These days, gamers can be quite adamant about the legitimacy of video games as an art form. I certainly wouldn’t disagree: a case can be made that making great video games requires just as much creativity as any book or movie. But I think what often gets lost in this pursuit to prove that the video game is a form of artistic expression is the fact that video games are also, essentially, toys. Especially games from the 80s and 90s, and Wacky Worlds was one of my favorite toys from the 90s.
Essentially a glorified sticker book, it let kids like me build entire worlds in eight different locations ranging from the ocean floor to the moon. I could place buildings and plants and animals and all sorts of other objects to create any kind of scenario I wanted. I was able to build a moon base in the middle of a jungle populated by invisible flying sharks, an underwater fantasy castle with dragons and aliens, and even a technological city above the clouds populated by a massive number of green Tails clones. What made this more than just an interactive sticker book was the ability to customize the colors of all the objects and change the music for each stage using a wide selection of tunes, and most importantly, make the stickers move.
I must have spent hours in this game just building and destroying worlds, messing with the colors and the music and seeing what different stickers did when I animated them. Being the horrible little kid I was, I was delighted when I found out that the shark could eat the fish and birds, though also rather disappointed when it wouldn’t eat Tails. Hitting the “bomb” button that completely cleared out a scene was akin to reigning down Armageddon upon an entire world to me. Like a kid who destroys his legos after building them, I would often create large elaborate structure only to watch them explode!
I was easy to amuse as a kid. Out of all the games I played back then, though, this one was the only one that let my imagination create little worlds and stories and scenarios that were at least partially my own. It was no Mario Paint, of course, and in this day and age Wacky Worlds is downright bland and primitive and wouldn’t even work as a good low budget iOS game. But as far as mid 90s SEGA-made edutainment titles go, Wacky Worlds was pretty neat.Ad: