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// article by Jeff

OH, SO YOU'RE BACK AGAIN. WE THOUGHT YOU'D BE ENJOYING YOUR TOASTY SUMMER WEATHER.

Well, it IS rather warm outside today, but spending time in front of an equally warm console is all part and parcel of working in this sweatshop we call GameCola.

YES, GAMECOLA CERTAINLY IS A SWEATSHOP-STYLE FACTORY. YOU SHOULD SEE WHAT THEY PAY ME.

They pay me even less. But I'm not here to complain about the Paul Franzens of the world. No! I'm here to do my job, and that's to report on obscure video games! And I do have something in store this month, as I should -- and alas! It is not terrible!

DID YOU SAY "NOT TERRIBLE"? COLOUR ME FLABBERGASTED. WHAT DID YOU FIND?

There's this game called "Yume Penguin Monogatari" for the ol' Famicom. Prepared by the almighty Konami, it never made it overseas, and it didn't star any whip-wielding characters. Instead, it stars some of their lesser-known mascots: a penguin named Penta. Perhaps you've seen this guy in Antarctic Adventure or the beloved Parodius series. He's never been much of a major player in the video game circuit, considering he has no discernible personality. But don't let that fool you: he's all man.

PENGUIN LOVE IS AWESOME, BUT WHAT'S GOING ON? AM I GOING TO SLIDE AROUND AND EAT FISH OR SOMETHING?

There's not going to be much eating going on here, my Caps-Lock obsessive associate. In fact, this game puts a negative spin on obesity (not to say that obesity is good, though it's much fun if you have a pointed stick)! You see, the main character (Penta) has become surprisingly obese -- likely from not being inserted into many quality Konami products as a featured player -- and, as a result, is dumped by his girlfriend. Hmmm... this game seems to also support the idea that vanity is fair. It's not. It's a serious problem. Don't trust her.

ARE YOU CALLING ME FAT?

What? No. Anyway, Penta's new goal is to shed all that excess blubber by downing delicious diet shakes and basically exercising by running and jumping over other living creatures. But while Penta has mentally prepared such a strict regimen, out pops the nasty Ginji, who immediately sweeps his ex off her flippers and into his arms. He sends out all these enemies to take down the pudgy penguin pup, and they'll do it if Penta doesn't shape up! With six levels in all, Penta has a weight loss goal that he must reach by the end of a stage in order to progress to the next. It's too bad this doesn't exist in real life. For example, if you aren't XX lbs. by the end of Grade 8, you don't get to go to high school. If you're not XXX lbs. by the time you propose to your girlfriend to get married, she will automatically reject you, regardless of whether she likes you or not. It's a cruel system, but it keeps manboobs in check.

UHHH... I HAVE NO COMMENT.

As well, you should not. So here's how the platformer works. You start out as Penta the fat penguin, and along the way are healthy beverages to consume. As you down more of these, you become thinner and are in a better position to whack your enemies with more than just a beer belly. But watch out: if you are damaged, Penta regains some of his lost weight.

WHY?

Why? Uh... because... uh... if you touch things, you... gain the weight of those items through kinetic weight gain?

YOU MADE THAT UP.

Of course I did! This whole game doesn't make any sense, so don't expect any gameplay aspects not to follow suit. And if you think all this is insane, consider this: in the game's ending, you discover that Penta's girlfriend is actually a closet obese girl. Now that's odd. Now I know what you're going to ask next. "Is this game worth scouring the Earth for?" Well, if you have a Famicom, I'll say yes! This is indeed one of the lesser-known but viable Konami releases that was a tad too quirky for the eyes of American children. Snatch it up if you find it at a yard sale in Kyoto.


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