Gameplay: Cartoonish columns of plaque monsters armed with picks and claws descend into your mouth, presumably to cause dental disease. You navigate Dr. Rabbit very, very slowly from side to side using the arrow keys and press space bar to launch a blast of toothpaste that disappears. Hit a bonus block for some extra points.
Goal: Your goal is genocide. You and Dr. Rabbit are to deploy Colgate and annihilate the plaque monsters. Unfortunately, this is impossible. Dr. Rabbit shuffles around the screen like he was run over by a train and even though you can hold down arrow keys to move if you press space bar to fire it interrupts the movement and you must press the arrow key again.
Overt Message: Colgate toothpaste cannot stop the spread of plaque in your mouth. Each day you begin again with ranks of plaque descending upon your teeth and you, armed only with an ineffective toothpaste tube and a mouth rabbit with a questionable doctorate, are powerless to stop the plaque.
Deconstructed: The entirety of the game takes place, not upon the field of battle of a tooth or around the gum line, but deeper within the mouth itself. The battle has already been internalized. It is man, in the form of a proxy wielding a squirting bottle of Colgate, versus himself, in the form of the bacteria accumulating in his own mouth. The bacteria marches relentlessly, as time itself takes its toll on our bodies. You have thee tries to stop it, but your chances are only a mockery as it is impossible to extinguish all of the germs descending in ranks deeper into your body.
Whatever the effort of Dr. Rabbit, that great conqueror, time, will have us all. At the end of three "turns" we are told to visit the dentist, a paternalistic appeal to a higher power: clean the teeth, scrape the gums, render us tabula rasa for our next turn upon the mandala.
A Better Version: Vigorous brushing causes bleeding gums and admonitions from your dentist to "floss, for Christ's sake"
Moral: Indefatigable and remorseless, plaque cannot be stopped. Nothing can hope to save you. Spend all day every day at the dentist. We are always dying and always living and all of this will happen again.
This week, I'll be playing an '80s arcade rom rumored to be a CIA mind-control experiment. Please like and subscribe!
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