I have very fond memories of growing up with Earthworm Jim. Most of them centred around the incredible first video game on the Genesis, but maybe also the old cartoon as well? Anyway whatever, that’s ancient history, because Earthworm Jim in 2020 ain’t what it used to be.
How so? For starters, let’s look at this trailer for Earthworm Jim 4, coming exclusively to the Intellivision Amico:
That’s it! That’s the trailer! And what’s the Intellivision Amico, you probably asked before even hitting play on that trailer? It’s an Android-based console that you’ve likely never even heard of, despite the fact it was supposed to be released in October, before it was pushed back to April 2021.
This game was supposed to be out in October as well, and as of August this is all they’ve got to show of it.
A huge part of Earthworm Jim’s original appeal was its badass 16-bit pixel art. The contrast here between a hand-drawn Jim and mirror-smooth backgrounds is the opposite of that, and looks, in my objective and scientific opinion, very bad.
But also, 2020 is as good a time as any to point out that the character’s creator, Doug TenNapel, is an enormous piece of shit. As recently as *checks calendar* last week, he was engaging in some heinously racist trash on a podcast series, saying stuff like “The Black culture and Black communities are not doing well. They, too, are still the fallout victim of their own ignorance — and maybe their own willful ignorance, or fatherlessness, or whatever — so it’s not all whitey’s problem.”
A big part of the pitch for Earthworm Jim 4 is the fact that many of the creators of the original game are contributing, and when the game was announced in 2019 TenNapel was listed as one of them. That has since been clarified to mean he participated “in one brainstorming session” and is “open for unpaid consulting on the project.”
Look, if you’re someone with an impervious firewall between a creator and their creations, I’m happy for you, but it’s tough for me to look at Earthworm Jim in 2020, whether as a character or as an upcoming video game, and find much to get excited about.