: Panic! (Switch, in Japan)
: Data East
: Sega CD
Panic! is a game that very nearly defies description. The basic plot (or what passes for it) is thus:
At some indiscriminate time in the future, a computer virus infects the world's computers, causing every push-button device in the world to go haywire in strange and surreal ways. As the mayhem escalates, a young boy named Slap is chosen (apparently at random) to use a special program to make his way to the World Central Network building, where he must access the main computer and delete the virus. Along for the ride is his lazy dog, Stick (Slap and Stick, slapstick, get it? TWAJS!).
While the story isn't that original (young boy must travel on a strange and dangerous quest to save the world), the gameplay is rather unique. Technically, Panic! is only a game in the loosest sense of the word, as the gameplay soley involves pushing buttons on various devices (ranging from vending machines to vehicles to household appliances, and even a monolith right out of 2001: A Space Odyssey). Pushing a button will either send you to another level, trigger a booby trap that will demolish some random famous (or not-so-famous) world monument, or (more commonly) make something strange happen. Strange events include malfunctions, falling objects (frequently Moai heads), or the showing of Monty Python-esque animation scenes. Cameo apperances are sometimes made by one of an Angel and Devil duo, who will encourage or taunt you respectively. Bathroom humor, sexual innuendoes, and occasional nudity pop up with suprising frequency, but don't dominate the gags in the game.
Frankly, when I first got this game, I had a lot of fun with it. The crazy sight gags and cutscenes amused me, even though I had no idea at the time what some of the jokes meant. Of course, the "gameplay" gets a bit repetitive after a while, but since you can save anywhere, at any time during the game, I found myself taking a break from playing, then coming back after a while. I managed to beat the game several times, but I didn't have the free time to try and find everything. Panic! is strangely addictive, as cliche as that sounds. Basically, you should only play this game if you're a fan of quirky Japanese games that make you wonder if what they say is true.