This was developed in cooperation with the American Medical Association and the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI). There was even a toll-free phone number, 1-800-HI-WALLY, in which kids could hear a few phrases from their bear hero. Amazingly, it remained active until October 2007, 15 years after the game was released.
As it was released without Nintendo's approval, the cartridge came with a charge pump intended to knock Nintendo's CIC chip offline, thereby bypassing their strict licensing requirements. However, a later revision of the NES included safeguards to thwart such workarounds, forcing AVE to include instructions on how to modify an existing NES console.note
This game provides examples of:
- The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Ricky Rat and his (crack) rock-throwing minions force Toby Turtle to take some pills as initiation into their gang.
- The Alcoholic: Larry Lizard is described as "drinking from a funny-looking bottle and acting strange". Wally has to stop him from driving while drunk.
- Alliterative Name: Wally is the only character whose Species Surname doesn't start with the same letter as his first name. Everyone else has a name like Ricky Rat, Toby Turtle, or Larry Lizard.
- Crapsack World: Bomb ghettos, underground demon fortresses, snake caves, and every other building is half-blown up. And this is just if you want to go to your uncle's house.
- Drugs Are Bad: Naturally, since it's a game for an anti-drug campaign. Almost cutscene has Wally informs one of his friends about the perils of substance abuse, literally saying "taking drugs is stupid" at one point.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Your enemies range from dogs, birds, drug-pushing rats, and that's just the least interesting ones.
- Free-Range Children: Wally Bear and the No Gang are allowed to go to Uncle Gary Grizzly's house alone. Wally's path a least goes through a demilitarized ghetto with people throwing bombs out their windows all day, a snake cave, and what can only be described as an underground demon fortress.
- Funny Animal: Wally Bear, the No Gang, Uncle Gary, Wally's parents... Really, if it's not an enemy, it's one of these.
- Furry Confusion: Wally is attacked by several non-anthropomorphic bulldogs throughout the game, but one of his friends is an anthropomorphic poodle.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Neither Wally's dad nor his uncle wear any pants.
- One-Hit Point Wonder: Wally can only take one hit unless he carries a frisbee power-up.
- Parking Garage: The setting for the sixth level is a multi-storied building filled with cars, where Wally has to stop Larry Lizard from driving while drunk (by pelting multiple copies of him with frisbees).
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Everything is out to kill you as sleepy lullaby music plays.
- Totally Radical: The titular Wally Bear sports sunglasses, a backwards baseball cap, a skateboard, and can use a frisbee.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Wally's trip to his uncle's house involves castles, decrepit ghettos, guys randomly throwing bombs, and a subway system that passes right through an underground snake fortress. Despite all of that, the only thing observed as weird in this world is substance abuse problems. At the very least, this is some sort of bizarre Crapsack World.
- Wraparound Background: Courtesy of a very repetitive tileset, the game's levels tend to lean towards this effect.
- Writing Around Trademarks: The game was originally supposed to be called Wally Bear and the Just Say No Gang, but former first lady Nancy Reagan already trademarked the phrase.
Stay Smart! Don't Start!