    Ahead of its time.

    I actually played this to today and when I was a kid – Look at that graphics in that game compared to what was currently out at that time. Mario 3 is a great game ( and I’m a big Mario fan ) but i have to admit the graphics were much more detailed and better. Look in the forest levels of that game, and tell me you don’t see Super World backgrounds ( not bang on ) but the best ive seen on a 8bit machine. Look at the floor detail and the way they used colors. Its ashame that it got a bad rep. Nintendo Invented the plat former, that doesn’t mean that every platformer is a rip of Mario however. Some of the ideas in that game were original and new.

    Anyhows – Thank you for a good plat former to play in between Mario 3 and Mario World.

  • quickstraw
    Virtual Console?

    What are the chances of this coming out for the Virtual Console?? I’d buy it again in a second.

  • antiscrewattack
    One of the most underrated games of ALL-Time.

    I have always enjoyed this game. It has some of the best level design I have ever experienced in a side-scrolling platformer.

    It is unfortunate that M.C. Kids gets so much hate nowadays. Perhaps it’s just an easy target because of the McDonalds theme. But hey, at least they didn’t try to sell us hamburgers or put fast food in the actual game (like Global Gladiators did).

    I found a guy on the web who does NES Tips. He did one for M.C. Kids!

    http://one.revver.com/watch/231543/mov

    I don’t think this game is all that hard to play. It’s just really long.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/bubblebubbletea bubblebubbletea
    I like this game.

    I wouldn’t say it’s better than Mario, that’s a huge overstatement and everyone knows it, but I will say it’s a fun game based on a licensed property that never got the credit it deserved. I remember when I was five my friend had this game and he didn’t like it so he gave it to me, now me and my other friend have a non-formal tradition of playing it every summer…we’ve beat it countless times and always get a good laugh at of it.

    I don’t think I have much more to say about this, but thanks for making a fun/weird game.

  • http://www.myspace.com/robfuckinjohnson Rob
    M.C. Kids

    M.C. Kids is one of the BEST games ever created for the NES and I really do feel that it lost its glory. If someone decided that the game was somehow a copy of Mario then, maybe they should have actually played M.C. Kids before dumping it. The games are almost completely different save they both have a map screen.

    I remember playing this game as a young child, and getting pretty far, but always having to stop playing. I remember… one night I had to go to bed… and my mom, haha… She used to always make me turn off the NES… but I had finally gotten to the space shuttle (and needed like 1 more card) haha and I didn’t want to, cuz it was the furthest I had ever gotten… My dad heard me whining and he came in the room to tell me to go to bed. My mother and I went upstairs. At about 4am the next morning, before my dad left for work, he woke me up and told me to go downstairs… He had left the game on for me, and he had even gotten the card i needed. He told me not to let my mom find out, and he left for work. That was the first time and the only time I got to play the moon.

    …Haha I’m 20 now and me and my dad don’t really get along anymore….

    but anyway

    Your game wasnt a flop. It was seriously great.

    -Rob

  • Zyzzybalooba
    Artist?

    Hey, who was the artist you guys had working with you? When I was younger, I read a review of MC Kids and I swear it mentioned that the artwork and character design was by Craig Bartlett. Bartlett has since gone on to wild success with Nickelodeon’s “Hey Arnold!” series, and is planning several new shows for Cartoon Network.

    My memory isn’t usually wrong, but I’d like to know for sure. Was the artist Craig or someone else?

  • http://games.greggman.com greggman

    The art work was mostly by Darren Bartlett. He now runs and owns Liquid Development. Some art was also done by René Boutin

  • http://www.magazinnes.blogspot.com Tygrus
    Just droped by…

    Hi Gregg,

    I am working on a non profitable virtual magazine: MagazinNES. In the next issue i´m going to include a MC Kids giant-size review (made it by a partner: Jote), so i want to ask you: would you like to share some anecdote, or anything else with the people? ((i know people will be grateful) (sorry about my english, not my native language)).

    By the way, MC Kids remember me “Chucky” LOL… but i like it! ;).

    Wish u the BEST (of the BEST!). Thank you for your time.

  • NESGeneration
    A TRUE CULT CLASSIC

    Anyone I’ve ever talked to who played this game ‘back in the day’ agrees it was one of the best games of its time; It has HUGE replay value. Unfortunatly because it didn’t get the exposure it should have during its release it has a smaller fan base than it deserves.

    It clearly goes undisputed that SMB3 is CLASSIC, and it certainly does deserve the recognition. However imagine if the plumber had been released without advertising and was never a campaign for Nintendo…

    All in all gamers who rate games as they should be rated (The ‘Fun Factor’, Playability, Replay Value, etc.) love this game and consider it CLASSIC albeit a ‘CULT CLASSIC’ since many people who discovered it years later compared to games of another era, instead of on its own merits.

    Good Job M.C. Kids production team; a game well played is a game well made.

  • LX7Dezoris
    Best damn game period.

    M.C. Kids is simply one of the best NES games ever made…and I’m not an easy critic when it comes to classic gaming. I’m amazed to learn that the entire game was made by only three primary developers!

    Everything from the music, to level design, to enemy intelligence was near perfection. Those all contribute to the insane replay value.  I even have the NSF rip playing in Winamp while I’m at work =)

    The concept of unlocking the next levels was way before it’s time, but added an incredible dimension to the gamplay rather than “completing” a level. Plus, all the hidden elements illustrate a huge degree of creativity and mature approach to game development. This game is wholey satisfying…without the use of GUNS! =P

    I know almost every corner of this game and still find myself playing it frequently from start to finish. I tell everyone I can about it. In fact, should my game development company ever take off fulltime, I have a sequel slated as one of our fan-based projects!

  • Rick
    Awesome game

    Title says it all. I never actually beat it, my block was in the air for what I think was the last hit but the bag got me instead :( I just broke out my NES a couple days ago and this was the first game I loaded up. Gotta love it

  • Ness
    A true classic

    My dear sir,

    First and foremost, I would like to thank you for setting up such a nice shrine to one of the best games of the Nintendo generation.  I loved this game since the day I found it at K.B Toys and continue to enjoy playing its many levels to this day.  Second, I was curious as to whether you have had an update on the new 3-D Wii version that was slated to be in the works.  There was talk of including happy meal codes or some such.  I would greatly appreciate any news as I would be the first for such a game.  Continue the great work.

  • http://freewebs.com/plastiware Lazord
    Awesome game.

    I LOVE this game.  The only two things it needs are the ability to scroll the screen around to see what’s above, below, or ahead of you, and a save system so you can pick up where you left off.  You should definitely re-release it for GameBoy Advance or DS with these extra features.

  • Jon
    Great game

    Me and a friend just beat this game yesterday. It is totally an under appreciated game. The falling into the sky in a upside down world is crazy and awesome. And the low gravity moon levels are simply fun to play without any goals in mind.

    This is defiantly one of the better NES games.

  • billytr

    I admit I had never heard of this game intil yesterday I was in a goodwill store looking around and saw this mcdonalds game for the nes and was like I never knew there was a mcdonalds game. So I bought it for 1 dollar figured what the heck cleaned it up real good and I admit even though its a huge advertisement for mcdonalds the game is fun. A very unique platform game the only other ones that match its uniqueness is boy and his blob and kid cool. And for the record my nes is still plugged into the same tv it was in 1986 only diffrence is now the tv is my gaming tv and not in the living room anymore 48 years old and still going strong not ashamed to admit I love the old nintendo still to this day and my new find of MC Kids was a great one wished Id known about it when it was brand new.So was this a full retail game or was it sold through mcdonalds as a limited type promo?

  • http://games.greggman.com greggman
    full retail

    M.C. Kids was sold as a full retail game. McDonalds did almost no promotion of it.

  • Ashley

    My sister and I loved this game growing up…unfortunately we no longer have our old school Nintendo. Does anyone know if there is a computer version of this game and if so where I can find it? I would love to play this game again!

  • http://kbg.awardspace.com Bowser
    It’s a nice game

    I think the game is pretty good, but it has some problems too.

    It’s a bit unfair and not-fun-hard in some places… and maybe that’s what turned some people off.

    Go in http://www.youtube.com and search for “Let’s play McKids”. It’s a video playthrough, I think it shows some of the game’s weak points.

    In my opinion the Mario games are much more professional and fun, but this game deserves some attention too.

    But it’s definitely not a rip-off of Mario, it has many original and cool ideas :)

    BTW the music sounds Commodore-64-ish :P

    I like that.

  • taiki

    This is incredibly late but i was ripping my hair out finding secret card 3. it’s on Mountain 2 and Mountain 2 incorrectly labels that as Hamburglar 3, not secret 3.

  • silentbomber
    favorite game on NES

    THis was probably my favorite game on NES. got more play than SM3 for it took me a while to figure out the wheels that turn you upside down, once i figured that out I was hooked, mario takes no thought you just push through the level MC kids was awesome, i remember there being many more enemies than SM3 as well, i cant believe people dont’t recognize this game

  • Jaziebu
    I always loved MC Kids

    I just wanted to say that MC Kids was one of the best Nintendo games ever made!

  • David
    :D

    I just got this in the mail today (it’s called Mcdonaldland in Australia xD) and I’ve found it to be a very good game so far – very playable, great graphics and good music too! Much better than Global Gladiators!

  • Danny
    Still great to this day

    I used to play this game as a kid and now I have it on my PC and it’s still good.

  • Tev
    Loved this game!

    We had a lot of NES games when I was a kid, and this was one of the few that got the most play. I just remember it being a lot of fun, and both my siblings and my parents really enjoyed it.

    I always did wonder why McDonalds never actually promoted it.

  • JonLashier

    Wow, it’s been almost four years since I’ve last been to this site. Anyway, thanks again for the great memories that have been formed over the years due to this game. My NES still works and I still have my copy.