“Ages 3 to 6” is printed on the hideous box for Color a Dinosaur. “3 to 6″… That alone should be a brontosaurus-sized red flag on its own for any video game, but this is not a video game. Color a Dinosaur is a distraction at best; A pointless, boring, hideous distraction.
Developed by FarSight Studios and published by Virgin Games in 1993, Color a Dinosaur is an art program released for the NES where you do just what the title suggests. You pick from a list of pre-drawn coloring-book-style dinosaurs at the start, and you are taken to a menu where you have 10 patern options to fill the dino in. You can also change the color filter from a small palette, but it does little to reduce the monotony. When you are done, pressing start returns you to the dinosaur selection screen.
That’s really all there is to this “game”. It is simple, bland, and is hands-down one of the worst flops on the system. This also an interesting successor to another piece of bad FarSight art software for the NES called Videomation, which I may do an article on in the future. So, the question is: Why do an article on something so bland? Well, let’s start with a little backstory…
As a company, FarSight does not have the best track record. They’re history revolves primarily around party games, casual fare and sports games that nobody else wanted to make such as the “Backyard” sports titles of the late-aughts, the pathetically-dull Game Party series and, most interestingly, the notorious Action 52 (the Genesis version, anyway), a title infamous both for being one of the worst video games of all time, and for intrudcing gamers to the failed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles knockoff Cheetahmen. The story behind Action 52 is so insane and so baffling that I would say it alone justifies an an entire article on FarBright Studios’ strange legacy that goes all the way up to the United States House of Representatives (I wish I were kidding).
Color A Dinosaur can only be described as hot-garbage, and if it weren’t for its shocking rarity, it would be a scrap among scraps. However, as of my writing this article, this dull, ugly, anti-game sits just over $100 in value just for the cartridge on the collector’s market. It is indicative of how strange and unpredictable the retro game collectors’ market is, especially considering just ten years ago this game was going for less than $20. Somewhere between then and now, this strange video game anomaly has skyrocketed in price in a dramatic fashion and is still trending upwards. It is likely to be one of those titles that plummets in value with the collector’s bubble, but something this odd going for so much is telling of just how finicky game collectors are as a greater market.