In the 90’s, a little game known as Amagon wound up in my hands. The box art intrigued me, which now in my late 20s seems way more ominous than it did then. I mean, look at this guy with the gun. Who’s that behind him? Why is he behind him? What is he doing behind him? Why was I so intrigued by this cover when I was 8? Never mind all of that. Seriously, stop asking. STOP IT!
I also had no comprehension as to what an Amagon was. I had assumed maybe it was a copyright-friendly variation on the Amazon (Wait, can a forest have a copyright? Are they selling Amazon merchandise? Stuffed giant mosquito plushies? Resin statues of women who are somehow taller than I?). My curious mind took to the internet in search of the answer. My top lead was that Amagon was not in South America, or wherever the hell it is. The truth was much more shocking.
Amagon, AR (town, FIPS 1270)
Location: 35.56244 N, 91.11057 W
Population (1990): 108 (55 housing units)
Area: 0.1 sq km (land), 0.0 sq km (water)
Really, though. That can’t be right.
Scrawny Dude has been tasked with surviving his journey through Arkansas with only his trusty shotgun as he disintegrates birds, bees and wildlife preserve enthusiasts who protect the birds and bees, who apparently have a very strict mating regimen. That’s what “The birds and the bees” mean, right? Recently, I had the joy of dusting off my NES (emulator) and popping in this game cartridge (ROM. See what I did there?) so I can show you first hand what the hell was going on in this God-forsaken mishmash.
Our first screenshot shows us in 8-bit detail our superbly snazzy main character with his trusty Not-gun (See what I did there too? Get used to it. I do that sort of thing all the time.) facing off against the horrifying creatures that are indigenous to the Arkansas outback. It is vitally important that you understand the dangers of the horrifying jumping mushroom.
Along the way, you will find a copy of Quake for the PC in a tree. Interestingly enough, that was exactly how I found my copy of Quake. In a tree. Seriously. Okay, I lied about that one.
When your character grabs Quake, he is imbued with the powers that only a late-90s first person shooter can provide you. You are immediately transformed into a muscly man in tight shorts,inexplicable upper-body curves and a contradictory manly jaw to boot. Why is he so pink? I don’t understand.
Ahnuld, eat your heart out.
One level warned me to watch out for the “Skelton Monster”. I assumed they meant Red Skelton, so like a good boy, I did what the game told me and avoided him like the plague. Before long, you learn that this peaceful Arkansas island is inhabited by dinosaurs, very much like the island in that “Lost” show. No, I never watched it. I’m just guessing.
Ladies and gentlemen, Red Skelton! BEWARE!
In one of the later levels, you discover that the whole thing was masterminded by the Predators from,well, Predator. I really wish that was the case, because then I could wrap this up and call it a day. Unfortunately, Amagon doesn’t work that way and the battle wages on.
I will tell you that I never actually beat this game until writing this article. Imagine my shock when I discovered that the final boss is not a giant mosquito or jumping mushroom, but a 8-bit representation of the Flatwoods Monster, sighted in West Virginia in 1952. I was wrong all along, the game doesn’t take place in Arkansas, it’s West Virginia! No, wait, that makes even less, what the hell then? Ah, hell with it.