Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular was developed and published by Kemco in April 1990, the game features Charlie Brown’s best pal in a variety of short minigames that aren’t really sports, definitely aren’t spectacular, but are undeniably silly. It’s a game I remembered renting as a kid and having a good time playing with my sister. We fought a lot, so any game with competitive two-player that would make us mad at each other was always a big hit. I found the game at local game store Sudden Impact a few years ago and had to snag it. I’m glad I did!
Since I always like to spend a little bit of time sharing background information on the games I talk about, you’ll probably get a kick out of this – released in Japan in 1988, this game didn’t originally star Snoopy. Instead, the game was called Donald Duck (so creative) and had Walt Disney’s foul-mouthed waterfowl participating in the silly sports instead. At the time, Capcom had the rights to produce Disney games for the NES in North America, so Kemco just slapped in Charles Shulz’ beloved characters instead. Going even further back, both versions are based on Alternative World Games, developed and published by Gremlin Graphics for the Commodore 64 in 1987.
But hey, I know you’re not here for a bunch of boring history about games. There’s probably already some kind of game history guy out there making boring stuff for boring people. You’re here for the action, the silliness, the… pizzas?
Similar to track and field style games at the time, Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular features six minigames that can be played solo or with two players competing against each other. We’ll run down all six and give each game a rating of one to five Woodstocks based on how silly it is.
Sack Race has Snoopy racing against his brother Spike in an old-fashioned potato sack race. You tap the A button to hop, and rhythm is key – timing your presses correctly makes you jump farther, and you’ll need to move pretty deftly to avoid the spinning manhole covers. You’ll want to play this with two players, because the AI is barely any competition at all.
Rating: Three Woodstocks
Overboard has Snoopy and Spike on an Italian gondola (oh yeah, the game takes place in Italy for some reason) bumping into each other and trying to push each other off. Unfortunately there’s not much to it, and just mashing buttons is enough to beat the AI pretty handily. The graphics are really pretty though!
Rating: Two Woodstocks
Boot Throwing is all about… throwing a boot. Rotating the d-pad makes Snoopy wind up, and it’s all about hitting A to throw your boot at just the right angle for maximum distance. It’s a lot like swinging Bowser by his tail in Super Mario 64, except instead of a dramatic battle to rescue a princess you’re tossing a shoe in front of the Roman Colosseum. It’s a lot less stressful as a result.
Rating: Four Woodstocks
Pogo sticks Snoopy onto a pogo stick in order to jump over some walls. It’s another game that’s big on timing and spacing, and it’s actually quite challenging. There’s not much else to say, really. I couldn’t get very far and didn’t really feel like trying to get better.
Rating: Two Woodstocks
Pile of Pizza is why you want this game. Snoopy is holding a giant stack of pizzas and you have to move from one side of the screen to the other while trying to drop as few of them as possible. Go too fast and you lose all your pizzas. Go too slow and you get a bad time. It’s actually really fun and perfect for some casual, pass-the-controller-back-and-forth competition when you have a group of people over. Also, the animation on the pizzas wobbling and falling over is really impressive for an NES game.
I didn’t get the joke until just now, but this takes place in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s literally perfection. *stereotypical Italian guy kissing his fingers*
Rating: Five Woodstocks
From the highest highs to the lowest lows – River Jump is impossible. I tried about twenty times and couldn’t get across the river. The pole would just get stuck in a vertical position and Snoopy would slide down into the drink. I’m sure I just couldn’t figure it out, but you’d think after so many tries I’d make some progress. At this point I’m pretty sure this is a game where you really needed the manual in order to understand anything.
Rating: One Woodstock
All things considered, Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular doesn’t seem like much. The games are all over incredibly quick, only half of them are any fun and without any built-in high scores there’s not much incentive to keep challenging yourself to get better at them. If you approach it the same way you would in 1990 – as a simple game starring characters you like that you can play with your friends – you’re much more likely to enjoy it. It’s a light, breezy fun time, a perfect fit for the Peanuts license and something that’s easy to fit in during breaks from more demanding games.
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