Weirdsday: It’s Mr. Pants (GBA)
It’s Mr. Pants is a puzzle game developed by Rare for the Gameboy Advance and released in 2005. The game basically involves forming squares out of the provided pieces. Not very complex in and of itself, but the game design, back story and it’s very strange titular character drive this into the weird.
The game itself reportedly went through several name changes including Nutcracker and Splonge. The title was shown at E3 in 2001 as a Donkey Kong game. Of course, it could not remain a Donkey Kong game once Nintendo and Rare parted ways in 2002, and a short time later, Rare announce the game as It’s Mr. Pants to be released with THQ to come out in 2004. THQ made a few edits for content, such as the Crayon Snake that circles around the board in Marathon Mode was originally called the “trouser snake”.
For a while (and some say to this day) Mr. Pants was even the de facto mascot for Rare, showing up in other games including Viva Pinata, Banjo Tooie, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, and in his reported first appearance ever, Jet Force Gemini. Mr. Pants also showed up in other Rare events memos and items. Sometimes fairly obvious, and other times as an easter egg. He was also the official responder on the Rare reader comments section of the company website for a time in the early 2000s.
So who is Mr. Pants? All sources indicate he is a poorly drawn man, wearing nothing but a pair of red undies, a bowler hat, and a mustache. He lives in Pantsland, with some other mentioned characters including Stoned Pants, his son Toby, Socks the Dog, and, of course, the
Trouser Crayon Snake.
So what about the game? Well, it is a basic puzzler really, colors, blocks, things disappearing.It was decent enough but honestly, it was the character of Mr. Pants that made the game anything of note. In puzzle mode, you are given a limited number of shapes to fill in the items on the screen so they disappear. In marathon mode, Crayon Snake slowly fills the outside squares and spirals in while you try to get as many points as possible. Each time you clear a block, crayon snake retreats some. Basic solid puzzle game type action
It’s Mr. Pants is an entertaining enough puzzle game, but the title character, story behind him, and the strange setting is what really makes this game pretty weird.