How Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge will save humanity

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man, Thundercats… even Captain Planet and his tree-hugging group of Planeteers. Every single one of them had me hooked to the TV, like a fly on a pile of shit. They all shared that same chiseled, rock-hard sculpted physique. But underneath that super masculine body was usually a man of principles, a person with solid morale. Morale he’d like to share with TV-watching kids after a day’s work, fighting off evil. Unfortunately, those days belong to the past. In the ’80s and ’90s, all of this was just fine. Nowadays, it’s considered offensive and not suitable for kids.

No, muscular bodies are likely to cause insecurities with young kids and those evil antagonists… those can inflict some serious mental health issues. Therefore, everything must be transformed into – what seems to be – low-budget cartoons with cuteness and happy colors drizzled all over it. To us ’80s kids, it’s a slap in the face. Vintage classics get desecrated, mutilated, chewed up and spat out until there’s nothing else left than an inbred version of the original, just because “the stereotype might be offensive” to today’s youth or give them self-image issues.

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Every big franchise that eventually gets rehashed for the sake of nostalgia – or call it lack of creativity – is diluted to a badly drawn animation series that has to appeal to the youngest of us. Agreed, kids nowadays would have nightmares when presented with the likes of 1983’s Skeletor from He-Man or Mumm-Ra from Thundercats, but weirdly enough, kids in the ’80s seemed to handle them just fine. I can vividly remember playing with their action figures as a kid, totally having a blast with those super buff personas, not remotely caring about not looking nearly as masculine as them.

I guess I just miss the quality of the cartoons in the past. Production value oozed out of every hand-drawn frame and the theme songs… damn those were so epic that I can still remember them today. But now, everything has to be poppy and gitty, crammed with cheesy jokes and funny voices to make it even slightly digestible for kids. Masterfully crafted special effects made way for goofy animations, just to tickle the funny bone of a toddler. It sickens me to my very core. Hope seemed lost. Until this week.

My saviors carry the name DotEmu and Tribute Games. These developers seemed to get that newer isn’t always better and that nothing beats original. The proof lies in the pudding – or rather the pizza – because Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a sight to behold. The recently announced sidescrolling brawler seems to tick every box that old-school Turtles fanatics have been yearning for. It’s an ode to the days of yonder, the era of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES.

Yeah, those were the days. Just sitting on the couch, covering my NES controller in Cheetos dust and not giving a flying fuck about body types and gender equality issues. Sure, April O’Neil didn’t get to have the honor of kicking Shredder in the gonads, but that didn’t mean that we thought of her as a submissive and undervalued character. She had her own set of skills. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on NES didn’t force people to pick sides in the gender- or LGBTQ debate, it only made you pick up a controller and play, just like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge will do when it releases.

That’s why I’d like to pay my respects to DotEmu and Tribute Games, for not trying to re-invent the wheel with their Turtles game. Instead, they honor the good old days with a tribute, and I sincerely hope it works out well. I’m glad there’s going to be one game out there that won’t make me feel bad about being an ’80s kid, reminiscing about cartoon franchises from a better era when people didn’t seem to get offended by anyone or everything. It’s just the way I feel. I’m sorry if it offends you…