(You wanna see my take on the Genesis version? Go nuts.)
Action 52. If you ask about Action 52 to those who claim to have played it, the response you'll get will be fairly interesting. First, a proud smirk will quickly make its way onto the face of the person to whom you're talking. They will then take a deep breath and puff out their chests a little before launching into lecture. The goal of this lecture will be convince you they deserve all sorts of purple hearts an honorary PhDs because they're an Action 52 survivor.
But, because their Action 52 experiences don't extend beyond roughly 3 minutes of play on some emulator, they start gyrating as if undergoing a series of convulsive seizures as they remember all those who truly have the Action 52 experiences are said to do this uncontrollably the instant they hear the name of the game. Plus they do this because they know very little about the game and wish to evade conversation about it. Afterwards, you walk away unimpressed and disappointed, and just as you turn around to get on with your life, the alleged Action 52 survivor stops you and asks for some spare change.
Your knowledge of Action 52 most probably entirely comes from various personal pages or message board posts on the Internet, and I'm convinced the overwhelming majority of them are placed in incapable, unmotivated, incredibly ugly hands. This time, though, I, your intelligent, diligent, physically appealing, witty, modest webmaster, will be manning the controls. I've spent over eight (probably more like 12) hours playing and taking notes about this game, and some yet-to-be-defined total of time (but probably more than I'd like to admit) thinking about, writing and compiling features about it. In other words, I've spent more time in Action 52-related endeavors than any other single person ever.
Oh yeah, it quickly goes downhill from
Oh yeah, it quickly goes downhill from here.
Action 52 blows. Yes, much of this game might come directly from your worst gaming-related nightmares. Yes, other parts of this game will make those nightmares seem more like a trip to a candy shop. While it is true that not a single Action 52 entry is even close to good enough to be an acceptable stand alone cart, the prevailing 'wisdom' about the game states that these are creations of such unthinkable badness, only those with DNA dating back to your favorite insane dictator could possibly give life to such an abomination. And while it is true that all these games can be considered bad to a certain extent, only a handful of what is found here will actually mentally scar all who come in contact with them, and Action 52 has a reputation that this game is completely filled with such crimes against humanity. In truth, the games that are just plain awful, those with visible goblins of the good games they ape lurking in the backgrounds, when placed alongside those that are downright awful, are actually kind of good in comparison.
I was then going to compose a confusing, several paragraph narrative explaining all points of view (since upon looking at some of what I had written, much was bearing the likeness of a common Action 52 diatribe) discussing the actual level of bad achieved by Action 52 as if this was a politically correct sociology essay. Then I realized how damn useless this is: it doesn't really matter how bad the Action 52 collective really is, but we can all agree it's so bad playing it should only be reserved for the world's most tenacious, strong-willed webmasters who are likely to write all sorts of stupid crap about it.
Instead, I'll just say that Action 52 is the most misunderstood collection in gaming. It really seems to be more of a technology demo or get rich quick scheme than anything else: see what you can do with a cart this size and how much you can squeeze on it. Something like this might impress the living shit out of somebody in 1986, still laughing at Miyamoto for entering this dead gaming industry: the mere notion of having 52 separate, distinct (and I use that word with all sorts of salt) games on a single cartridge is going to boggle the minds of a cynical CES attendee. Let him see the introduction to Action Gamemaster and watch him slap down ridiculous prices required for the soft and hardware in 1986. Of course, fast forward to almost 1992 and you'll find technological experiments are reduced to Mode 7 effects and seeing how fast you can get a putzy little hedgehog to go.
At the top of the screen, if you squint hard enough, you can find links to brief examinations of every single one of the Action 52 titles. Each game receives its own page for emphasis purposes. I, though, suggest that instead of jumping right into that huge bath of fire just like that, you ease into it by first taking a look at what I can only assume is the complete Action 52 (NES) package here.
Some worthwhile Action 52-related links:
Of course, there is still time to leave if you don't think you'll be able to stomach this.
Back to ArkFullofSorrow.com