Retro Game of the Day! T&C Surf DesignsT&C Surf Designs by LJN for NES, released 1988. Yeah - you know you remember this game!
First of all, LJN was a horrible developer. They had that nice colorful logo, but they were one of those sketchy situations where "hey, don't they make toys? What gives with the video games?" It immediately gave one pause. The follow-through was that nearly all of their games were just trash. Not really any Japanese importing going on here, they just seemed to publish mostly American-developed NES titles at a time when such a thing usually implied poor quality (especially when compared to their Japanese counterparts). All their ads in the Nintendo Fun Club clearly showed "mock up" screen shots as opposed to the real deal - big letdown.
Secondly, this was a game about skating and surfing. Two things that weren't particularly popular when I was growing up, at least not like they are now. But hey, southern cali has often been called the vanguard of American Culture.. Anyway, aside from a couple of aberrations - things like 720, Skate or Die, California Games - none of the so-called "Extreme Sports," which they were not even considered yet, had much of a draw for your average kid. Still - this game had a pretty cool and lively box, and I think this was the furst LJN title before it all fell apart, so I picked it up. Or someone bought it for me, whichever.
Anyway, the game consisted of two modes - the (nearly unplayable) surfing mode, and the much-much-MUCH more enjoyable skating mode. Surfing was just a mess - unlike California Games' hard to describe but somehow satisfying gameplay, this was really the opposite of that. This is your game? Really? I don't even want to replay it for this review (it's been so many years!) out of remembrance of how dodgy that mode is. Really, pressing the reset button is just more gratifying. Stupid careless stoner must have designed that game. Spicoli!
Skating, on the other hand - also not a good game, but given the choice between this and - ugh, I'd go with skating. It's just an obstacle course avoiding game, essentially, but it was okay enough that I could load it uo once in awhile and have a couple of minutes of fun. The higher levels were challenging too. Not the best game in the world, but strangely I could get into it now and again. Somehow I do miss those "obstacle course avoidance" games, they never really did come into their own, did they?