Atari Poop – Yar’s Revenge
Yar’s Revenge is a classic video game that lets you play as a pirate. It was fun and had a few elements that hadn’t really been seen in video games yet, like playing the role of a pirate.
Those of you unfamiliar with the game might be wondering: If this game is about pirates, why does it have a giant-ass fly shooting grapefruits out of its mouth? Those of you who are familiar with the game are probably asking the same question. Meanwhile, I’m asking myself a different question: Why do they call them grapefruits? That’s a stupid name for the fruit. It looks nothing like a grape. Grapes are fruit, so they should be called grapefruits. Like all sorts of grapes are, you know, fruits from the grape family? Anyway, the French have a much better, totally not ridiculous word for them: Pamplemousse.
Sorry for my little pamplemousse (Citrus is Magic – TM Hasbro, Inc.) rant. It isn’t totally unrelated to this game though, but we’ll get back to that later. Right now you’re still wondering why you control a fly that shoots these things when I keep saying it’s a pirate? You see, it’s the same reason you fight seahorses in Adventure: Atari 2600 graphics are not the best, so subtle little details that would make a boat look less like a fly are not possible. What you’re actually controlling is a pirate ship. It’s just kinda looked like a fly, so the box art designer went with it, and the game was shipped before anyone noticed the error. You might be thinking that this story is pretty unlikely, but you’d probably also think that nothing like this would happen in modern gaming with a very well established publisher/developper. You’d be wrong more than twice though.
Need more proof that it’s a boat and you play as a pirate? Just read the game’s title out loud: “YAR‘s Revenge.” It’s a game about the revenge of people who say “Yar”, you know, pirates. As well, the title is an anagram for “Vegans, err ye?” Now, besides that question totally being how a pirate would ask someone if they’re vegan, it also sets up the follow-up: “Vegan’s err ye? Then have some pamplemousse ya scurvy dawgs!” Because scurvy is treated with vitamin C, found in citrus and also red meat, the pirate is politely offering the non-meat alternative. Now everything makes sense!
Or almost. You might still be confused as to why a pirate is being polite in the first place? He’s supposed to rape and plunder and keelhaul landlubbers and whatnot. Well, not in this game because Yar’s Revenge was supposed to be the first video game based on a Disney theme park ride and you know how Disney is with their image and properties: Raping and pillaging aren’t exactly family friendly themes (I’m not 100% sure for keelhauling though). They also planned to make a movie based on the ride, but even though you may have heard of this theme park ride, but back in the day, most people hadn’t. To ensure the movies success, Disney wanted to have a huge star and very talented actor for the lead. After looking at all of the big names, the director picked Steve Guttenberg; however, Disney wanted someone even more talented and pushed for Burt Reynolds. Unfortunately for the director and Disney, both told them forget it and chose to sign on to Police Academy and Stroker Ace, respectively. Disney then decided to scrap both the movie and video game, but since the game was mostly finished, Atari simply made a few minor changes and released it as Yar’s Revenge.
And that’s the story of the first attempt to make a Pirates of the Caribbean game and movie.