Mister Raroo Game Cartridge[GameSetWatch is proud to unveil Mister Raroo’s Hauntastic Voyage to Ghosty Ghost’s Island, the first release on our new video game publishing label, GameSetWatchGames. Designed by Mister Raroo, Hauntastic Voyage to Ghosty Ghost’s Island will soon be released for the Raroo Fun System game console. Note: Mister Raroo’s Hauntastic Voyage to Ghosty Ghost’s Island, GameSetWatchGames, and the Raroo Fun System exist solely in the mind of Mister Raroo!]

Junior Game Designer

I fancied myself something of a game designer when I was in elementary school. However, I knew nothing about the technical side of developing video games. Instead, I thought that once imagined in the minds of their creators, video games were somehow just made by companies, as if it simply happened on its own. The idea that actual people were involved in the creation process didn’t even dawn upon me.

My lack of understanding led me to believe that if I had a “genius” idea for a video game, I could send my concept to one of my favorite game companies and within a few months that game would hit store shelves. And, of course, I’d be given a free copy of the game as a reward for my efforts. Naturally, I kept myself very busy by putting pencil to paper and drawing up the levels for my games.

Unfortunately, the companies I sent my video game ideas to didn’t seem to share my vision. To their credit, just about every time I eagerly mailed off my ideas, I received a response. Sadly, all the game companies had the same thing to say: “Sorry, we don’t solicit ideas for games from outside parties.”

I didn’t understand it. I believed my game concepts to be absolutely brilliant. Who wouldn’t love a game starring a guinea pig that had to make it through a series of perilous platforming levels so he could eat the evil carrot king waiting at the end? Or who wouldn’t want to play a game starring a boy with a broken arm named “Cat” who needed to rescue lost cats? It just didn’t make sense to me.

I wish I’d made copies of the game ideas I sent to companies because I never got them back. Most likely, my game designs found their way into the waste paper baskets at the desks of the individuals in charge of opening mail at the various companies. It would be neat to be able revisit the output of my childhood imagination, but all I have left are faint memories of my game ideas.

Reawakening the Imagination

Being the father of a toddler has reminded me that the world is filled with magic. As an adult, we lose sight of this fact and take for granted the innumerable astounding things that we encounter each moment of the day. Watching my son Kaz find amazement in something as simple as a bird flying overhead or a car driving past is inspiring.

Kazuo's LaughterThis wonderment that Kaz possesses has also helped me to reexamine how even the tiniest details in video games can be captivating. For instance, recently he was sitting on my lap as I was playing Klonoa and would giggle like crazy at the sound Klonoa makes when he is blown upward by wind currents. I was prompted to make Klonoa ride those wind blasts over and over just so I could hear the heartwarming sound of Kaz’s laughter.

Playing Klonoa with Kaz was a wake-up call that I often overlook so many of the small details that fill the games I play. Because I have such a limited amount of time to play video games these days, I sometimes hurry a bit too much, simply trying to make a dent in the stacks of neglected games sitting around my house. Kaz has reminded me to slow down and take notice of the little things, just being content to enjoy the experience at hand.

When I take time to appreciate the minute aspects that had been previously ignored, it paints a better picture of how much work often goes into making video games. Once again using the example of Klonoa, it’s possible to rush through its stages in a fairly short amount of time, but that would be counterproductive to enjoying the game as it was meant to be played. Namely, Klonoa’s world is one of dreamlike imagination, and immersing yourself in that experience is what makes the game so special.

In large part, learning once again to take notice of the inventive work of game developers has rekindled my own imagination, bringing back memories of how in my youth I would pour every ounce of my creative power into concepts for video games. When Kaz looks at video games through his eyes, he sees magic—and recognizing this has helped me to do the same, too.

My imagination may still not be nearly as powerful as it was before I transitioned into adulthood, but Kaz’s enthusiasm for the world is contagious, and it’s helped to dust off many of the cobwebs in the creative parts of my brain. It’s also made me wonder if perhaps my childhood game design ideas were truly magnificent after all, and the game companies missed out by not making my concepts a reality!

To the Rescue!

Raroo Game Title ScreenTo put my reinvigorated imagination to the test, I thought it would be fun to see if I could take my childhood game design experience and make use of it as an adult. Most of the games I designed as a kid were platformers, and therefore I’ve decided to follow suit here. And being that my favorite childhood (and adulthood!) holiday was Halloween, it made perfect sense to place the game world into a haunted setting.

Thus, I present to you: Mister Raroo’s Hauntastic Voyage to Ghosty Ghost’s Island, the first release from GameSetWatchGames, created specifically for the new Raroo Fun System game console. Mister Raroo’s Hauntastic Voyage to Ghosty Ghost Island puts you in control of none other than Mister Raroo himself as he tries to rescue Missus Raroo and Little Raroo from the clutches of Ghosty Ghost, a grumpy spirit and aspiring game writer.

Ghosty Ghost became jealous and spiteful after his potential GameSetWatch column, “Ghosty Games,” was rejected in favor of “Game Time With Mister Raroo.” Help Mister Raroo navigate through a series of haunted levels on his way to Ghosty Ghost’s castle so he can reunite with his family!

The game’s title screen features a very worried-looking Mister Raroo. You’d be worried, too, if your wife and son had been kidnapped by a ghost! Let’s not dillydally! Press Start so we can hop into the game world and save Mister Raroo’s family, already!

Haunted Shipyard

Mister Raroo arrives by boat to the haunted island that Ghosty Ghost calls home. The shipyard is more of a boat graveyard, with the carcasses of all manner of sea vessels littered throughout the stage, making navigation a challenge.

Watch out for foes such as undead pirates and skeleton sharks! Mister Raroo is no pushover, though. Not only can he fire peanuts from his trunk, but he can jump on top of his foes to take them out.

Also, did you know elephants can swim? Players who search below the ocean’s surface might find something interesting…

Haunted City

Something seems different about this city. Maybe that’s because it’s literally a ghost town! Watch out for the ghost folks as they go about their daily business.

Haunted bus drivers seem more concerned about getting ghost businessmen to the Spook Exchange than running over Mister Raroo, so be careful.

ProTip: It might be worth taking the time to see what happens if Mister Raroo falls down the manhole on Graves Avenue.

Haunted Toy Store

Mister Raroo finally manages to escape the hustle and bustle of the city by ducking into a massive toy store. In retrospect, this might not have been such a smart move.

The store has not yet opened for business and the toys were still asleep. Haunted toys don’t take kindly to being woken up, especially when it’s by a big elephant with loud footfalls.

Mister Raroo had better make haste to the store’s exit. But what’s this blocking the door? A giant toy pachyderm! This doesn’t look promising.

Haunted Countryside

Finally escaping the haunted city and its enormous toy store, Mister Raroo heads across the countryside on his way toward Ghosty Ghost’s castle. With rows of crops, wheat fields, and the occasional barn or silo as far as the eye can see, one would assume Mister Raroo has little to worry about.

Unfortunately, the zombie scarecrows, cawing crows, and skeleton farmers that inhabit this area don’t share this sentiment. They mistake Mister Raroo for a crop thief and do all they can to block his progress.

As if that weren’t enough, the many grazing ghost cows in the fields make for an unexpected bovine obstacle course. And, don’t look now, but lying in wait is a massive combine harvester driven by a haunted horticulturalist.

Haunted Forest

Forests can be creepy enough on their own, let alone when they’re haunted. The whole forest seems to be alive and upset at Mister Raroo’s presence. From chipmunks ghouls throwing acorns to angry trees swinging their branches like swords, it looks like Mister Raroo will be in for a tough journey.

Things go from bad to worse when Mister Raroo accidentally disturbs a colony of hibernating bears. And you thought sleeping toys got angry when they were woken up! Bears can be dangerous foes to handle when they’re alive, but as spooks it’s a whole new ballgame.

Players might want to make their way up to the treetops, as something special may await them. But tread carefully, for a greater danger may lurk up there as well…

Haunted Cemetary

Sure, a haunted cemetery might seem a little redundant, but that doesn’t make navigating through the maze of tombstones in the cemetery surrounding Ghosty Ghost’s castle any less of a challenge.

The cemetery’s inhabitants enjoy their peace and quiet, so it’s safe to say they don’t necessarily appreciate the sound of a massive elephant running overhead—and they’re not afraid to rise from their graves to shoo him away!

Meanwhile, the cemetery’s mysterious mortician and his army of gravediggers do everything in their power to put a halt to Mister Raroo’s progress.

Showdown With Ghosty Ghost

Finally, Mister Raroo reaches Ghosty Ghost’s massive castle! The end appears to be in sight and soon Mister Raroo will hopefully rescue his family.

Each area of the castle is drastically different from the next, so Mister Raroo will have to keep on his toes as he travels through locations such as the Recreation Room, the Reading Room, the Trophy Room, the Master Bedroom, the Kitchen, the Courtyard, the Indoor Swimming Pool, the Movie Theater, and much more. Also, it might be worth taking the time to do some extra snooping in the Video Game Room.

Getting through the castle takes almost as much time as all of the game’s other levels combined, and the finale showdown with Ghosty Ghost and his spirit army is no walk in the park by any means. Ghosty Ghost pulls out all the stops and makes for a difficult and tricky nemesis, but Mister Raroo is no slouch, either, and his determination to rescue his family might just give him the edge. Needless to say, the final battle will surely be an epic and memorable one.

Thank You For Playing

Congratulations! Mister Raroo is reunited with his family! Ghosty Ghost’s plans to write his column for GameSetWatch are foiled! Thank you for playing!

But, what’s this? Is there a ghostly figure lurking in the background? Uh-oh…

[Mister Raroo is a happy husband, proud father, full-time public library employee, and active gamer. He currently lives in El Cajon, CA with his family and many pets. In addition to writing for GameSetWatch, Mister Raroo irregularly writes content for his blog, Moments. You may reach Mister Raroo at mister.raroo@gmail.com.]