Updated: Apr 21
Cheetamen II, an unreleased and notoriously flawed video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), has had a storied history filled with controversy, deception, and drama.
As the sequel to the infamous Action 52 (1991), Cheetamen II was developed by Active Enterprises but never officially released. Its notoriety has been fueled by a series of events involving questionable business practices, allegations of shilling, and the eventual release of the game's ROM. This article examines the shadiness behind Cheetahmen II, Pat the NES Punk's involvement, the ROM's availability, and the Kickstarter campaign that aimed to bring the game back to life.
The Shady Origins of Cheetamen II
Cheetamen II was initially developed as part of the Action 52 multi-game compilation cartridge for the NES. The Action 52 cartridge, released in 1991, was notorious for its poor quality and high price. Despite its flaws, Active Enterprises sought to continue the Cheetamen series with a standalone sequel. However, the company went bankrupt before Cheetamen II could be officially released, leaving the game unfinished and unpolished. In the late 1990s, a warehouse containing around 1,500 copies of the unfinished game was discovered, with the cartridges eventually finding their way into the hands of collectors (Source: Frank Cifaldi, 1up.com).
Pat the NES Punk's Alleged Shilling
In 2012, a video featuring Pat "The NES Punk" Contri, a popular YouTuber known for his reviews of NES games, discussing Cheetamen II surfaced. In the video, Pat expressed excitement about the game and shared information about a Kickstarter campaign to fund its re-release. However, it was later revealed that Pat was in a partnership with the creators of the campaign, raising questions about his impartiality and transparency (Source: Pat the NES Punk's YouTube channel).
Following the accusations, Pat removed the video from his YouTube channel and issued an apology. He admitted to a lack of transparency but maintained that his excitement for the project was genuine. Despite the controversy, Pat's YouTube career continued, and he remains a prominent figure in the retro gaming community.
Though never officially released, Cheetamen II's ROM became available online for players to experience the game via emulators. This allowed gamers worldwide to witness the game's numerous glitches, unfinished levels, and frustrating gameplay (Source: The Cutting Room Floor).
The Kickstarter Campaign
In 2012, Greg Pabich, a game collector and enthusiast, launched a Kickstarter campaign to re-release Cheetamen II, with the goal of fixing the game's numerous bugs and glitches. The campaign aimed to produce a limited run of 1,000 cartridges compatible with the original NES hardware. However, the Kickstarter was met with skepticism due to the game's troubled history and the controversy involving Pat the NES Punk (Source: Kickstarter).
Despite the skepticism, the Kickstarter campaign reached its funding goal of $65,000, and the re-release was produced. Unfortunately, the final product failed to live up to expectations. Many backers complained about the game's continued glitches and unfinished state, further tarnishing the reputation of Cheetamen II (Source: Kickstarter Backer Comments).
Jenovi's Video Coverage
Jenovi, an extremely well-respected content creator in the retro gaming community, recently released a video delving into the history of Pat Contri and the Cheetamen II controversy. In this comprehensive recap, Jenovi not only presented a detailed account of the events that transpired, but also provided reliable sources to substantiate the shadiness that occurred behind the scenes. The video offered valuable insights into the roles and responsibilities of influencers, as well as the importance of transparency and credibility when discussing controversial topics. Jenovi's well-researched work contributed to a better understanding of the Cheetahmen II saga, highlighting its significance in gaming history and the lessons it provides for the broader gaming community.
Lessons Learned from Cheetahmen II
The Cheetamen II controversy has left several important lessons for the gaming industry, crowdfunding campaigns, and online influencers.
Transparency and Communication: The allegations against Pat the NES Punk highlighted the importance of transparency and communication between influencers and their audience. Influencers should disclose any partnerships or vested interests in the products they promote to maintain credibility and trust.
Due Diligence in Crowdfunding: Backers of crowdfunding campaigns should conduct thorough research before investing in projects, especially when the subject matter has a troubled past. Investigating the project's creators, their history, and their ability to deliver on promises can help avoid disappointment and financial loss.
Managing Expectations: In the case of Cheetahmen II's Kickstarter campaign, the promise to fix the game's numerous issues may have been overly ambitious. Creators should be realistic about their project's scope and capabilities, while backers should temper their expectations and understand the risks involved in crowdfunding.
Learning from Failure: The Cheetahmen II story can be seen as a learning experience for game developers, reminding them of the importance of thorough playtesting, quality control, and polishing a game before its release. Additionally, it shows the potential consequences of releasing an unfinished product, both in terms of reputation and customer satisfaction.
Preservation of Gaming History: Despite its infamy, Cheetamen II's story offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of unreleased and unfinished games. It serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving gaming history, even when it involves notorious or controversial titles.
The Cheetamen II controversy offers valuable insights into various aspects of the gaming industry, from development and marketing to the responsibilities of YouTube influencers like Pat Contri and backers in crowdfunding campaigns. The lessons learned from this infamous title can help guide future projects, ensuring that similar mistakes are not repeated and that the gaming community continues to grow and thrive.
And as an aside, truly shows the hypocrisy of someone like Pat The NES Punk taking an Intellivision Amico victory lap, after hiding his shady history of shilling. But is anyone really surprised at this point?