Worlds of Power #1: Blaster Master

I feel like video games were a more prevalent pop culture phenomenon in the late 1980s and the early 1990s than they are today.  While more people are playing video games today than did when I was a kid, it truly doesn’t seem as pervasive  as it once was.  Ask anyone who was a kid when the NES was the top dog on the market, and they’ll remember more than just the games.  They’ll remember television shows, cereals, movies, bedsheets, lunchboxes, and in an ill-advised attempt by the nation’s educators and/or parents, books.  That’s right, kid’s books based on Nintendo games.

The first of these books, dubbed “Worlds of Power” by some assuredly slick-haired douchebag, was Blaster Master, a book “created” by F.X. Nine.  As to the difference between authoring a book and creating it, your guess is as good as mine.

The back of this masterpiece of American literature contains the following text:

Follow Jason into a mysterious underground cavern full of strange alien beings.  Soon he’s locked in battle with a gang of radioactive mutants — fighting to save the earth from destruction!

Now, I don’t know about you, but for the seven-year-old version of me, that sounds fucking awesome.  Twenty years later, it seems pretty goddamn stupid.

The limitations for writing a book based on Blaster Master are pretty obvious.  For starters, and this has been discussed extensively in the past, the “story” behind Blaster Master is absolutely fucking ridiculous.  This is as much story as Sunsoft elected to provide us with in 1988:

So let’s see if we’ve got this: This kid’s pet frog escapes, wanders off behind the house, jumps on an apparently leaky container of radioactive waste, grows 500%, and jumps down some enormously deep hole.  Then the kid jumps down after the frog (honestly, who cares this much about a frog), inexplicably suffers no injuries, and finds some sort of space-tank with an accompanying space suit at the bottom.  Then he starts driving around whatever-the-fuck and blows up robots and shit.  I swear, these guys weren’t even trying back then.

So, with this source material, F.X. Nine decides to “create” a book.  He names the heretofore unnamed hero “Jason Frudnick,” which is about as awful a name as I can imagine.  He keeps the flawless back story of the frog turning itself into a mutant with some carelessly discarded toxic waste, and also keeps the nonsense about the kid diving into a dark pit after his frog.  He makes the interesting choice to add a human-looking alien chick for the hero to not bone, and concludes that the disappearing frog is part of some sort of alien monster plot to kidnap random disgusting pets and turn them into mutants. I mean, I get that this is for kids, but I don’t remember ever being dumb enough to accept this nonsense.

The one thing that really struck me is that the Creator of the book actually breaks it up into “areas” like in the game, but gets bored halfway through and starts skipping areas.  It’s probably all for the best, since I was long-since bored by that point.

Blaster Master is, idiotic story aside, a totally awesome game.  In fact, while it isn’t remembered as an NES classic along the lines of Super Mario Brothers or The Legend of Zelda, it was a very popular game at the time, and probably suffered in the long-term from not being followed by quality sequels.  I’m not really sure what F.X. Nine’s goal was, but he turned a really fun and exciting game into a terrible and boring book.

Score 0.0/5

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