In this time of abundant gaming choice, things are quite simple: You see a game that you want to play, and you get it. Of course, there might be some financial barriers, or you might see a title released as a console exclusive, but, by and large, if a game is released, you can access it no matter where you are in the world.
Back in the 80s and early 90s, things weren’t so simple. The lack of internet and the importance put upon regions meant that many games were not accessible to players. A case in point came in November 1987 when Konami released The Goonies II video game. North American gamers were left scratching their heads, as they had never heard tell of The Goonies (I) before.
Region-only releases stumped 80s gamers
The original Konami game “The Goonies” was released in 1985, but it was exclusive to the Japanese market. It was released for the “Family Computer”, which was the Japanese name for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Versions were also released for PCs and arcade. Eventually you could get your hands on the game in North America and Europe through the Playchoice 10 arcade machine.
Nonetheless, the games exist, and they are, well, “of their time”. In the 1980s, there was a liberal approach to using intellectual property, meaning many of the games at the time had little relation to the source material they were based on. Times have changed, of course. And while there aren’t any modern video games based on The Goonies, we do see the honoring of the source material in games like The Goonies slot by Blueprint Gaming, which uses a lot of original footage from the movies.
As for Konami’s games based on The Goonies, there were obviously going to be restrictions on honoring the source material at the time, given the technology available. But players were still left somewhat bemused at the loose interpretation of the characters and concepts. Weird NPCs (mermaids, for example!) that had no relevance to The Goonies movie casually appeared in Konami’s games.
When it comes to the gameplay, both games are interesting. Neither is going to blow the doors off in comparison to today’s offerings, but there is a sense – like many of the games of the era – that the developers did the best they could with the technology available to them. Putting puzzles ahead of action seemed to be the go-to option when developing games based on sophisticated movies.
Lots of Konami “Easter Eggs” to discover
Of course, the reason you would play The Goonies and The Goonies II today is not for the gameplay – it’s for the nostalgia kick. And that’s where Konami is able to deliver some easter eggs for gamers. There are, for example, hints of future Konami creations, including an appearance by the fabled Konami Man. You’ll also find little nuggets that would later appear in big Konami releases like Metal Gear Solid. And, if you were a fan of The Goonies, Konami’s version of Cyndi Lauper’s The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough is as weird as it is wonderful.
The Konami releases aren’t the only versions of games based on The Goonies. You’ll also find a release by DataSoft, the now-defunct video game developer that had some success in the 1980s, which has its merits from a nostalgia point of view and got some fairly positive reviews. But the Konami games were the only serious attempt at bringing the much-loved 80s movie to the gaming world. Worth checking out if you wish to recapture some of those childhood memories.