(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

By Ray Atkinson

I have been playing games for over twenty years.  In the course of those years, I have come across some really unique titles that flew under people’s radar.  For the last post of each month, It’s All Fan And Games will profile one of those titles.

This month’s obscure game is Rollergames for the Nintendo Entertainment System.  It was published by Konami Ultra Games in 1990.  You can classify this game as a beat ’em up like Double Dragon or Ninja Turtles, but it also has platforming.  The catch though is that the entire game is done on roller skates making movement fast.

You play as one of three good roller derby factions who are trying to rescue the league commissioner from the evil roller derby factions.  I guess Rollergames didn’t have a players’ union, so the disgruntled skaters had to resort to kidnapping.  How dare the commissioner try to implement an eighteen derby schedule!  As you can tell, the story is cheesy like an awesomely bad 80’s movie.

“Your skills decide if you win or fail.”  Classic tagline.

Watching the game is not enough.  You actually have to play the game to feel how weird it is.  The physics in this game were impressive for the time.  If you went down a ramp, you skated faster and had to carefully time your jumps.  It’s the opposite if you go up a ramp.  Your character slows down.  It adds a level of difficulty in timing, but one that makes this game fun.  No need for “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start.”  This game has an unlimited amount of continues.  Fail all you want.

You will travel through cities, junkyards, highways, and jungles.  (Didn’t know it was possible to roller skate in a jungle.  All that grass and sand.)  Littered on these stages are pitfalls, oil slicks, rolling barrels, and of course, bad guys.  The bad guys are the easy part.  Hits from them just take out a fraction of your life gauge.  Fall into a pit, however, and it is instant continue.  There are bosses at the end of each stage as well.  They hit hard, especially the dude on the jet ski.

The soundtrack to this game is amazing.  That first stage theme is an ear worm in and of itself.  I’m humming it as I type this.  Highway stages have some of the best themes 8-bit music has to offer.  It matches the pace and flow of the game perfectly.

There was an arcade version of Rollergames released in the same year, but the NES version is the superior version.  Believe it or not, Rollergames was actually a T.V. show, and the games were based off it.

So 80’s.

There is no legit download service that offers Rollergames.  You got to get this one on an online auction if you have an old Nintendo lying around.  Don’t worry.  It’s cheap.

Remember kids, it’s all fun and games until the league commissioner gets captured.  Go save him!

It’s All Fan and Games is a weekly blog dedicated to all things video games.  Follow Ray Atkinson on Twitter.  @FilthyRay
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