Childhood Dream Game: Big Trouble in Little China, The Arcade Game

Image result for big trouble in little china

Poster Artist: I don’t need no photo, I can draw Kurt’s face from memory!

For childhood me, there were two things that were the absolute best things: the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade Game (1989) and the comedy classic Big Trouble in Little China (1986). Because nothing sucks more than elementary school, bro, I -like- spent my time there dreaming of eating New York pizza and drawing out my magnum opus, Big Trouble in Little China, The Arcade Game.

This movie was perfect to turn into a game! It had two main character players to choose from (like Final Fight). In case of this game you could choose either Jack or Wang. Personally, I liked Wang the best because he actually knew martial arts and Jack is really just a bumbling goofball throughout the movie. There were tons of fight scenes to draw from too, and they had absolutely the best bosses. The three storms all had unique traits as bosses and of course there was David Lo pan and other various magical baddies like the eyeball monster and the crusty sewer demon thing. There were plenty of opportunities for power ups too, the biggest of them all was the weird dry ice stuff that the protagonists drank before the final battle.

Image result for big trouble in little china drink

Huge buzz!

In fact, Mortal Kombat’s characters Shang Tsung and Raiden were inspired from this movie. And just because I had to before writing this blog, I searched if someone actually had made a game on this movie. I mean, you never can tell! It turns out there was a Commodore 64 version of this game, but it appears to be total crap. Like a broken Bad Dudes. And upon further interwebs perusal, it seems someone actually made a Bad Dudes ROM hack version and a neo-geo style arcade fighting game mock-up. Oh and don’t forget your board game version as well! (?)

Anyhow, my idea for the game was a side-scrolling beat-em-up, just like the turtles game. Because at least half the movie is crazy fun action, it was pretty obvious how to design the scenes. Upon reminiscing, my scene was from right to left scrolling, as opposed to the conventional left to right. Hmmm…

Nerds like me gushing about the TMNT arcade game

The trailer, for the uninitiated

Sadly, I don’t have any of my original design drawings, but I do remember I had the first level all planned out. The first actual fight scene in the movie takes place in an alleyway in Chinatown, San Fran, where Jack and Wang watch two rival gangs beat the crap out of each other. Basically the good guys are the guys in white and yellow and the bad guys are in red and black. You wouldn’t actually be controlling our main characters, but would be controlling one of the cool good guys. I had it all planned out to how many enemies would come out of alleys as you continue to walk along the main alley (e.g. bad guys x 5 enter through here) and the boss was the nimble bad guy who badassedly suplexes a dude into a shop window in the original fight scene. There would be all kinds of weapons you could pick up like boards, swords and other implements of destruction. The level would end when you reached the three storms. They would kill you and then the cut scene of the semi-truck hurtling down the alley into Lo Pan would end the level. Now that I think about it, it could easily be the tutorial level for the game, teaching you the ropes of the beat em up gameplay.

The alleyway fight scene (cut from TV broadcasts)

I remember showing my design to my friends, my mom and anybody else who would look at my drawings, but absolutely nobody had any interest in both of these things (TMNT & BTiLC) at the same time like I did [I later empathized strongly with The Little Prince having his boa constrictor misunderstood for being a hat!]. Nor were there many aspiring game developers at my elementary school. I didn’t go much further than actually drawing out the first scene because nobody was as pumped up as I was, and I had no idea how one actually makes video games as a 10-year-old anyways.

That’s where my dreams died, kids, and now I’m a bitter old man. If only I had a girl with green eyes!

How about you? Did you have any dream game that you wanted to make? How far did you get?

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2 thoughts on “Childhood Dream Game: Big Trouble in Little China, The Arcade Game

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