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Why ToeJam And Earl Are The Most Underrated Video Game Duo Of All Time

Pack the boombox and 48 D batteries. We're headed to Funkotron.

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As weird as many 90s games were, this one was weirdest, because NO ONE had a clue who these two badasses were when the game came out. The box art didn't help:

image.gamespotcdn.net / Via gamespot.com

Kids everywhere faced ridicule whenever they invited friends to come play "Toejam." And that was a major bummer, because it was one of about 3 good multiplayer games for Sega Genesis.

Yes, Toejam and Earl. They were aliens from planet Funkotron, crash landed on Earth.

fc05.deviantart.net / Via slash000.deviantart.com

Amidst the "XTREME" 90s pursuit of cool, Travis Fahs described Toejam & Earl as a game "content to poke fun at the whole over-the-top appropriation of urban culture, set to the anachronistic sounds of funk music..."

And what sweet sounds they were:

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Reportedly inspired by the great Jazz pioneer, Herbie Hancock.

And if your first reaction to that screenshot was, "EWW THE GRAPHICS," have a look at the inspiration for TJ&E, Rogue (1980):

upload.wikimedia.org / Via wikipedia.org

TJ&E creator Greg Johnson played this old school RPG to pass the time in college during the early 1980s.

Sega released the sequel in 1993, but forced the creators to turn the game from a roguelike RPG into a sidescroller a la Mario Bros.

gamefabrique.com / Via gamefabrique.com

This time, Earthlings are unexpectedly loose on planet Funkotron. You spend the entire game putting people in jars and rocketing them back to Earth.

The sidescrolling sequel disappointed fans of the original, who felt the developers had sold out.

fc09.deviantart.net / Via supersmashbrosgmod.deviantart.com

But TJ&E 2 maintained the original's simultaneous AND cooperative 2-player mode, a feature absent from most popular games at the time -- even those of the Great Mustachioed One.

The failure of the Sega Saturn delayed a third installment for 8 years, finally appearing on the XBox in 2002. And it was AWESOME:

But our fondest memories of the ToeJam franchise may be those rare, peaceful gaming moments, where two played, laughed, and won -- together.

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