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Jacob Buczynski's Games

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by JPX - January 14, 2015

Introduction

"One day in a peaceful galaxy something bad happened...
something really totally
uber bad."
— Revenge of the Sunfish

It's not an easy feat to impress me with weirdness. While some of the most brilliant art in any medium is strange and abnormal, from Salvador Dalí to Jean Michel Jarre to Suda 51, none of these artists I've just mentioned set out with the express goal of creating something weird. They all made efforts to express certain ideas and emotions; the fact that the products of these efforts all turned out truly bizarre was only a side-effect. But when you set out to make something as weird and nonsensical as you possibly can for the sake of subverting the audience's expectations, you're just pulling a dirty trick to get attention. It requires no genuine skill or talent whatsoever. For example: fishy-fishy frog monchers! I just fell into all three mouths of a giant, purple polka-dotted glarge monkey with coconut braces and wound up in the land of the zombie scissors! How many minutes of hard work do you think it took me to come up with that? (Here's a hint: it's less than one!) That's why, while other people flock toward some viral video and swear it'll weird me out, I remain totally unphased. The "weird factor" just isn't there for me when I know it's all put on for the shock. It's like watching a magic trick when I already know its secret. The same goes double for when something is bad on purpose to be ironic and artificially manufacture a "so bad, it's good" scenario, and triple for when something is offensive for no other reason than to offend people.

And yet, in spite of their pathetically obvious attempts at being the weirdest, ugliest and quite possibly all-around worst games in the room, Australian developer Jacob Buczynski's creations, particularly Revenge of the Sunfish, have somehow managed to put me at a loss for words. It pains me to say this, because I know that this is exactly what they want, but I just can't help getting sucked in by the morbid filthiness of these games. But let's not leave it at that. Let's have a closer look, shall we?


Revenge of the Sunfish - Windows (2007)

Ahh, Revenge of the Sunfish. Jacob Buczynski's most famous game by far, though certainly not his first. Where do I even begin with this game? Right from the very start, you're treated to a photo of a plate of mushrooms arranged to look like a smiley face, followed immediately by an opening sequence consisting of graphics that are absolutely horrendous even by MS Paint standards, accompanied by horribly written text and an obnoxious, repetitive thumping noise, and finally an awful text screen that looks like some kind of glitched-out PowerPoint slide a with some scribbles at the bottom that look like they were added on by a 4-year-old who got his hands on (you guessed it) Microsoft Paint.

"But the game can't possibly be this bad!" you exclaim.

And that is precisely where you are proven horribly wrong. The moment the intro is over, you find yourself staring at some of the worst sprites in gaming history, layered on top of a backdrop that appears to be made from some random MS paint scribbles run through a Photoshop filter to make them look silver and metallic, covered with some hideous gradient spikes on the bottom and some kind of random circles scattered all over the screen, all accompanied by an obnoxious MIDI of a song stolen from Castlevenia. And believe it or not, it's mostly downhill from here. Each stage in Revenge of the Sunfish is essentially a completely different game, featuring different gameplay, different enemies, different graphics, a different plot (when there is a plot) and, more often than not, even a different main character. However, it rarely ever stray from basic arcade gameplay. Some of the stages can actually be a bit of fun, but this is usually negated by the fact that they're over in 30 seconds. One level is a guessing game that plays a loop of some earsplittingly awful noise and has you guess which poorly-drawn animal it's coming from; your punishment for guessing the wrong one is having a grotesque image flash across the screen accompanied by a different earsplitting noise. Another features food falling from the sky along with eyeballs and internal organs, and has you move the disembodied head of a French man around the screen, eating the food that falls into his mouth and puking every time something gross lands in in. At least three levels have you do nothing but press the same key over and over again, and several have you do nothing but walk from one side of the screen to the other. Most stages are prefaced by a deliberately-nonsensical text screen explaining the story and controls of the level, often with deliberate spelling mistakes. The opening cutscene establishes a "plot" revolving around evil sunfish but it doesn't stick around, and in fact, is almost never mentioned except for at the very beginning and the very end. The entire main plot of the game ends up being some kind of Chekhov's gun, as you'll have forgotten all about it until the final boss battle.

Interestingly enough, it is impossible to actually lose at this game. To quote the official website,

"Players should not be able to get stuck at any point in the game. If the player dies a certain number of times they are sent to a latter stage to prevent it from getting boring. I don't have a problem with this. People have asked me, 'if you can pass a level by losing then what's the point in trying to beat it properly' my answer is that passing levels properly leads to different levels, levels only accessible by beating the level properly. That's the incentive."

So your only incentive to try to win is that you get to play more of this game... if you can really call that incentive. Unfortunately, however, the lowest point by far is inescapable. No matter how badly you fail at every preceding level, you'll still be treated to... well, this.

There is a sequence of this game in which you have to stroke the spacebar on a semi-anthropomorphized computer keyboard until it shorts out. As you repeatedly press the spacebar, a bar in the corner labeled "pleasure meter" fills up, while the keyboard says things such as "harder" and "that feels so good" in the Microsoft Sam voice. Not only is that disgusting, but the gameplay is absolutely terrible! All you do is press the freaking spacebar over and over again. And it's one of the longer levels, too. This part of the game is so awkward and disturbing that a certain PewDiePie actually shut off the game at this point.

This man backed down in front of millions of viewers. Probably a wise choice.

Revenge of the Sunfish is the very embodiment of the word "kusoge." Everything about it is bad. The graphics are a piled-on mishmash of MS Paint and horrible filters that look like they were added using some cheap Photoshop clone for Windows 98, the soundtrack consists of some of the most obnoxious MIDI music I've ever heard, the gameplay is completely random and doesn't even try to be fun half the time, and the whole thing is a full tank of nightmare fuel. I normally just roll my eyes at games that are so obviously just trying to get a reaction out of me, but this one has taken away what little shred of sanity was still holding me together. As obnoxious as it is when people develop games that are meant to be weird and ugly, there's something about this one that gives it a morbid allure. This is the weirdest, trippiest and ugliest game I have ever played. Simply put, Revenge of the Sunfish is bad. Really, totally, uber bad.

Quick Info:

Developer:

  • Bizarre Wound Games

Designer:

  • Jacob Buczynski

Genre:

Themes:


Revenge of the Sunfish (Windows)

Revenge of the Sunfish (Windows)

Revenge of the Sunfish (Windows)

Revenge of the Sunfish (Windows)

Revenge of the Sunfish (Windows)



Revenge of the Sunfish 2 - TBA

Jacob Buczynski is currently working on a sequel to Revenge of the Sunfish, although development has been much slower than anticipated. Some development screenshots, as well as a gameplay demo video, have been revealed on Buczynski's official website. If what he's shown us so far is any indication, the look and feel of Revenge of the Sunfish 2 will be completely identical to that of the first game. Revenge of the Sunfish 2 promises to be much longer than its predecessor, with more varied and interconnected levels. Buczynski has also revealed that he has composed over one thousand ingame tunes for it.

Unlike its freeware predecessor, Revenge of the Sunfish 2 will be a commercial game. Buczynski intends to sell it for $5 (Australian) and said in a YouTube comment that if he can't get it greenlit on Steam, he might burn it onto a thousand CDs and sell the physical disks. This is quite interesting, given that it's extremely uncommon for indie developers to distribute games through physical media nowadays.

Quick Info:

Developer:

  • Bizarre Wound Games

Designer:

  • Jacob Buczynski

Genre:

Themes:



<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Revenge of the Sunfish
Revenge of the Sunfish 2

Page 2:
Other Monstrosities
Danger Sprout

Discuss on the Forums!

Back to the Index