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Freeze Frame
Friends Don't Let Bears Skateboard
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on March 23, 2007   |   Episode 66 (Show Archive)  

   

I didn't know that Audrey II from Little Shop of Horros was into bear meat!
A few days ago I had the good sense to rip the Yo Bro cover art a brand new one (see: The Cover Critic Misses the Point). I simply couldn't believe how insanely stupid this artwork was and needed to get on my bully pulpit and tell the whole world about it. But what I didn't realize is how significant that box art is, I spent the next week constantly thinking about Yo Bro and it's terrible, terrible cover. There was just something about it that I couldn't get out of my head; it was just the most ridiculous thing I have seen in quite some time.

And then I realized that it's not the cover art that stuck in my head, it's the fact that there are two games with practically the exact same box art. I had spent seven days awestruck at the idea that more than one artist came up with the concept

Believe it or not, I'm going to go an entire article without making fun of The No Gang!
of a stupid looking bear on a skateboard. It would be one thing if it was just the TurboGrafx-16 game Yo Bro that decided to create the world's lamest cover, but believe it or not they weren't alone. Two years after NEC unleashed this offensively awful piece of bear waste, American Game Cartridge had exactly the same idea for their game Wally Bear and the NO! Gang.

This would be perfectly understandable if we were talking about Grand Theft Auto III, Zelda or any of the other memorable video game covers, but this is about a bear on a skateboard - about the furthest thing possible to iconic cover art. What kind of drugs were circulating in the early 1990s? Because if this is the result of getting high in the bathroom before a deadline, then maybe Nancy Reagan was right about just saying "No".

It's not that these two covers are similar; it's that they feature nearly identical themes. The obvious parallel is that both covers feature a bear suspended in mid-air on a skateboard, but if you look closer

When you're a cartoon character you have to make a choice: Either a shirt or pants!
you'll see that Yo Bro and Wally Bear feature more than just one stupid connection. For example in both covers the bears are wearing hats and narrowly missing some sort of animal creature. And then there's the fact that in both covers the bear appears to be

Thankfully nobody decided to copy Amplitude's terrible cover art!
attacking (be it with a bomb or a sling shot). Obviously there are some differences with these two covers, but when the beat is the same it hardly matters if you add a keyboard.

Look I won't kid you, I'm troubled any time I see an animal decked out in a full set of clothing, even when they aren't spending their time trying to ollie over some poor helpless creature. I come from the old school, either the cartoon character has a pair of pants or a shirt on ... you just can't have both. Look at Mickey Mouse, he only wore shorts, he wanted people to see his chest. And then there was Donald Duck, that fowl fellow never once wore pants. The standard has clearly been set, so excuse me if I'm just a little disturbed to see a couple of bears with shirts, pants, hats, socks, and

The Power of Christ Compels You!
even shoes. Next you'll be telling me that they are wearing thongs under those stylish duds, and as far as I'm concerned that's enough to make me never want to hang out with another bear for as long as I live.

You know what; let's not limit it only to fully clothed bears, I'm going to put my foot down and say that all stupid looking cartoon characters should avoid appearing on a video game cover riding a skateboard. That goes for the Disney characters, Solid Snake, and that

Hopefully there's video of EA's meeting when they came up with the creative name Skate!
Christian kid from Sunday Funday. Now is the time to get off the deck and let the real skaters take over. By real skater, I of course mean Jason Lee, Bam Margera and Heath Ledger.

In fact, maybe we should just have a break from skateboarding all together. We've had eight years in a row where Activision has released a new Tony Hawk game, and even if Neversoft is too busy coding Guitar Hero III this year, we're still going to have to put up with Electronic Art's next-gen entry, simply called Skate. Enough is enough, the Tony Hawk series is just not what it used

Maybe Stephen Colbert has been right all this time about bears!
to be and nobody likes the cheap rip-offs, give skateboarding a break for a year or two. Maybe then I won't be so bitter about having to look at two different covers featuring bears trying to be the next Tony Hawk. It worked for Super Mario, after Sunshine on the GameCube I had no interest in Mario, Luigi and the Princess ... but here we are a few years later and I can't wait for Super Mario Galaxy.

But hold the phone; maybe I'm actually looking at this all wrong. Maybe it's not the skateboarding and clothing that is the problem here. Maybe it's that bears are our number one enemy and seeing their ferocious demeanor trivialized on a video game cover just makes me mad. If there's one thing I've learned from my time watching The Colbert Report it's that bears are cold blooded killers, unpatriotic savages that would have no problem sucking the blood out of your body through your little toe. How dare these video game companies attempt to make us think that bears are cool dudes, gnarly enough to pick up the skateboard and do some mean tricks. Anybody who would minimize the true danger posed by these wild animals is dead to me, and perhaps that's why I've been thinking about this Yo Bro cover for a week straight.
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