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The Atari 7800's Top 10 Homeliest Heroes
The Ugliest Main Characters in the Atari 7800 Library

Atari made some great games, but man they missed the boat on marketing their video game heroes as toys, stars of movies, and Saturday morning cartoons. No company does better than Nintendo, which makes a video game... then in turn makes a new star in their already crowded stud stable of IPs. Hell, Nintendo made a character out of their pinkish, balding Hebrew lawyer that won a big Donkey Kong lawsuit for them in the 80's. Yes, that would be Kirby... and the real life Kirby saw that good gesture and then wanted to sue them over it. Anyways, Atari struggled with making their protagonists beautiful creatures, which can be a huge problem with selling games. Duh! Whether it be a man, plane, car, etc... here lies Atari's most glaring beauty missteps in the 7800 library.

1) Louie from Scrapyard Dog
Louie, the hero from Scrapyard Dog had a big opportunity that was blown for him. Being in the only official platforming game in the library, he could have been the face of the system. The problem is that he had TOO much face. His nose looked like a calcified twin growing out of the front of his face. Not even in a cute calcified twin growing out of face way, either. Atari execs must have looked at pudgy Mario and thought "I gUEsS tHeSe PlAtFoRm ChArAcTeRs NeEd To Be HoMeLy BaStArDs... DERP!" Louie is an ugly man traversing an ugly world: sewer rats and dumpster diving have a hard time competing with rainbows and pretty princesses with most children. His nose didn't help. Sorry stud, you da' ugliest.

2) Billy and Jimmy Lee from Double Dragon

Double Dragon's backgrounds look great, but I think most casual players dismiss the Atari 7800 version of of DD mainly because of the lame character models, including Jimmy and Billy Lee. To be fair to our heroes, everyone in the game looks pretty lame with maybe the exception being the femme fatales and the Shadow Boss. And I think the girls look passable only due to sheer boob size. And who in the video game industry first dreamt up the idea for short vests for street fighters? Most everyone in this game looks like bouncers at a gay club... and that's the most awesome thing I can say about these fools.

3) Larry Bird from One on One Basketball
To be fair to video game Larry Bird, the real life Larry Bird is not the most studly looking NBA player in league history. Still, he grows on ya. But Larry, what did they do to you in this game, son? You look like a Pringles can had sex with Resusci Anne and a crash test dummy watched. Nine months later they had Larry Bird 7800. Zero muscle tone, barely human features, three skin tones and just trash graphics. Sometimes when he turns he looks more like a sprite from a zombie video game. The only way you can identify that this is Larry Bird is because he is playing basketball against a black man... who consequently does not look like Dr. J at all, either.

4) Mary from Save Mary
Even though this is a 2600 game released on 7800 carts because of bank switching issues, I'm saying Mary is fair game. I don't normally enjoy picking on women because of their looks... but this has nothing to do with the sexy. Look at the picture. Where is Mary you say? Where is a female? Where is a human? Well... if you look closely, what appears to be a red and flesh colored rocket ship is walking around on Mary Janes. THATS HER. Most Atari 2600 games render human beings much better than this... and if she didn't scream "HELP!" you would have never known she was a humanoid. Save Mary and give that gal a make over.

5) Jimmy from Midnight Mutants
Jimmy is Grandpa Munster's grandson. Jimmy is most definitely NOT from the Lily Munster side of the family... Mannaggia! ... what a woman. This is however, another crazy blunder from Atari, where they take a great marketing opportunity to create a cool looking hero, but they roll out an ugly preteen kid who is most def a wall flower at the middle school dance. Nice baby blue denim, too, you hump. And another thing, Grandpa's relatives are all monsters except the blonde girl... why is Jimmy just a dork? Wouldn't a little mummy or black lagoon dude have been cooler? Man... Atari, get your head out 'cho azz. NES has Link... Atari has Jimmy. Think about that.

6) Water Skier from Water Ski
Water Ski is a really bad game, but it makes up for it by having god-awful graphics. If this guy's rotting green flesh doesn't turn you on, tell me, pray tell, what in the name of all that is holy is going on with his back muscles as he slides back and forth on the screen? Whatever is happening, its inhuman. Instead of an undead dude with morphing back muscles... Froggo... maybe... a female? I don't wanna sound creepy... but bikinis man... everyone likes girls' butts in bikinis, Froggo. This isn't difficult.

7) Plane from Planet Smashers
I recently redid my review of Planet Smashers, and I criticized the looks of the ship in the game along with the terrible audio- it's my civic duty, after all. As I posted the link to the review on one of my internet haunts, a reader in response called the spaceship a plane. Then "Plane"-it Smashers popped into my head, and I wished I put that in the review. But I can do it here! The main ship in "Plane"-it Smashers is insipid and dumb... for lack of a better term. Most SHMUPs have really cool looking ships... ya know... to make you feel cool about your nerd ass... but not here. This looks like a WWII plane taking on a space armada... LAME

8) Biker from Motorpsycho
I've often wondered why Motorpyscho didn't work. It looks pretty good, it plays pretty good, but I never found it intriguing or extremely fun. But the main protagonist's bike and outfit leaves a lot to be desired and maybe that's part of the problem. You want kids to look at characters on a video game and think "COOL!" not: "POSSIBLY DERANGED!" or "PROBABLY COLOR BLIND!" I'm not an expert on many things...but I know pink and yellow is not the correct color combination for the main dude in a game called MOTORPSYCHO... maybe if he was a motorcyclist that killed and ate children as a clown... but not a circuit racer.... especially with how cool the box art is. Fail.

9) Crazy Otto from Crazy Otto
About 80% of the system's library is made up of Ms. Pac man hacks, so odds are something from that ilk was gonna land here. Pac-Jason's main pac man sprite is pretty lame, and I'm not sure what's happening with the Pac Nestor/ Pac Pollux group... but Crazy Otto looks like a character from the Simpsons that crawled out of the lake at the town power plant. It's horrifying. This is not the fault of Bob Decrescenzo (Pac Man Plus)... the guy that made the port, its the people's fault who tried to rip off Pac Man back in the day and not get sued. No matter how freakish they made Crazy Otto, it didn't work. They still got sued.

10) Golfer from Mean 18 Ultimate Golf
When you create a video game and you call it something butch like Motorpsycho, Mean 18 Ultimate Golf, or I Killed My Mom and Ate Her Butt***... why do Atarians insist on putting the main dude in pink? I have no problem with pink... I wore pink in my early days as a pro wrestler. I wore pink as a bass player for a touring funk and hip hop group... but I did it when it was time to. Most golfers wear questionable outfits anyways... not sure what happens to them when they wake up and think "I'm playing golf today, where's my paisley vines?" But look at this mook here... he looks terrible! AND NOT ULTIMATE! This game would have kicked more booty if there was a simple character creation screen and you could made a dude (or gal) with a spike mohawk or something. But wishful thinking, ya know.

DisHonorable Mentions

The Hatchback from Fatal Run

When saving the world, gas mileage is more important than armor and weapons!

Astronauts from Xenophobe

It's one thing when one guy is completely bald, but when everyone is, it looks like a cult

Draker from Draker Quest II

Draker looks like a sex toy with eyes. There... I said it.

Dr. J from One on One Basketball

Dr. J's sprite looks better than Larry Bird's... but...

K.C. Munchkin

Bobby D added teeth to KC Munchkin... and all the children in Homebrew world cried.

*** prototype pending
*** Burgertime artwork by Michael Matei for the Atari 5200 "Beef Drop" Homebrew label contest