Memory Museum: Joe & Mac

A new featured series on Memory Museum. Our earliest gaming memories to the backdrop of what was happening in our personal life and what was happening in the gaming world back then! 

It’s 1992. Philips releases the CD-i multimedia home console, the Apple IIgs is discontinued, ending the Apple II series. Nintendo releases it’s first Mario Kart game and Kirby’s Dream Land for the Game Boy, the first game in the Kirby series. Street Fighter II wins Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick Awards. 

Over in America, Serenabelina plays one of her first games. 

Joe & Mac on SNES

Joe & Mac is a prehistoric themed platformer originally released in 1991. It was initially an arcade game, but was later ported over to SNES, NES, Game Boy, and lastly the Sega Genesis. I played the SNES version and it still stands out as one of my favorites from that era. Its vibrant colors, silly characters, and overexaggerated animations drew me in. (This was back in the day when you rented games from a video store and I had to make decision on what to rent based solely on cover art). The over-world and level structure are very similar to those in seen in 1994’s more familiar Donkey Kong Country.

Dinosaurs and Cave Dudes

The premise of the game is simple. Rival Neanderthals kidnapped all of the “cave babes” and it’s up to Joe and Mac to rescue them. They fight a variety of different dinosaurs and creatures, but also have to watch out for falling rocks and members of the Neanderthal tribe. Each level also ends with a boss fight. Joe and Mac are provided a small collection of weapons, including a bone, boomerang, fire, and wheel. There is a 2-Player mode available, but I remember this being especially frustrating, since players could accidentally inflict damage on each other.

Don’t Wake the T-Rex

I don’t think I ever completed the game, being I was in 2nd or 3rd Grade at the time and could only rent it occasionally. The boss fights were difficult for my uncoordinated self back then and I usually got frustrated and had to put it down. I still loved it though and would beg my mom to take me to rent it again!

The memory that sticks out the most for me is the anxiety of having to walk past the giant sleeping T-Rex at the end of the level. I was so scared because I knew what was coming next. She would awake and I’d have to fight her.

Natural Selection

I tried playing Joe and Mac again on an emulator a few years ago, but lost interest quickly. The levels can be a bit repetitive and I still had a hard time traversing gaps and dodging enemies. However, the nostalgia was real and it was great to dive back into the prehistoric world where cave dudes roam. The prominent 90’s language was a fun touch then and now and I still recommend giving the game a try! The arcade version is available in the Nintendo E-shop for $7.99 US.

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