“So, this is New Jersey.”
It’s a line I’ve never forgotten, and it’s one that still makes me laugh some seventeen years later. Yes, that’s right. Gex came out for the PlayStation in 1995, y’all. I was just a teenybopper by the time I got to play it. Anyways, our titular amphibian hero voiced by comedian Dana Gould slips out the stately jest presented above upon arriving at the final boss level in Rez’s futuristically dystopian city Rezopolis. Even as a boy, I knew that making fun of the Garden State was a thing, and so I cherished this moment.
The game itself was all right. An action platformer starring–what Sony probably wanted to join their mascot team, which included Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and Lara Croft–an anthropomorphic juvenile gecko. The plot is as so and I will give it to you as straight-faced as possible: After Gex’s father dies in a space shuttle accident, Gex becomes a shut-in, spending all his days and nights watching television. His mother, in a fit of desperation, gives the TV away to a bunch of gypsies. Upset, Gex runs away from home. Soon after, there’s another death in the family, and Gex inherits a large sum of moolah, which he uses to move back to Maui, buy a mansion and big-screen TV, and a ridiculous amount of food so he can remain a shut-in again. Unfortunately, the villainous Rez sucks Gex into the TV in hopes of turning him into the mascot for the hellish Media Dimension. Yup. Hey, it was the 90s.
Gameplay-wise, nothing amazing. Typical platforming with colorful character and themed worlds. You jump, you attack enemies with your tail, you collect items, and you complete levels on an overworld map. There’s also a mechanic that maybe is paying homage to Super Mario World, where Gex will attach himself all lizard-like to a wall and crawl up and down it. It’s nifty. And so you go left to right, collecting TV remote controls and listening to Gex slam a bunch of different properties, namely Full House, Ben Franklin, Dick Clark, Rick James, Wendy’s, and much, much more. The lines as I remember them were genuinely funny, and much more effective than the work voicework in games like Bubsy and Blasto.
Other than that quote, what I remember most about Gex is that since it was one of the first games to come out for the Sony PlayStation, it sported one of those giant cases. You know what I’m talking about. They were like the size of a small hardcover book if that book also wore a top hat. Hilarious and definitely a piece of packaging history. Wish I still had my copy if only to figure out how to fit it aesthetically on a shelf with my other videogames.
GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.