Cart Art: Sweet Color Dreams Are Made of These

When I was a wee video game playing child in the late 1980’s, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was the end all, be all of my video game world. At the same time, my father took a part time job at a local Video rental store. I personally think he took the job to help feed my video game rental addiction at the time. I rented just about every NES game the store had. One fateful day, a new game came into the store and it has this crazy powder blue cartridge. The publisher, a little company called Color Dreams. Color Dream made a series of NES game that did not carry the Nintendo Seal of Approval, they were unlicensed games. And they stunk. And so did the covers.

Baby Boomer
Baby Boom

Best Rated Light Gun game my butt! I will give this cover one thing, it does kind of sum up the game. You have to defend a baby from various creatures as it traverses a level (very similar to the Nintendo game Gumshoe) by blasting them with your zapper. I wish I was making that up. Why does the bat (ARGHHHH BATS!) have big goofy eyes while the snake and spider are far more serious and deadly looking? You know what, I’m done with this cover. Just looking at this cover brings up the memories of playing this game. At least with the other covers, I never played the games. . . and never will.

Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu
MC and DH

That is such a great title. Every time you say it, you want to smile. As for the art work, well that makes me smile a lot less. You have the Drunkard Hu in blue (well I assume since he has the liquor bottle), doing some sort of weird leg kick while hold a ying-yang symbol and a jug of moonshine. The jug has that cartoon “XXX” on it to determine it is rotgut. Did they use that in ancient China to signal that the bottle of filled alcohol? Master Chu seems to having a bad day, getting stepped on by some sort of golden, sword wielding, multi-headed Shiva/Budda/Something statue. 10 worlds of adventure, 1 cover of crap.

Pesterminator: The Western Exterminator

You know what? I like this cover. I feel like I am looking at old timey cartoon that was for children but had a bunch of jokes for adults. I enjoy the man with top and mallet as he apparently berates a bib wearing mouse right before he smashes him over the head. I do wonder why the background is in color but the characters are in black and white but I think that adds to the charm. However, if you are going to use a large red mallet for the first “T” why not use it for the second “T” in Pesterminator? That’s just being lazy.

Operation Secret Storm
Op Se St

If anyone has played this game or is willing to play this game, please let me know. I am curious to know exactly what this game is about, but not curious or masochistic enough to play it. I came up with about 50 jokes for this cover, all of them unfit to print on a family site like The Retroist. Just use you imagination.

Robo demons

This cover is insanely busy. First we have our hero, decked out in some sort of late 1990’s extreme sports, down hill rollerblading outfit. His weapon of choice, a radioactive boomerang. In his other hand is some. . . .kind of. . . hour glass. . . face mask? I could probably do a whole article just about that outfit but I will spare you the pain. Is it me or does the green tentacle monster at our hero’s feet look like Kodos or Kang, the alien characters from The Simpsons? The four marching guys look like silvered out versions of our hero. I guess if you palette swap during the game, why not palette swap the guys on the cover. We have some red dragons up there and some sort of big headed robot guys peeking through the hole in the wall. What a mess, just a terrible, terrible mess. This cover makes me want to dig out my eye balls with my plutonium boomerang and feed them to that green octopus monster. It could use an extra eye or two.

Someone pinch me, because we have come to the end of this Color Dream and need to wake up. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave send me an email at or leave a note in the comments section. If their is a theme or cover you would like to see in a future Cart Art, please comment or email away. Now if you excuse me, I need to take a huge swing from my “XXX” jug. It is the only thing at this point that helps me escape from my personal Robodemons from my Color Nightmares


OffisaPups is a lover of fine retro gaming (video as well as board), classic comic strips and has a noggin filled with decades of television ads and song lyrics. Due to fears of a zombie apocalypse, do not approach OffisaPups while groaning, staggering with out-stretched arms, or requesting brains. Needless to say, OffisaPups has a very understanding and patient wife and a daughter who has no hope of a normal, non-dork upbringing.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. I vaguely remember playing the “Master Chu” game, I looked the game up on Youtube and seeing it made some memories come back. It’s better looking that I was thinking, I can’t remember if it was just awful to play or not.

  2. Great cart art (I bet you get bored of hearing that). I will say that Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu is not as bad as people make out, it could have been made into a genuine title if they had sorted out small things with the game. It is worth a try though, Not great but not complete trash. I would really like to see you compare boxarts from the US the the European counterparts at some point I know there are some games out there that had major differences.

  3. Oh man, what crazy covers.
    I feel compelled to point my finger in disgust at all of them.
    Here’s what my finger is saying:

    Baby Boomers – Child endangerment is against the law and offenders will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, even for victimized fictional cartoon babies.
    I think the bat is the one realizing that, ergo the googly eyes.

    Master Chu etcetera: What kind of messed-up game presents its titular ‘hero’ flattened by a foe, right off the bat. Wu is supposed to be the drunkard.

    Pesterminator: Berating a rodent target before flattening them with a mallet is just cruel and unusual. Just do it, already.
    Notice this is the Western version of the game. Eastern pesterminators have to work alongside its poor hungry rodent population to gather foodstuff for the masses.
    Silly socialists.

    Operation Secret Storm: omg

    Robodemons: The only cover that doesn’t set me in a fitful fury of justified moral affrontery.
    I do believe that *is* a peace-seeking Kang or Kodos attempting to stop Robodemon from massacring his fellow compatriots.
    Why? Because they won’t adopt red as a fashion option? Because they prefer ray guns to boomerangs?
    Someone has to tell Robodemon his faceplate mask is transparent and anonymity is not forthcoming. Maybe that’s why the Simpsons’ alien is trying to stop the madness.
    No good can come of this.

    Great choice for cart art, offisapups.
    Though I’ll need further therapy to recover.

  4. OffisaPups, each and every one of these is what in my youth I would call a shelf warmer. They would just sit there month after month, gazing up at us video store workers just begging to be brought home and played.

    Another great round of choices! :)

  5. Here in Los Angeles, we have a fairly large exterminator company that uses the Pesterminator guy as his logo. Would that possibly make this a licensed game? I can’t remember the name of the company, but I don’t think it is Pesterminator. And, is Saddam’s face next to a cutaway tree trunk? Those look like tree rings to me…

  6. @Vivvectrex You are 100% correct. After doing a little research (read: slapdash internet search), indeed Pesterminator is based off the mascot for a pest control business in CA called Western Exterminators ( I have no clue if they got the license to use the character. Since the Colordream Games were unlicensed by Nintendo, thier diligence in getting the rights to use that mascot is suspect. In retrospect, I should have known. After all, this was the only cover I sort of liked and now I find out that the character did not come from the mind of a Colordream artist. It all makes sense. . . well as much as sense as a video game about a mascot for a California pest control service can make. Makes we wish for the “slick” and “smooth” gameplay of Yo Noid!

    Side note: Cool Spot: The best product placement masscot game ever?

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