Plumbers Don't Wear Ties
|Plumbers Don't Wear Ties|
3DO cover art
Kirin Entertainment (3DO)
|Platform(s)||3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Windows|
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties is an adult-oriented "romantic comedy" graphic adventure game/dating sim developed and published by Kirin Entertainment for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. Although the game did have a PC version, it had very limited distribution and was published by United Pixtures itself. The game stars Edward J. Foster and Jeanne Basone as John and Jane, two people who are being pressured by their respective parents to go out and find a spouse. The player's task is to get John and Jane together.
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties received negative attention for its lacklustre production value, nonsensical storyline, poor acting and humor, and for primarily being presented as a slideshow despite being advertised as a full motion video game. As a result, it is considered one of the worst games of all time.
The only interaction is where the player gets to choose the storyline (two to three choices at a time) in a DVD menu-style manner, although there are only one to two right choices. The player will use the D-pad (or mouse in the PC version) 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 to make the right choice.
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 the 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), 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.
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 canceled an hour before. When Jane gets very upset about this, Thresher 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, Thresher attempts to rape her and eventually Jane runs away from him. When John finds her being chased by Thresher, he comes in and saves her, and Thresher, 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). Later, she is shot multiple times by Armis, who then returns as narrator.
After the chase, Thresher 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, and Jane to be turned into a prostitute. 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 with Thresher who is going to get arrested after calling the police, and John and Jane return to the parking lot where they first met.
Several possible endings exist in the game. If John doesn't fight with Thresher in the parking lot, Thresher will seduce John, and they two will suddenly become a couple before the game tells the player that they cannot be gay and should try again.
If John decides to fight Thresher in the parking lot, to help protect Jane, a few different alternative endings become possible.
If the "Hollywood Ending" is chosen, John defeats Thresher and refuses to become a pimp.
As a reward for being honorable, 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.
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties was developed by Fremont, California-based game company Kirin Entertainment, a subsidiary of Digital Stuff Inc. It was developed and produced by Michael Anderson. The musical score was provided by Martin Golnick and the Audio Micro music production library.
The PC version was actually developed before the 3DO version, but due to a limited number of copies being made it faded into obscurity; however, it was uploaded to archive.org and can be found on the Internet Archive. It features higher-quality audio than the 3DO version and uncensored cutscenes.
- Edward J. Foster as John
- Jeanne Basone as Jane
- Paul Bokor as Thresher
- Harry Armis as the Male Narrator and Jane's father
- Thyra Metz as Wilma, the Female Narrator
- Violetta Gevorkian as John's mother with Samantha Eggersoll providing her voice
- Danny Beyda
- Giovanni Cuarez
- Grant Swanson
- Daniel Taylor
- Soumaya Young
Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties is now widely 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 slideshow despite being advertised as a full motion video game (only its introduction was FMV) where it uses mostly still images instead of full motion graphics as well as random, out-of-place color filters. Other criticisms focused on its "surreal" 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.
Critical response to the game was overwhelmingly negative. Criticisms focused on the game's voice acting, controls for making a choice, and for using still frame footage instead of full motion video. In giving the game a meager 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, the game was simply a slideshow. In episode 74 of James Rolfe's Angry Video Game Nerd web series, he likened the unnecessary use of cosmetic filters to "some kind of experimental art project", and stated that Plumbers Don't Wear Ties should not be considered a game because of its gameplay, stating that he instead considers it "a slideshow that verges on being softcore porn" and still considers that description being a stretch. 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.
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!" It was included among the worst games of all time by GamesRadar in 2014.
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.
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