The ToeJam & Earl Ultra Funky Super Special Bonus Podcast
Hello there, internet pals (or “pal o’nets”, as I like to call you, all of the time, at a barely audible whisper). Mack here, sharing a very special episode of the Bunny Ears podcast.
As anyone who has placed a listening device in my house is already aware, I am a major video game fan, in the sense that I play exactly one video game, but I love that game more than any single member of my immediate family, including any future children I may adopt and/or hire to run my social media accounts. That game is the Sega Genesis classic ToeJam & Earl, and this week I transubstantiated across the country to interview Greg Johnson, the creator of ToeJam & Earl, with my brother Kieran and Bunny Ears financial wizard Stewart Miller. (Kieran and Stew flew coach.)
As I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, ToeJam & Earl was a revelation of a co-op science fiction adventure in which Player One and Stew or Kieran control ToeJam & Earl, two hip-hop aliens attempting to collect all 10 pieces of their broken rocketship so they can return to their home planet of Funkatron. The game was released for the Sega Genesis back in 1991, and I’ve been ToeJamming ever since. In the episode, we talk to Greg about how he got started in the video game business working for Electronic Arts back before most people even knew what video games were.
Listen along and learn how ToeJam & Earl appeared to Greg in a dream, how classic RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons and Rogue inspired the game’s design, and how he pitched his crazy game to Sega of America. You’ll also hear how Stew got me hooked on the game back in 1994 and completely destroyed my television when he came over to play it, Kieran’s theory about why all the earthlings in the game are so weird, and the different ways we constantly try to sabotage each other while playing the game. We get a quick word from our sponsors at Man Repellent, and then Greg describes the process behind funding his brand new, just-released ToeJam & Earl sequel on Kickstarter, and Kieran, Stew and I share our experiences playing this long-awaited new installment, which we got to do way before any of you. Give it a listen and bathe your ears in our radiant ToeJam & Earl hype.
UPDATE: Here are the rules for playing the game like Mack, Stew, and Kieran:
Mack and Stew’s (and Kieran’s) Guide to Toe Jam and Earl
Mack, Kieran, and I have been playing this game for years and still love it! But, as with most games, there comes a point where it becomes too easy, so you have to start making up side games and dick moves to make it a little more challenging. Below are the dick moves we have incorporated and the side games we use to make Funkotron a little more elusive. Enjoy!
Being a Dick
Sometimes it’s funny to watch your friends fail. Here are ways to screw your buddy over in Toe Jam and Earl (Culk’s been doing this to us for years):
Surprise! Rocket Skates! Get yourself on the same screen as your partner and open up rocket skates. If he’s near the edge of land this will launch him one level below. This can be especially helpful for giving you a few minutes to find a missing ship piece. Be sure to shout in a high pitch voice “Surprise! Rocket Skates!”
Take His Icarus Wings When your partner is flying over space or large amounts of water and he wanders onto your screen, open a present that will make him fall out of the sky (Hint: Any action presents will do this). This is also fun to do when he has Rocket Skates or an Inner Tube over water, or Super High Tops.
Rose Bushes Open rose bushes before you get on an elevator. When you get out at the next floor plant them in front of the door so your partner can’t get out. Also works on land bridges.
Randomizer This is the ultimate dick move done by Culk. On the last level, open up a helpful gift for yourself (Icarus Wings, High Tops, etc.) then open a Randomizer so your partner can’t open helpful items.
-Take a communal shot to start the game
-Take a shot for dying
-Take a shot for opening a Total Bummer
-Take a shot for opening a Randomizer
-Take a communal shot (and a break) on Level 0
-If your partner finds a ship piece, you take a shot
-Take a communal shot for finishing the game
-Start your clock when you start the game, jerks (no pausing for the elevator)
-The person with the most ship pieces found wins!