The year is 1990, the game is Yo! Noid. It’s probably not a name that resonates with you unless yo

Author : torunlota
Publish Date : 2021-01-09 09:36:23


The year is 1990, the game is Yo! Noid. It’s probably not a name that resonates with you unless yo

The year is 1990, the game is Yo! Noid. It’s probably not a name that resonates with you unless you grew up in this wonderful era. The Noid was the product of an advertising campaign that was launched by Domino’s Pizza in the 1980s. Transforming this fun colorful mascot into a video game character only seemed natural.
Although the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) had an extensive library of platformers, Yo! Noid was a unique offering. The game utilized many elements to make the depth of the gameplay a lot more intuitive. Yo! Noid wasn’t a just carbon copy of the generic platformer formula.

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Originally developed by Capcom in Japan under the name of Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru (Masked Ninja Hanamaru), Yo! Noid was transformed into the virtual version of the popular Domino’s advertising campaign. The story was simplistic and the gameplay was action-oriented enough to keep you enthused.
Understanding The “Noid”
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The Noid, courtesy of Dominoes Pizza.
Let’s face facts, nothing is worse than having some friends over for a night of pizza and gaming and you have to wait on the delivery. Dominos understood the frustration of consumers and developed an advertising campaign to address the challenges of getting a pizza in under 30 minutes.
The original advertising campaign was created in 1986 by Group 243. Featuring an animated character who was dressed as a rabbit in tight red spandex with an “N” on his chest.
With his “Pizza Crusher” pogo stick the Noid was not your average mascot. The Noid was an antihero who disliked hot quality pizza.
There were various animated advertisements where Noid was dismayed by Domino’s product. These cartoon shorts proved to be a successful advertising campaign for the company, and one of the most memorable of the decade.
Enter Yo! Noid
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Promotional material courtesy of Capcom.
The idea to place the Noid in a platformer came after Domino’s had experienced success with the MS-DOS-based Avoid The Noid PC game in 1989.
The game got a fair amount of positive feedback and the sales were promising. Given the fact that the NES was a powerhouse sales success at this point, it only made sense to market a sequel.
Capcom already had a title that utilized the same gameplay engine and thus reskinning the game was a relatively easy task. Yo! Noid was completed in about a year and was ready to hit the market.
The designers didn’t want the game to be perceived as a run of the mill platformer. Yo! Noid would use a YoYo as a weapon as opposed to finding various powerups in the game.
Instead, the character is collecting magic scrolls along the way in each world. 20,000 points will unlock an extra life and each level is timed, thus your character will die if you run the clock dry.
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Yo! Noid gameplay courtesy of Cameron Eittreim.
The depth of the gameplay in the levels makes the game exciting, incorporating various challenges such as riding a skateboard and walking on ice. There is even a world where you have to avoid falling ice shards.
At the end of each world, there is a pizza crusher challenge where you’ll face off against a different colored Noid. This is a mathematical challenge where you match cards and use power-ups such as hot sauce against your foe in a pizza eating challenge.
Gameplay aspects like this hadn’t been seen in a platformer at this time, and it added a level of depth to the experience that made you stay on your feet. Yo! Noid is not just a platform game that you can breeze through.
The Whack a Mole Mini-Games
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Yo! Noid gameplay courtesy of Cameron Eittreim.
Perhaps one of the most notable features of Yo! Noid was the Whack a Mole Mini-Games. These mini-games would come up at certain points in the game where you’d hop in a specific area.
These warp zones were one of the interesting features that made the game have some semblance of replay value. Because you’d never be able to get the same score twice.
Although these mini-games were technically warp-zones, there was a different aspect to each one. You would play against the hockey goalie in the ice world or the gophers in the carnival level, etc.
The gameplay was fast and challenging, especially considering the restraints of the original NES gamepad. I could never manage to get a very high score because the gophers would pop in and out so quickly. Nevertheless, it was a fun and interesting aspect of the game.
A Modern Sequel
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Yo! Noid 2 gameplay courtesy of Cameron Eittreim.
Unfortunately, Yo! Noid never got a commercial sequel as Domino’s had to cut the advertising campaign short after a controversy. On January 30, 1989, Kenneth Lamar Noid, who was mentally ill held up a Domino’s Pizza restaurant with a 357. Magnum. He thought that the advertisements were a personal attack on him and he went to exact revenge. Although the suspect was taken into custody this caused a stir of bad publicity for Domino’s.
The sequel for the upcoming SNES never came to be, with the console moving on to host a wide range of other platformers. Nevertheless, YoNoid developed quite a cult following and there was a fan-made sequel released in 2017 titled Yo! Noid 2: Enter the Void.
The game was a modern take on the classic platformer, and although it could use some polish the idea was well received. It just goes to show you that a well-designed platformer can resonate with all different types of gamers.
Yo! Noid might be a forgotten relic of a happier time but if you are revisiting the NES then this is a title worth exploring. The depth of the gameplay and the nostalgic value of the game makes it worth taking for a spin back to the ‘90s.



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