When I was younger I was a Nintendo/Super Nintendo fanatic. I bought into the full commercial blitz and enjoyed every indulgent moment of it. It must have been easy for my parents to buy gifts for me because for decades every birthday/x-mas I had my next game scouted and picked out months in advance.
Back then there was no internet just the spoon fed Nintendo Power, and the back pages of comic books to base our next investment on. There were very few misses back then due to our zealous examination of every title we selected but when it happened it was awful. There were very few disheartening moment in my narrow view on life that investing your one gift or hard eared paper route money towards a dud.
These are a few (not all) games that really twisted the knife deep in terms of horrid deception.
1) X-men (Nintendo)
What was sold:
2) Pit Fighter (SNES)
What was sold:
This game was pretty incredible for its time. You could play 3 players at a time, Ty a kick boxer Kato a judo guy, and Buzz a wrestler. You basically played through different levels fighting absurd enemies mashing either PUNCH KICK or JUMP or all 3 for your super move. The game was pretty brutal for its time, and controversial because there was a stage where you would fight two women.
When our mother went to Hills (which seemed like a multi-weekly pilgrimage) we would beg her to hang out in the lobby to whaft the popcorn and pretzel smell and watch the demos for the arcade games. Pit Fighter was one of those games. We used to mill around the lobby at Hills unsupervised and raid payphones and coin return slots of other games for quarters to play.
When we saw Pit Fighter being advertised in Ian's Captain America comics we got excited and accosted our mother to take us to Iggle Video to rent the game.
In this case we didn't buy it (luckily) but the unreasonable amount of excitement congruent to the quality of the game is noteworthy.
The car ride back we called our characters (I believe I called Ty and Ian Kato) and had set up strategies to beat every stage we had burned into our memory from endless demos.
We popped the game in and got this digital abortion:
What we got:
What the fuck is that? It wasn't even close to what the arcade was. We were smart children not to expect a "true port" but this was insulting. Our $5.00 wasted, our afternoon ruined, and my anger ... apparently still here.
3)Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game
This was another case of being romanced by the arcade game and getting the old bait and switch. The TMNT Arcade game was the King of the arcade back when it came out. Most places had it, it was amazing graphically, it was fun, and it "stayed true" to the cartoon series.
This was especially significant because our sister was in on the excitement as well. This meant two things our cut for the game would be lessened and our parents would take us more seriously upon the request due to the combined effort.
Trying to learn our lesson from the first Turtles game (which could be another post) we scouted it in the reliable unbiased Nintendo Power which gave it glowing review. Hell, it even had THE ARCADE GAME so big on the box how could they burn us again.
Same old story, we unboxed it frantically popped the cart in and ...
What was sold/What we got: