Welcome to our weekly feature, Virtually Overlooked, wherein we talk about games that aren't on the Virtual Console yet, but should be. Call it a retro-speculative.
Hudson's J.J. & Jeff isn't particularly obscure. But it happens to be one of our favorite Turbografx-16 games, and we really like talking about it. If Hudson really plans to release every US Turbografx-16 game, then we have to hurry up and get our longform rambles out while we can! Plus, apparently some people don't like this game, and, while they're entitled to their crazy, wrong opinions, we feel like it deserves defending.
Why the game hasn't been announced for Virtual Console yet:
Well, by the virtue of being a Turbografx game, it kind of has! We can't imagine why Hudson decided to put Vigilante on the VC instead of this game.
Why we think it should be on the Virtual Console:
J.J. & Jeff is, in our opinion, the best of the Adventure Island-style platformers, a genre exemplified by aspects like constantly diminishing life that must be refilled by collecting airborne fruit, and alternating low/high jumping. Instead of, well, an island adventure, J.J. & Jeff occurs in a very videogamey Japanese suburbia, full of randomly attacking animals, floating platforms and surprise dragon monsters, all of which are extremely bizarre against the backdrop of a boring city park or a sewer. You play one of two big-headed dudes in suits who are pretty much identical except that one has sunglasses. The character you don't choose will appear throughout the game, either in hidden rooms where he tells you jokey nonsense and refills your life, or throughout the level where he makes a general jerk out of himself for no reason, throwing cans at you and urinating in public.
Hidden rooms and items are everywhere, and are found by kicking everything-- light poles, bathroom doors, garbage cans, random bricks, and anything else that seems vaguely kickable. If you're lucky, a door will open, and your partner will fill your lifebar or grant you invincibility. If you're extra lucky, he'll do this in a vampire costume, for no reason! Or you could get a coin, which are used to grant extra lives and lifebar extensions in a slot machine minigame. And if you aren't lucky? Poop.
J.J. & Jeff was a localization of Kato-chan and Ken-chan, which originally starred a Japanese comedy duo of the same name. The original game was somewhat ruder, and we can only imagine that the jokes were funnier. But that doesn't mean that the US version is worthless. The humor is enjoyable in that unique hacked-together-by-translators way, and of course the gameplay is excellent. That's not to say that we wouldn't like to see the original on the Virtual Console, though, Hudson.