Beaming directly from Kenny’s basement and straight onto your NES, comes MTV’s Remote Control, the once in a lifetime opportunity to be a contestant on MTV’s hit game show from the comfort of your own living room. The premise of the game is simple: three contestants attempt to answer movie, TV, and music questions in a competition to earn the most points. The winner is the champion of MTV’s Remote Control! The real question is whether or not that’s a good thing.
The signature aspects of the TV show are all present, right down to the theme music and some of host’s banter between category selections. The theme music at the game’s opening is quite catchy with a funky feel. It does manage to capture the MTV aesthetic so that’s a plus. Sadly, it’s the only music that plays through much of the round. You’ll no doubt be sick of it before the end of your first play.
The game centers on three contestants—each represented by one of the game’s generic avatar characters—set up in the MTV’s Remote Control studio. The game play shifts between the screen showing the contestants and their scores, the screen showing the questions themselves and a close-up of the host (along with his banal banter and the iconic MTV’s Remote Control television set).
Graphically, the characters look good and the sets pay a decent Nintendo-style homage to the real game show’s sets (in this reviewer’s opinion, the NES game’s set is brighter and easier on the eyes than that of the television program). So, props to the graphics department!
The action (as it were) is centered around a television with eight stations. Each station has a variety of pop culture-related questions ranging from classic TV shows like Bewitched to more modern programs like Perfect Strangers and beyond to Saturday Night Live. Each category contains three questions. Some of them require crafty answers and any pop culture fan will have a blast with this game. When players answer correctly, the host usually makes some snide or tongue-in-cheek comments, which are funny most of the time. It certainly captures the MTV spirit the world has come to know and love, and honestly when is the last time a video game made you laugh?
Actual gameplay requires the player to select a channel. Then the question text appears on screen. Players then hit A to ring in, use the cursor to select one of three possible answers then hit B to lock in the answer. Players have five seconds to make their selection. The game continues in this manner until the round ends. The control pad also selects contestants, channels, and answers. Select allows you to enter your name on the player selection screen, while start pauses the game. It’s straightforward, but it does take some time to get used to using the B button to confirm a selection rather than the A button.
Round one plays out over a certain amount of time, followed by the “Snack Break” and a “Commercial Break” — a short scene of snacks falling on contestants and a glimpse of the MTV logo respectively. Round two is similar, except at one point the worst performing player is eliminated via a bolt of lightning and the “Lightning Round” begins. This is a series of fast questions and a pre-selected series of answers where the player must rapidly select as many correct answers as possible faster than player two (or the computer). The winner is the champion of MTV’s Remote Control! Congratulations? There is no real ending, but the player’s avatar is placed in the MTV logo and hailed as the champion. You’re off the air, buddy.
The rounds seem as if they take longer than they really should, but there is a decent variety of questions and quick-thinking fun to bring trivia or pop culture fans back to the game often. There are better game show-based NES titles out there, but MTV’s Remote Control is certainly a novelty among the genre…just not in a good way.
MTV's Remote Control Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 5/105/10
- Gameplay - 6/106/10
- Lasting Appeal - 4/104/10
Final Thoughts: BAD
MTV’s Remote Control covers a niche otherwise untouched on the NES and is worth playing at least once for fans of the TV show. Everyone else can feel free to skip this one.
Based in Colorado, David Buck is an author, musician, and media specialist. In his spare time, he composes music, writes science fiction, and builds scale models, mostly starships and movie cars.