The Horror of Nintendo's White Knuckle Scorin

Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

In 1991, before the company realised it was a good idea to pay closer attention to the shit it was licensing its name and characters for, Nintendo gave its blessing for the release of a CD called White Knuckle Scorin.


While the name and the cover art give faint hope that this might be a collection of Mario-inspired thrash songs from amateur metal bands, it's sadly nothing of the sort. It's something far better. And far worse.

As posted over on Negative World earlier this week, White Knuckle Scorin was in fact a regrettable attempt to promote literacy amongst kids. Because nothing screams literacy like a man whose tagline has the word "itsa" in it.

Featuring songs from bands like Trixter and Flesh For Lulu, the disc also included a comic (literally, on paper, not on the disc) that was supposed to do...something.


I mean, I'm sure there was intent there somewhere along the line to make the comic about promoting literacy amongst young kids, but it ends up a story full of fighting, more fighting, the denigration of honest trades, sexism and, best of all, poor grammar. About the only thing tying the adventure together, which culminates in a fantasy involving Mario dressing up as a Knight, is that the dialogue contains the titles to each song on the album, prompting the characters to routinely pause mid-panel and annoyingly shout "SONG CUE".

In case you weren't of age in 1991, and were never blessed with similar cash-ins like The Simpsons Sing the Blues, below you'll one of the tracks, wonderfully animated for effect by Rootom9.

Bizarrely, only the very first song on the album (the one in the clip) actually has anything to do with the Mushroom Kingdom whatsoever. The rest of the package, which also featured songs by Roy Orbison and Dire Straits, was simply a compilation album by MCA Records, a dumping ground for nine completely unrelated songs.


Since the comic makes little sense, it's OK to view the panels at leisure, checking more for inappropriate content (like Peach stuffing stuff down her cleavage, shocking grammar or seeing Mario's turn ons) and weird art than any hopes of a coherent storyline. You can see most of it at Negative World, which has even helpfully highlighted the best/worst bits.

If for some reason you're looking to grab a copy, despite its age you can find it, yes, on eBay.


Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

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