TURN TO CHANNEL 3: Asthma is somehow made worse with ‘Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus’
During this month in past years, I reviewed games that illustrated the fact that religion and video games just don’t mix. In addition, I also discussed how educational games focused on one distinct message just don’t resonate with gamers and are often remembered as downright laughable. Today on Turn to Channel 3, we take a look at another one of these digital abominations that truly questions the notion of quality control in the 1990s video game industry.
“Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus” (SNES, 1995)
This game may not have the most dreadful soundtrack, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t repetitive and lacking in originality. You can clearly tell these were not composers of merit while listening to the cheesy, bargain bin music you hear throughout.
There seems to be this notion behind games that are supposed to educate and inform that all the music has to either be upbeat to the point of nausea or a poor man’s attempt at sounding ominous and challenging. If you go into this game knowing what you’re getting in the music and sound effects department (sounds that are largely limited to huffs, puffs, coughs, and simple attack hits), you won’t be as disappointed had you gone in without an open mind.
Graphically speaking, Bronkie could also pass for a late NES release in the less-than-spectacular imagery on display here. The levels are so bland and unappealing that you feel as if the developers actually though the subject matter was going to be enough to sell this dumpster fire.
Not every miniscule niche demographic has to be covered in gaming. I don’t think if all left handed people or those who suffer from chronic migraines are without a game designed specifically for them that we will have a riot on our hands here. If you’re aiming for a market that is literally nonexistent in gaming, make it look like you were at least trying. Judging by aesthetics alone, you can tell that no one really felt inspired by inflammatory diseases. But can you blame them?
This game is equal parts fetch quest, standard platform (complete with some of the dumbest bosses in video game history!) and, yes, educational game because supposedly in the ‘90s, no doctors were informing kids suffering from asthma about what was going on with their bodies or proper inhaler usage. Thank goodness this game was made so that doctors and parents could be lazy and uninformative with their children because nothing says, “You’re on your own kid!” more than learning important health information from a digital dino.
Tasked with obtaining pieces of a wind machine that was set to rid the city of vile smog and dust that was causing asthma, Bronkie and Trakie must retrieve the pieces from dinosaurs ordered to protect each one from the evil Mr. Rexo before all the dust returns and threatens the livelihood of the prehistoric city of San Saurian.
Developed by WaveQuest, “Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus” is part of an educational video game series that also includes “Captain Novolin,” “Rex Ronan: Experimental Surgeon,” and “Packy and Marlon” because I guess little kids were being majorly targeted by smokers and needed to feel ostracized for having diabetes or asthma by having specific games for them.
As in most cases with games this rare (re: no one bought it) Bronkie fetches quite the price, with cartridges alone being sold for $160 on average and complete-in-box copies going for $225-$250 – prices that should make you choke harder than anything in the game. There are much better games you can get for that amount of money, so unless you need it for your collection (or have a hard time discussing the ins and outs of asthma with your child), please avoid this foul game like a delicate set of lungs to city smog, OK?
Until then, be safe, be healthy, stay away from futuristic dino city dust and, of course, game on!