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Video Game / Dottori-Kun

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Yes, this was made in 1990.
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Dottori-Kun is a 1990 arcade game by Sega.

The gameplay is very straightforward and simplistic. You're a car racing through eleven mazes, trying to grab all the dots in each one while dodging X's. Your car can't brake, but it can change directions when it finds an opening, and your only advantage over the opponent is a turbo button. Even scraping against your enemy will cause the screen to reset. In later levels, more opponents are added, and they begin to speed up.

Does that sound familiar? This wasn't intended to be a particularly original game, nor was it intended to be played in arcades. This game is a tiny PCB that was made to comply with a regulation in Japan that said that arcade cabinets had to contain a working game of some kind. Several companies, including Sega, created tiny, low-budget "games" that would be sold with their arcade cabinets. Dottori-Kun was intended to removed from the cabinet by the arcade owner and replaced with another, better game. It was also used to test the hardware of the cabinet.

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Tropes found in this "game":

  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The X's do not have their own turbo abilities in order to make sure that the game is at least fair for you. However, they begin to speed up as the game progresses.
    • You can hold down in a certain direction to change lanes before you reach a gap, which makes movement faster and easier.
  • Collision Damage: The X's kill you by colliding with you.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Dying resets the entire maze, forcing you to collect all of the dots that you already collected.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: There is no difference between the eleven mazes.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The game is entirely black and white in order to save on costs.
  • Difficulty by Acceleration: As the game progresses, the X's move at a faster and faster rate.
  • Endless Game: There aren't any changes after the eleventh level, but the game keeps going anyway.
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  • Game Mod: In 2016, the game was modded into DOTTORI-MAN Jr., featuring color and elements from Jr. Pac-Man. This is notable as being one of the few game mods to be added into MAME.
  • Maze Game: The game is similar to Pac-Man, but you play as a car with no method of fighting back against your opponents.
  • Minimalism: All of the gameplay elements and graphics are as minimalistic and generic as possible.
  • Minimalist Cast: The only characters are Dottori-Kun himself and at most three X's.
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: A 1 on the scale. The only violent thing is crashing into an X, but nothing happens because of it other than the level restarting.
  • No Ending: After the eleventh level, the game keeps going without reaching an end.
  • No Name Given: The X's are never given names in the game.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Dottori-Kun sounds like he is a dot of some kind, but he is actually a race-car shaped like an arrow.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The game doesn't have a plot; just collect dots and avoid all of the moving X's.
  • Not the Intended Use: The game was never meant to be "played" in the first place. Despite this, some people have studied the game and have even made speedruns of it.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Dottori-Kun dies as soon as he touches an X.
  • Protagonist Title: The game is named after Dottori-Kun, the protagonist and the character controlled by the player.
  • Retraux: This game was made in 1990, but it looks like it was made in the days of Pong or Breakout.
  • Silence Is Golden: Sound is intentionally left out in order to save on costs.
  • Stylistic Suck: The game was intended to be bland and uninteresting because it was a low-budget PCB that was supposed to be replaced with a better game.
  • Two Decades Behind: If this was actually made playable in an arcade you'd be forgiven for thinking it was released in the mid-1970s, not 1990.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: All of the X's look the exact same.
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