Just A Minute, Man: Watchmen Coin-Op

By Alec Meer on February 12th, 2009 at 10:47 am.

The general consensus seems to be that the upcoming Watchmen game is an affront to God’s own eyes, but someone in the comicky-book movie adaptation’s marketing department apparently has a slightly better understanding of the source material. There’s now an browser-based, 8-bit-esque coin-op arcade machine starring the Minutemen, the Silver Age team who preceded Rorschach, Ozymandias et al, over yonder.

It’s straight Streets of Rage stuff, naive and simple in a very deliberate way – a product of the Watchmen world’s public perception of the Minutemen and their colourful derring-do, rather than the darker, fetishistic reality of these early adventurers. While the main Watchmen game seems to be shooting for dark and super-serious, despite also being about kicking droves of gangsters in the face, this is silly and chintzy – exactly what you’d expect of a mass-made Veidt Industries product, which this is of course branded as. It’s a bit nob and it’s ridiculously easy, but it’s an oddly charming artefact from a make-believe world.

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50 Comments »

  1. danielcardigan says:

    Does this have a Custer’s Revenge-esque ending too?

  2. Bobsy says:

    (c)1977? Man! I wish.

    Also: Watchmen not a supergroup name! Just not!

  3. Ian says:

    I only got 32161. :(

  4. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Straight Streets of Rage stuff, yes… To the point where Silk Spectre, aside a little editing, seems like a sprite rip from Blaze.

  5. Tei says:

    I don’t get the popularity with Rorschach. Hes not a superhero (like the comedian, and dr.manhatan), he as not powers or amazing tecnical skills. He has this piece of experimental mask, and a resort to clean the world evem If pointless. Hes not the most intelligent man, like Ozymandias. Rorschach is just a poor bastard, a crazy sad stupid guy, … with the mask he don’t look stupid, or crazy or sad, but he still his… behind that mask, he is suppose to be cryiing a litte.
    Nite Owl or the Silk woman is your standard batman/superwoman hero, forget Rorschach, he is just a sad trashman (not a watchmen) in a world where the streets will never be clean.

  6. monchberter says:

    @ Tei

    Point is, none of them are hero’s in any complete sense. Watchmen is about human frailty and incompleteness.

  7. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    @Tei:

    That’s kind of the point. Rorscharch was analogous to Batman and The Question; not a super-powered hero, more like a vigilante dispensing his kind of justice and being more in touch with the fringes of society. While Manhattan and, in a way Superman, were dealing with cosmic entities; Ror/Bats/Que were going face to face with street thugs, gangsters, racking up criminal networks, doing their own versions of THAT BIT WITH THE PENCIL from The Dark Knight on the “cowardly, supersticious lot” on the streets and backalleys of crime-ridden cities.

  8. IdleHands says:

    @ Tei

    Um I think everything you mentioned is kinda why he is popular (well at least for me). He’s not bestowed with any inherent abilities or gifts, he’s just a normal (albeit unhinged) man. He decided to live and die according to his own personal sense of justice, to become a monster to fight societies monsters (thus the Nietzsche quote used for him).

    Plus everyone loves a good ole anti-hero.

  9. R. says:

    Rorschach’s (somewhat undeserving) popularity is simply because he’s an uncompromising bad melonfarmer. Even after the devastating reveal that this eerie, unstoppable scourge of the underworld is a pathetic ginger shortarse only manages to make him appear all the greater when he’s locked up and crushes anyone who tries to mess with him (“I’m not locked up in here with you, you’re all locked up in here with ME”).

    He’s a sad, little, mysoginistic, hypocritical psychopath…so naturally he’s the most popular character of the lot. It’s just the way the world is.

  10. Wurzel says:

    Is it bad that the most prominent thing about that game for me was how they managed to misspell Moloch is the mission briefing but spell it fine in the in-game art?

    Also, the supergroup is not called ‘Watchmen’! Especially as I’m pretty sure they never actually formed a supergroup (they tried, but the Comedian shot it down by pointing out how stupid it was in the face of nuclear war).

  11. skizelo says:

    I always thought Rorschach was Mr. A as written by someone who does not agree with Mr. A.
    Anyway, I’m glad something fun will come out of this film. I mean, apart from the Rorschach pennant. That’s hilarious.

  12. AndrewC says:

    Well, you can see her knickers when she gets punched and that’s what matters.

  13. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Scoring 70k lets you play a rape minigame with The Comedian and Silk Spectre. Watch out for Rolf’s piledriver!

  14. Gap Gen says:

    Yes, most of Watchmen is a deconstructionist view of superheroes. The only true superhero is largely disinterested in the squabbling of mere mortals, while the rest are abusive sociopaths, neurotic self-conscious folk, right-wing reactionaries, etc.

    I dislike superhero stories for the reason that they’re mostly about avoiding real solutions to problems.

  15. phuzz says:

    I’m quite looking forward to the film. Does this mean there’s something wrong with me?

  16. James Tao says:

    I am too, phuzz. Perhaps we could start a self-help group or something?

  17. Merus says:

    No-one addressed this, so I will: 1977 is a fair place to put the copyright for the game, because part of the backstory for Watchmen is that Dr. Manhattan has, by virtue of his powers, accelerated scientific development considerably.

  18. Andrew F says:

    Ozymandias and Nite-Owl also being Batman analogs. They don’t need more than one superman or indeed super power – one is enough to completely upset the applecart :)

  19. Bobsy says:

    @merus: Oh, I got the 1977 reference, but it’s still clearly a 90s game. Unless Dr Manhattan spends his free time working in the early games industry. WHICH HE MIGHT.

  20. Tei says:

    Hello Google Visitor!,
    If you like this thread, please visit that other (hilarious) one:
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/12/16/oh-christ-first-watchmen-footage/

  21. Zeh says:

    Uh? http://www.minutemenarcade.com is redirecting me to the official Watchmen movie website. What’s up?

  22. Zeh says:

    Ok, this works with no redirection:
    http://www.minutemenarcade.com/uk/

  23. Goody Two Shoes says:

    I would say the game looks much more like a 16-bit scroller, as opposed to a 8-bit scroller. (SNES vs. NES)

    :)

  24. Irish Al says:

    I think the film has the potential to be fantastic. What is the fucking point of making a game from it though.

  25. Dracko says:

    SPOILERS: Just kick everything.

  26. Kieron Gillen says:

    skizelo: Not Mr A, but the original Question (i.e. Another Dikto character with similar* objectivist bent). All of Watchmen is based on Charleston Comics characters, with the idea being it was going to be a Marvelman-esque reinvention of old characters. DC decided they wanted to work the characters – The Question, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, etc – into their main universe, and so Moore/Gibbons created new analogues for them all.

    Er… sorry if you already know this.

    KG

    *Though not as extreme.

  27. Markoff Chaney says:

    Fun little diversion, even if I’m 387th in the world. Totally 16 bit, too. I was disappointed the trash cans didn’t drop food but refilling health AND lives between stages mitigated tat dynamic. The Molloch spelling was hilarious, especially with the correctly spelled artwork (obviously requiring more work than just typing in the dialogue) behind in the same frame. Nicely Done.

    Rorschach has such an appeal, to me, due to his willingness to accept conspiracy theories (even if they are completely wrong) and his inability to compromise, even if the face of Armageddon. We need more psychotic, psychopathic loners following their own moral compass more in this world. Also, I always really hoped Wally published that journal. The truth should always be told. Damned be the Greater Good (The Greater Good).

    I’ve enjoyed this Graphic novel for over 15 years and, despite my fear it would never be properly adapted (further compounded by the apparent merchandising tie-in machine) I feel cautiously optimistic about this film adaptation. I’m curious as to the modified ending however. I’m wondering if it will pull it off with the same feeling of otherness and world banding together, but I fear I know who the bad guy is made out to be…

  28. Markoff Chaney says:

    tat = that. I need to log in the forums to repair my constant misspeelings.

  29. skizelo says:

    People had already namechecked The Question and I just wanted to show off that I’ve heard of Mr. A…
    It pleases me to know we live in a world with Dikto in it.

  30. Kieron Gillen says:

    I was talking comics with a creator mate of mine – 2000AD’s Al Ewing. Dikto’s Mr A stuff turned up. Al’s line:

    “People say that a picture is worth a thousand words. With dikto, you get the picture AND the thousand words”.

    Which I thought awesome. Have your cake and eat it!

    KG

  31. Quirk says:

    @R:
    I’d argue it goes deeper than that.

    Rorschach is trying to be something he can never achieve. Coming from a messed-up childhood to an anti-social adulthood, filled with misogyny and petty hatreds, he is so moved by the rape and murder of Kitty Genovese and the cold lack of reaction on the part of the city that heard her screams that, “ashamed for humanity”, he goes home and makes that mask.

    Rorschach is a misogynist, but his violence is not directed against women. Rorschach is dangerously right-wing, but his violence is not directed against liberals. Rorschach fights instead for an ideal he is poorly equipped to express, for a just and caring society he can never be part of, a society he doesn’t even like. Such are his limits that he can only see that struggle in terms of black and white, good guys and bad guys. His triumph is that, shaped by nurture to be a monster, he has turned himself into a monster that preys on other monsters. He pursues a nebulous justice which he is unwilling to compromise; perhaps cannot compromise, lest he slide down to take his place among those he brings havoc to. With that end in mind, he does not revel in the violence he causes as The Comedian does, but proceeds with the workmanlike attitude of an executioner.

    He is nearly sympathetic; nearly a tragic hero. His story is the most compelling thread of the book. For this reason, as much as his distinctive garb and unusual pattern of speech, he remains the most iconic of the Watchmen.

  32. ToadSmokingDuckMonkey says:

    Maybe I played too many beat ‘em ups as a youth, but this was EASY. Just spam the jumpkick by holding space+v when enemies confront you, all the way until Moloch; then jump the daggers and get next to him before repeating.

    I think I took two hits doing this with Ms. Silk Spectre.

    Also, you’d think they’d have a large enough budget for an experience maybe twice as long as it was, and with at least two enemy types (given the fact that they already had two schmuck sprites); though I do have to give them props for setting the experience in situ.

  33. Whiskey Jak says:

    Thanks Zeh for giving the right link. This thing was driving me mad…

  34. Gorgeras says:

    It’s weird but I had a distinct familiarity when reading Watchmen(without paying for it) with Rorschach; the feeling that I knew him from somewhere.

    Then I remembered Alf Garnett in Till Death Do We Part. The two men are very different and very much alike. I remember watching the TDDWP film and the whole thing is set up to make Garnett the least sympathetic man in the world: everyone hates him and he doesn’t realise it, he’s a coward and a bore, a hypocrite and bully when he can get away with it. Then near the end, Harold Wilson is elected and Garnett’s house is made the subject of a compulsary purchase order. He bought the house from the council at a very expensive price and is forced to sell it at a ridiculously cheap one in exchange for one of those ugly council flats which could be said to have discouraged the community spirit the Coronation St-style houses had. He is forced out of the house by workmen beginning to knock it down while he is still inside. Everything about the guy I thought was bang out of order suddenly didn’t matter; suddenly I could see HIS point of view completely.

    Was this caused by Garnett’s over-confidence in the free-market and principle of individual responsibility and independence? He wouldn’t have lost so much money if he hadn’t invested in his home and instead relied on his local Council. Or was it Wilson’s policies of socialised urban-regeneration making decisions about peoples lives. The impression I got was that Alf was completely justified in *everything* he said and did simply because he took a painful direct hit as a consequence of everything he opposed being put into effect.

    Watchmen and Till Death Do We Apart managed to do what the Daily Mail tries to do everyday: give the impression that we are constantly being wronged by an unspecified(usually generalised as ‘liberal’) elite that pretends to care about our interests whilst working against them.

    Rorscharch is my favourite because he destroys every pre-conception about right-wing ideology. He’s the embodiment of what right-wing voices cry for, but blame everyone else for it when they actually get it. A right-winger that doesn’t want to be rich or politically powerful, Roscharch is a perfect Facist. In Serenity, agent hunting the crew makes it clear that whilst he believes in ‘the perfect world’, he knows he doesn’t belong there and he is a monster that does monstrous things. Rorscharch isn’t smart enough to describe his sentiment in the same terms but it seems to be what he thinks. Definately my favourite Facist.

  35. Chis says:

    If RPS are publishing this then I hope they take their time to publish an article about Pioneer… Star Control 2 fans unite!

  36. IdleHands says:

    @ Phuzz & Tao

    Don’t worry your silly optimism will be adequately crushed by the mediocre gears of hollywood.

    Also I would join that self-help group, I know Hollywood has done bad by me before but he said he’d change, for real this time.

  37. Samuel Bass says:

    Any game where you repeatedly kick people in the crotch as the original Night Owl is fine by me

  38. TwistyMcNoggins says:

    Blimey, I think this is the first internet game i’ve ever played where I managed to come in the top 100 on my first go.

  39. Seth says:

    Kieron: I’m sure it’s just a typo, but the original characters were published by Charlton Comics. I like to think that Charleston Comics publish Phonogram in a parallel universe.

  40. Benjamin_Barker says:

    Only if you can play as Nixon. Maybe he’s unlockable?

  41. Pantsman says:

    I think the main reason Rorschach is so beloved is just that on the surface he’s a laconic badass with some particularly good one-liners. Of course, he’s not really like that under the surface since he’s a real human being. He’s really an intelligent but deeply disturbed street person who has a serious disconnected with reality. He’s simultaneousl fearsome and pitiful, sympathetic and scary.

  42. Pantsman says:

    Bloody hell, “disconnect” and “simultaneously”.

  43. Zeh says:

    @Wurzel: The first group had a name, it was “Minutemen” (hence the beat’em up name). The meeting the comedian crashed was the meeting that was supposed to be about the second group, called “Crimebusters”, that was never actually formed. “Watchmen” was the generic given to the hooded vigilantes by the general public.

  44. Dracko says:

    Rorschach’s moves are group-centered, but his finishing move – “Rorschach’s rage” – is a back-breaker directed toward a single opponent. In addition to combat, Rorschach has the ability to pick locks, which the player will execute in optional puzzle games.

  45. Diziet says:

    Needs more Renegade.

  46. Cedge says:

    Wow. This marketing for this film is just brilliant.

  47. Foca Mais says:

    It´s easier if you use the trash and other objects between you and the ennemies. They won´t flank the objects and you can just reach them with your kicks.

  48. mashakos says:

    @Alec: that’s a 16bit-esque coin-op arcade machine you n00b!

  49. Anthony Damiani says:

    “Only if you can play as Nixon. Maybe he’s unlockable?”

    Maybe he could have ice powers, so he could call himself Frost-Nixon?

  50. qrrb says:

    This game looks like a reskinning of the Ivan Drago flash game. http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/355796