Naked girls. Video games. Two great things that go great together, right?
Unfortunately there are far too many things in life that sound so can't-miss that actually work better in theory than in practice. Miss World '96 Nude is one of those things.
Miss World '96 Nude is an arcade game released by Comad in 1996. It is an unapologetic rip-off of the arcade classic Qix, in which the player draws boxes to clear segments of the board. But whereas success in this venture in Qix revealed only a rather untitillating monochromatic background, Miss World '96 Nude rewards players with pictures of beautiful scantily clad women for their efforts. Awesome, right? Well it is...at first. The board starts out with a shaded silhouette of a woman, which the player can uncover using a happy little character resembling Pac-Man (if Pac-Man's trademark Power Pellets were replaced with Viagra and crack) to chew out chunks of the board, all while avoiding a giant cockblocking tarantula (or, depending on the board, a cockblocking green alien). Simple and addictive fun, much like its predecessor Qix.
So what's the problem? We get to "meet hot beautiful girl" just as promised on the grammatically-challenged intro screen. That is, most of the women look alright, even if some of them possibly weren't always women. The sound effects are only mildly annoying, with the main gameplay musical theme consisting of an awkwardly clipped looping bass riff occasionally punctuated by cheesy voice samples of a woman breathily entreating the player to "keep it up" as more of the picture is revealed. The moans and groans are probably meant to sound orgasmic and seductive, but they come off less "post-coital euphoria" and more "aftermath of sketchy burrito platter." Some of the voices, particularly the one that chirps "Alright!" when the game starts, are a little too young-sounding for comfort. But this is an arcade game from 1996, and realistic voice acting of any kind in video games was still pretty impressive at the time, no matter how poorly executed. None of these things are so insufferable as to make the game unplayable, at least.
So seriously then, what the hell is the problem, you ask? It's a video game, with girls! Hot beautiful girl(s)! Hot nude naked ladies what ain't got no clothes on! Unfortunately, such fervor will not serve you well while playing Miss World '96 Nude. The game has a rather unorthodox way of punishing randy enthusiasm, and in doing so turns into quite the allegory for the contemporary dating world. In order to reveal the entire picture the player must uncover at least 80% of it. Not terribly difficult in and of itself. However, much like a real girl if you come on too strong too fast, the women of Miss World '96 Nude don't care much for an overzealous hand racing to unveil their naughty bits. Uncovering large portions of the picture at once causes a gauge at the top of the screen to drop. It's possible this is analogous to what happens to the player's erection at what happens next. When the gauge gets low enough, a little girl's head pops up, shouts "TURNING!" and the picture transforms into one of two scenes of blood-chilling horror while a jarring techno beat blares. If a snarling red demon with little parasitic heads sprouting from his face doesn't call for a change of underwear (and not for the reason most were probably expecting from a game such as this, surely) there's always the duo of pale-faced, bloody-mouthed corpses with spikes protruding from their putrefying flesh. Every man dreams of a threesome, no? And this vision of boner-killing hell will remain until the gauge at the top rises out of the red zone, which is best achieved, once again, by conservative picture-munching. There's just no pleasing some broads.
And once again we are faced with the dating metaphor. Something this unsettling and bizarre has to have some deep underlying meaning. The parasitic demon head may be symbolic of the shrieking harridan that even the most gorgeous woman becomes during that time of the month (or when some creep starts fervently gunning to get her naked), while the Pinhead-esque corpses represent how women think they look in the morning. Conversely, the corpses could represent the oversexed man who unwisely attempts to bed the aforementioned premenstrual she-demon and meets his untimely end at the business end of an industrial-strength nail gun. But I'm probably grasping at straws here.
So there we have it. Miss World '96 Nude is a lot of things. It is a mildly entertaining video game, albeit because it apes a fun, if considerably less racy, coin-op puzzle classic. It is reasonably erotic, assuming you're into plastic women who can contort their bodies into positions that would make Gumby scream while giving the camera a gynecologist's-eye view of their holiest-of-holies. It is at once amusing and disturbing in its weirdness. And it would make a perfect libido-withering addition to a sex addiction rehab program, though I suppose the recovering necrophiliacs are still on their own.
See a clip the sexy action here, if you are so inclined.
Author's note: A few of the articles I consulted prior to this writing indicate that the Miss World Organization was not at all amused to have their name attached, presumably without permission, to this game. Surely they jest.