Plumbers Don't Wear Ties
|Plumbers Don't Wear Ties|
|Genre(s)||Adult interactive movie|
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties is an adult-oriented romantic comedy graphic adventure game/dating sim produced and released by Fremont, California game company Kirin Entertainment, a subsidiary of Digital Stuff Inc., in 1994 for the 3DO. Kirin's first published game, it tells the story of John (played by Edward J. Foster) and Jane (played by Jeanne Basone, that are being pressured by their respective parents to find a suitable spouse to make babies, thus providing the parents with grandchildren. The player's task is to get John and Jane together.
Having been considered to be one of the worst games of all time, Plumbers Don't Wear Ties received negative attention mainly due to much of the game being presented as a slide show despite being advertised as a full motion video game (only its introduction was FMV). Other criticisms focused on its "surreal" and "sexist" storyline and poor voice acting. It has been also cited as one of the primary reasons for the commercial failure of the 3DO game system.
Plot and gameplay
A full motion video clip features the character Jane introducing the player to the main objective and basic rules of the game. From that point onwards the entire format is that of still photographs with actors reading dialogue. The narrator also changes once during the game, before being changed back to the original a few scenes later.
In the early 1990s, Los Angeles locals John (Edward J. Foster) and Jane (Jeanne Basone), originally from Almonte, Ontario, are both being pressured by their respective parents to find a suitable spouse. John, a plumber, is told by his mother (Violetta Gevorkian, voiced by Samantha Eggersoll) to go to her house with John's current girlfriend, Amy, for dinner at 6:00 pm. College student Jane, meanwhile, who is considered a "daddy's girl", is going to a job interview, having disliked her coworkers at her previous job.
The only gameplay (interaction) is where the player gets to choose the storyline (2 to 3 choices) in a DVD menu style manner, although there are only one to two right choices. The player will use the D-pad to make a choice and then will press the A button to see what will happen for choosing that option. At certain points in the game, the player has the opportunity to choose what actions John or Jane will do; making the right choices will bring the characters together, while making the wrong choices will result in commentary from the game's two narrators, who sometimes fight with each other. If enough bad choices are made, the player is given the choice to restart the game or try and make the right choice.
John and Jane both meet in a parking lot by 8:00 AM, and John instantly falls in love with Jane, calling her "perfect". John decides not to go to work and stays in the parking lot to wait for Jane to leave from her job interview so he can meet Jane again, thinking it is more important than his job, possibly due to the fact of his mother's wanting of a spouse for him. Around this time, it is revealed that the game is being narrated by Harry Armis (who also played Jane's father).
When Jane is at the interview, her prospective boss, Paul Mark Thresher (Paul Bokor), tells her that, despite her outstanding qualifications and recommendations, her position was cancelled an hour before. When Jane gets very upset about this, Mark says that "something can be worked out, after all", and asks her to take her clothes off, which appears to be an attempt to lead Jane to have sex with him to get a job. However, when Jane refuses, Mark attempts to rape her and eventually Jane runs away from him. When John finds her being chased by Mark, John comes in and saves her, and Mark, Jane and John end up in the middle of an abandoned house. Around this time, Harry Armis is replaced by a female narrator named Wilma (Thyra Metz). She is shot multiple times by Armis, who then returns as narrator.
After the chase, Mark tries to pay Jane $5 million for sex. If Jane accepts this offer, it also would force John to have to marry Amy and have 3 kids to please his mother. Jane refuses, after John tells him that Jane loves him, and that she wants to marry him for a lifetime. John and Jane both walk out of the house and Mark is going to get arrested after calling the police, and John and Jane return to the parking lot where they first met.
Another set of choices is then available for the player to select from. If the "Hollywood Ending" is chosen, Jane decides to treat John to dinner and they travel to her place on John's bike. While he attempts to tell her that his profession is that of a plumber, Jane believes he is joking, then replies, "Plumbers don't wear ties." If the "Gimme Something Completely Different" is selected instead, Jane confesses to John that she is still a virgin and plans to become a nun, much to John's surprise. After failing to talk her out of it, John is forced to return home to have dinner with his mother who arranges a shotgun wedding between him and Amy.
- Edward J. Foster - John
- Jeanne Basone - Jane
- Paul Bokor - Thresher
- Harry Armis - Male narrator, Jane's father
- Thyra Metz - Wilma, Female narrator
- Violetta Gevorkian - John's mother
- Danny Beyda
- Giovanni Cuarez
- Samantha Eggersoll (voice of John's mother)
- Grant Swanson
- Daniel Taylor
- Soumaya Young
Critical response to the game was overwhelmingly negative. Criticisms focused on the game's voice acting, controls for making a choice, and for being a slideshow and not full motion video. In giving the game a 15% rating, Diego Antico wrote: "It's hard to determine where Plumbers Don't Wear Ties is at its most horrendous. Is it in the pathetic music department? The graphics (or its lack thereof)? The awful gameplay?" Allgame gave the game one star. The site made note of how despite it being advertised as full motion video, it was simply a slideshow. In The Video Game Bible, Andy Slaven said that the "humorous" results from choosing the wrong option "can't save this title from being horrible." Video Games & Computer Entertainment magazine criticized the game for being all just "still pictures of the director's friends acting like goofballs and delivering bad voiceovers", also stating: "Not even the promise of some naked pictures could save this disc from becoming a joke around here. Avoid this one at all costs, it looks like a bad Public Access show and that's the pits." PC Gamer, giving the game a 3%, said that the game was funny for only 30 seconds, calling the game an "irksome and yobbishly executed pseudo-pornographic photo story with the wit and charm of an elephant's arse". PC Format rated the game a 4%, the lowest rating the magazine had ever given to a video game. The game was considered by German game website Nexgam to be "a single joke and objectively certain the most rotten game that has ever been on a console."
Accolades and legacy
PC Gamer dubbed Plumbers Don't Wear Ties a "shallow, hateful waste of a game, [that] may very well be responsible for having killed the 3DO, interactive fiction, and the whale", naming it #1 on its "Must NOT Buy" list in May 2007. It was #27 in UGO Network's 102 "Worst Video Games of All Time", concluding "If you have the patience, check out a video walkthrough online of either the worst storyline in gaming history, or a post-modern masterpiece", and #4 in Screen Play's, calling the game a "hilariously dodgy FMV adventure with actors who make Home and Away look like Shakespeare." The game was also put in 411mania.com's 2008 "Hall of Shame", with writer Vincent Chiucchi stating "By Jove, this could very well be the worst game ever!" Even the game's cover art was one of 1UP.com's "Worst Videogame Box Covers", criticizing its use of clip art and fonts.
IGN has cited Plumbers Don't Wear Ties as "a symbol for everything that was wrong with giving a license to anyone that wanted one"; referring to the fact that 3DO publishers only needed to pay a $3 royalty per disc and did not have to join a stringent licensing program like other game consoles, which led to many low quality adult-oriented video games being released for the system.
- "Plumbers Don't Wear Ties credits". allgame. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- Plumbers Don't Wear Ties beginning credits.
- Kirin Entertainment contact info. Archived by the Internet Archive Way Back Machine from February 1999. Accessed from October 22, 2012.
- Kirin Entertainment company profile. Archived by the Internet Archive Way Back Machine from February 1999. Accessed from October 22, 2012.
- Seitz, Dan. ""Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties": Gaming’s First (and Only) Surrealist Softcore Adventure". Gaming. uproxx.com. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
- "Die, 16-bit, Die!". IGN. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- Plumbers Don't Wear Ties's end credits.
- Seitz, Dan (July 18, 2010). ""Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties": Gaming's First (and Only) Surrealist Softcore Adventure". Uproxx. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- Antico, Diego (2006). Antiquated Reviews: Plumbers Don't Wear Ties, Defunct Games.
- Plumbers Don't Wear Ties Overview, Allgame.
- Slaven, Andy (2002). The Video Game Bible. Trafford Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-55369-731-2. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
- Plumbers Don't Wear Ties Review. Video Games & Computer Entertainment. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- PC Gamer review. July 1994 issue. p. 75. Accessed from October 26, 2012.
- Plumbers Don't Wear Ties review. PC Format. 1994.
- Plumbers Don't Wear Ties. Nexgam. Accessed from March 2, 2013.
- Meli, Marissa (October 26, 2012). "The Worst Video Games of All Time". PC Gamer. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- "PC Gamer's Must NOT Buy". UGO Network. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
- "Re-Play: 100 worst games ever". Screen Play. The Age. March 17, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
- Chiucchi, Vincent. The Hall of Shame 10.08.08: Plumbers Don't Wear Ties. 411mania.com. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
- Sharkey, Scott. "Hey Covers, You Suck! Part 6". 1UP.com. p. 14. Retrieved October 26, 2012.