In 1988, the Nintendo Entertainment System was at the height of its popularity. For all practical purposes, it really had no competition. The following year the Sega Genesis would be released but in 1988 the NES was king of the hill. It’s really amazing how many games were being released for the NES at this time. All despite Nintendo’s relatively restrictive licensing policy.
This ad shows the games available for the NES by LJN around this time. I’ll be honest, I don’t recall playing any of these and they all look like mediocre licenses to me. First up is Gotcha!, a paintball game that you can play with the Zapper light gun. There weren’t too many Zapper games and most of them weren’t all that special. I don’t see how this one changes that. Apparently, it is loosely based on the movie of the same name. I sense a bad 1980s paintball themed movie I need to watch…
Next up is Jaws: The Revenge. This games is based on the fourth and final movie in the Jaws series which was released in 1987. This was one of the first games for the NES announced by LJN and I’m not really sure why they chose it. The movie was bad and the game was worse.
Next up is Major League Baseball. This game had the advantage of being licensed by the MLB so it used the actual team names. However, it didn’t have the Players Associate license so it did not feature real player names. As baseball games of the time went, this one really wasn’t too bad. It didn’t stand out from the competition but it was a decent enough game and there wasn’t much out there that was significantly better.
T&C Surf Designs is the oddest license of the bunch. The game itself is somewhat of a ripoff of California games, particularly in regards to the surfing portion. This one wasn’t a terrible game either but it was pretty mediocre. In addition to the surf competition, it also offered skateboarding.
Finally, there was The Karate Kid. The Karate Kid was an excellent movie (go watch it now if you haven’t seen it) but as games go, like most movie licenses, this one was mediocre at best. It was actually based loosely on the first two Karate Kid movies and features both fighting stages and platform stages as well as two player one-on-one fighting.
The above ad is from the February/March 1988 issue of Nintendo Fun Club News, the predecessor to Nintendo Power.