First Exclusive Preview – Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike And The Quest For Stale Gum


1985 was full of cultural highlights: the Queen’s legendary Live Aid performance, Coca-Cola’s infamous New Coke release, the first ever WrestleMania, and much more. Possibly the most important moment for our readers Game informant was the launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

The NES pulled the burgeoning industry out of the “collapse of video games” and introduced countless iconic characters and franchises. Looks like every winning property received a game at the time. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Top Gun, DuckTales, Dungeons & Dragons, American Gladiators: the list goes on and on. However, an iconic franchise has never transformed into a NES game in an amazing way.

Garbage Pail Kids, also released in 1985, was a series of trading cards that mixed the cuteness of the famous Cabbage Patch Kids dolls with raw, funny, and engaging. These images show children chatting, losing limbs and being struck by lightning, to name a few. Word of mouth spread on playgrounds like wildfire, and teachers and parents were quick to ban and condemn them. Naturally, this has made GPK extremely popular.

These cards have been so successful that the Topps creator has produced 15 series over a three-year period. They license the GPK for toys, school notebooks and briefcases, inflatable punching bags, you can name it. This kind of obvious success often leads to an NES game as the logical next step, but a number of factors will get in the way.

A globally replayed live-action film has disappointed the kids allowed to see it. A threatened boycott prompted CBS to cancel a GPK Saturday morning cartoon that the studio had fully produced. Most disastrously, Topps had to make a deal with the makers of Cabbage Patch Kids for millions of dollars plus royalties and change the design of GPK to be more like CPK’s doll. Sales dwindled, and GPK officially died in late 1988.

After a long hiatus, Topps launched the GPK “All New Series” in 2003 (the new GPK series continues to this day) in the era of the PlayStation 2. The opportunity to create a GPK game. on the classic NES console shared its cultural golden age that seemed to take forever.

Playable characters

Lift the lid


Tim Hartman and Greg Caldwell have been best friends since third grade. They were connected through a shared love of NES games, Garbage Pail Kids, and many other ’80s cultural backgrounds. In their adult lives, they find themselves longing for an era of games that was no longer created.

They found a homebrew community where people were creating new NES games with the same style and limitations of the original hardware. It wasn’t long before they wanted to come in. But they have to do it right.

“For us, cartridges come first,” says Caldwell. “This is where we started in game development. We had never made a game before we made an NES game. That has always been paramount to us.”

The friends formed a small team called Retrotainment to create Haunted: Halloween ’85, a spooky action platformer, and worked with Infinite NES Lives to produce the case, board, box, and guidebook. use a custom NES. The 2015 release was followed the following year by Haunted: Halloween ’86. (Both games were later released digitally to reach a wider audience.)

This custom piece was created exclusively for Game Informer by renowned Garbage Pail Kids artist Joe Simko. He also created the official box art

While showing classic convention games, they caught the attention of iam8bit collectible art, music and game makers. Retro Entertainment and Infinite NES Lives will continue to produce several NES, Super Nintendo, and Sega Genesis cart re-releases for iam8bit, including classics like Street Fighter II, Mega Man 2, and Disney’s Aladdin.

As they were working on all these retro releases, they started thinking about all their childhood favorites that never got the NES treatment. Topping the list is Garbage Pail Kids. “We’re trying to fix it,” Hartman said. “It’s the game [GPK has] long deserved. “

Hartman tried to work his way through contacts at Topps licensing and eventually convinced the executives to give them a chance. Retro Entertainment has brought this up with partner iam8bit, who recently announced that they will be participating in game publishing. The company immediately stepped in.

Jon Gibson, co-owner of iam8bit said: “When Garbage Pail Kids started the conversation, we all felt great. “[It was like] yeah, why not have a game? “

Adam F. Goldberg

Trash Game


Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and Quest for Stale Gum begins directly after the events of GPK Mad Mike: Fury Load, a series of short films written by Adam F. Goldberg (see bar above) set in a post-apocalyptic world. The main character has saved a day, and now all he wants is his favorite old gum. Unfortunately, the factory run by Brainy Janie only produces fresh gum, so he’ll have to travel through time and space with his three friends on a high-tech toilet to collect materials to make it stale.

Mad Mike and his friends all have different abilities (see sidebar above) and players can hot-swap between them to take advantage of their skills. The game’s six different levels feature Stone Age adventures, 80’s Tokyo, future Mars colony, etc and can be completed in any order.

Fill the TRASH meter at the top left of the screen to activate the temporary invincibility feature

Every enemy, boss and NPC in the game is based on a real GPK card, all of which you can view in the bounty library in high resolution. Collecting and trading cards is an important component, as some have powers like stunning enemies or allowing temporary flight. If you follow all 39 you will get a special surprise.

The minigame consists of fishing for items from the potty and flying around dangerous obstacles as Buggy Betty. GPK’s rude, careless attitude runs through every element of the game.

Multiple difficulty options help players get through the “hard NES” game, and classic collection masters Digital Eclipse are available to provide signature rewind, save states, views, effects video filters, bonus gallery content, and more in digital download versions of the game.

It’s clear that Retrotainment is pouring decades of pent-up ideas for a GPK NES game into this project, and hopefully old fans as well as new players will find something to love.

“There are so many characters, so many opportunities for that brand to shine,” said Tim Hartman. “We are honored to be a part of it and the history of Garbage Pail Kids.”

Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and the Quest for Stale Gum is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on October 25. The title will also (finally) come to the NES via a cartridge release especially in the first quarter of 2023 .

Documentary movie trailer

This article originally appeared in No. 350 by Game Informer.


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