Day 56: Manos: The Hands of Fate – Director’s Cut

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So this is a thing that exists.

I’ve gone on record a few times in the past stating that Mystery Science Theater 3000 is my favorite TV show of all time. More than anything else that was offered in my formative years, it just spoke to me, likely helping to form me into the cynical malcontent that’s currently typing this. That said, I had mixed feelings upon hearing about the show’s return. By all means, they created a thing and have the right to make more of it, but concurrently, I feel like some things should simply exist in a certain time and place. I think about where the line is rather frequently, wondering if I’d be tempted to exploit something I created if it gained in popularity. Honestly, I don’t know.

Manos: The Hands of Fate is an infamous disaster of a film responsible for one of the most memorable MST3K episodes ever; a production so lacking in competency you’d have to dig beneath the bottom of the barrel to sink to its depths. No one actually even knew of its existence until it was unearthed for the show, then finding a third life after that on the internet due to its memetic potential.

Hands of Fate – Director’s Cut essentially lives and dies off of that. Granted, it’s an admirable length to go for an extended joke, but I’m not entirely sure the joke needed to be told, or in this case, repeated, existing as homage to the often nonsensical licensed NES platformers that had little or nothing to do with the property they were based on. The game is certainly consistent in that vision, navigating the bland father character Mike through the movie’s limited number of sets as enemies fabricated exclusively for the game try to attack you. The whole package is just a little too on the nose, even ignoring that NES tributes stopped being funny years ago.  What should have probably just been a single level flash game instead overstays its welcome to tell the same easy joke over and over, occasionally hitting you with a cheap death in case you forgot that Nintendo games used to be hard.

It’s not a good game, but was also never designed to be judged on those merits. It made more sense when I discovered this was the same team that put out the Angry Video Game Nerd game, using the exact same engine. It doesn’t forgive the problems I have with Manos, but I understand it. Someone had to corner the market on games based around the player going “hey there’s a thing from that other thing”, I guess.

New things are cool too, guys.

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