At a Glance: Rarely is the ROM Pit ever given a game of such outstanding play control, such challenging and unique content, as well as a quality that makes it almost seem like it was forged on the anvil of Haphestus. It is my proud pleasure to introduce you to a buried treasure from our video game past. Timeless, like a bottle of fine wine, I present to you Wall Street Kid by SOFEL.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 64k
The Game Plot: Fate has a funny way of dropping bundles of good fortune. Just like how I discovered this game in the bottom of a bargain bin full of The Dig cd-roms, you are given a golden opportunity that few ever receive when you play this game. You start this game as a Benedict, a proud family full of financial success. With the death of an uncle you stand to inherit 600 billion dollars in caboodles and "monsters in my pocket" figures. The challenge? You must prove yourself as a Benedict in the stock market. Just like the gladiators of olden times, your weapons have now become an apple computer and a newspaper. I know what you're thinking, "Didn't the classic NES game Final Fantasy have the same plot?" Well you can rest easy, for Wall Street Kid takes it to levels no other NES game ever dares.
Every morning you must wake up like a golden statue of Anglo-Saxon majesty, put on your spectacles, and read the newspaper. Within this tome of cheap paper stock and fictitious headlines is your destiny. Using this flimsy newspaper as your map, you sail the seven seas of stock and finance. Without it, you will be lost as to what is happening in the world, such as "poisonous insects raiding picnic grounds." It is unfortunate that SOFEL is now out of business due to the ignorance of the video game market.
The height that SOFEL rose to in an effort to recreate the brutal landscape of the 1980s is breathtaking. Landscapes that must have taken weeks upon weeks are shown before you, like sirens in the voyage of Odysseus. They tempt you to look at them even though spending too much time on them will spell certain doom for you. You must focus on your stocks, on your wife, and on your own health. Oh yes, your health is a concern in this game. If you do not pay attention to your own health you will fail in your objective to be a Benedict. And there is no failure worse than that. Dying in the classic NES game "Dragon Warrior" cannot even come close to the gut-retching emotion this type of failure can bring on.
The Weapons: Unlike many other games, Wall Street Kid saw new avenues for the NES console system to be taken and took it there. Do you think that the classic NES game "Mario Bros. 3" would have been made if Nintendo had not seen the kind of raw imaginative power that SOFEL brought to the system with its' stock purchasing algorithms? Although you can't read it anywhere, you can trust me when I say that without this game, the tanooki suit would have only been the fevered dream of a madman.
The Enemies: In other children's games like "Legend of Zelda", an enemy is one who tries to harm you with magic spells. However, in a game that mimics the real world so closely you may find yourself reaching out to pet the poodle on the screen! Here the enemies are real life issues like interest rates, negative %change ratios, and not having the right amount of cash on you when your girlfriend asks for a new car. It is a refreshing breath of air to see a game, so distant in our past, laid the groundwork for the kinds of games that both adults and children can enjoy. Have you ever hoped that your father would take a moment away from figuring out the family finances to help you determine which stock would be the most profitable? It would certainly get him away from mother, who keeps asking for a new TV and stereo set. You know women.
There also exists another enemy that you must constantly keep aware of. Your rock hard physique must be maintained, and if you are not astute enough you can fall victim to personal tragedy. Pool contaminations, tick infestations, and broken carnival equipment could spell doom for your and your fortune. The same goes for your love life, which is a necessity in the all-too challenging world of Wall Street Kid. You must take your girlfriend on constant picnics, carnival rides, or shopping sprees in order to keep her from leaving you. If she leaves you, you will have failed as a Benedict. How often do you play video games where they try to teach you that by acquiring secret power you can conquer all foes? Baloney. Wall Street Kid isn't afraid to show you what it really takes to keep someone in your life - money. The type of thinking in this video game makes it an all-too appropriate critic to the sort of garbage we feed our children these days.
The levels: If one would search for something similar to "levels" in this golden game, you could say that each month is like a level. You start out just a simple folk at the beginning of the month, conquering and pillaging stocks with your computer and business savvy. Similar to the classic NES game "Metroid" in its depth and building-block game play strategy, you grow to become a titan amongst the lowly beside you in the capitalistic world. As you climb the ladder like Megaman does in his classic NES games, you gain the funds you need to purchase whatever you desire.
The Bosses: The only thing similar to bosses in this cold and capitalistic world is the objectives you must reach at the end of each month. First, you must raise a million dollars to be able to afford your home. That is just the beginning as the bills become higher and higher, from house to yacht to jewelry for your fiancée. You can not slack off in this game, child. Like the classic NES game "Wizards and Warriors", you must constantly be on your guard. When you start this game you may be a teenager with a dream of drawing comic books for a living. But when you walk away from this game, you will be a man.
The Defining Moment: Near the very end of this game I could feel my blood pumping it was only a day away from making the payment on the castle. My palms were covered in sweat as I read the paper one last time. Could I put my faith in Reebucks, or Rattel Toys? Or should I take a gamble and put my money in Yapple computers? I took the gamble, placing all my stocks in Yapple computers for the day. The next morning I awoke to my banker telling me the money for the castle was due. If I didn't have the money, all hope would be lost.
Yapple was up by five points.
I was a king in the land of mortals that day.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).
Sometimes I dream that I'm sitting in the back of the defunct Weinermobile as it careens driverless down the highway. At first I thought this was symbolic of the powerlessness I feel in life, but then I realized it's actually the Weinermobile's dream of being able to drive again.
Three years ago, when we were burying my uncle, Cleaver and some gross lady dog (Solstice???) showed up at the cemetery and starting going at it really loudly. It ruined everything and we had to have a "re-do" the next day and it cost a fortune. I've hated him ever since for that.
Ignore the hype. Find out how these games will likely go right or wrong.
The Rom Pit is dedicated to reviewing the most bizarre and screwed up classic console games from the 1980's, the ones that made you wonder what kind of illegal substances the programmers were smoking when they worked on them. Strangely enough, the same illegal substances are often necessary to enjoy or make sense of most of these titles. No horrible Nintendo game is safe from the justice of the ROM Pit.