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Plumbers Don't Wear Ties - Panasonic 3DO - Angry Video Game Nerd - Episode 74

The Nerd: I remember in the early 90's seeing commercials for the 3DO. It was advertised as the most advanced gaming system and it forced itself right into your face, like: "If you don't get this thing, you're gonna get left in the dust." It even went out of its way to insult Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, saying that those are just baby toys. Well, everybody I knew had those "baby toys" and nobody - I repeat, nobody I have ever met owned a 3DO. Probably because its price in the US was $700. I mean, fuck. But you’d better buy it, because this is the REAL gaming console. That was its slogan, "REAL", because it's a real piece of shit.

This new interactive CD-ROM technology sort of blurred the line between games and movies. Was this the new future of gaming? Nobody knew, and nobody wanted to be the guinea pig. Usually, you get the chance to play the new hot gaming console over at a friend's house, but nobody had it. So the 3DO came and went, and now, it's just a curious piece of history. There were many different models. This right here is the FZ-1, made by Panasonic. It only has one controller input. Wow. Now that's what you call an advanced system, isn't it? Instead of two controller inputs, let's just have one! Let's make it so you have to plug the second controller into the first controller and just daisy-chain them together. What were they fuckin' THINKING?!

Then there's the FZ-10, which is a top loader. Still, there's only one input. And the last one I have is the GoldStar. How many inputs? Heh, just one. You'd think if they made so many versions of the same game system, they'd eventually add another controller port! The games are obviously on CDs, which come in jewel cases, but the jewel cases come in these rectangular boxes. This makes it hard to fit on your shelf.

(The Nerd attempts to fit Captain Quazar into his shelf.)

The Nerd: What a waste of space! These are the most oversized game boxes I've ever seen. They're even bigger than the Neo Geo boxes, and Neo Geo games are huge cartridges, so they have a perfect reason to make a big box to hold a big game. But these are just CDs! It's completely unnecessary! Now, to be fair, there are some good games on the 3DO, including the definitive home port of Super Street Fighter II Turbo. A lot of the more gimmicky games show off the CD technology, and are more like watching a movie than playing a game at all. Some of them are pretty impressive for its time, like Wing Commander III, which features big name actors like Malcolm McDowell and Mark Hamill.

I searched high and low to find the worst possible 3DO game in this category, and I believe I've found it: It’s called Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties. Judging from the box, I don’t even know what to think of it. “An interactive romantic comedy – a plumber, a daddy’s girl, chickens, crazed yuppies, evil bosses, shower scenes, race cars, pandas, a nun”?

(The Nerd looks at the game box, and he seems confused.)


(He notices another inscription which is upside down.)

The Nerd: Oh, what’s this? (turns the game box over) “Get it?” NO! I don’t get it!

(The Nerd starts the game.)

Jane: Hi, my name’s Jane. We hardly know each other, but that’s about to change.

The Nerd: This is interesting.

Jane: Put your big muscular arm around me and whisper sweet nothings in my ear, and I promise to do whatever your little heart desires. 

The Nerd: Wow.

Jane: Now, listen up, the rules of the game are real simple. You see, I meet this guy in the parking lot, and YOU are supposed to identify with this guy…

The Nerd: So she talks for three minutes as the camera zooms in on her breasts, then the title screen pops up. You can’t be serious. It looks like a Kindergarten student did this in Microsoft Paint. And listen to this stock music. This has to be the worst title screen I’ve ever seen. Then come the credits. Race cars? Why’s the color in negative? And then it goes in a sort of a mosaic. Looks like a bad-quality picture off the web. Then it goes to, like, a vertical letter box. The titles are so bland; there’s no drop shadow to separate them from the background, and the colors are picked at random, like a child selecting random pieces of chalk on a sidewalk. And it just goes on and on

Why are we watching still images of race cars? Why all the wacky filters? Why does it keep showing a naked guy lying in bed? Why is there a panda in a car on the bed? Why’d they leave so much extra space when they cut out the panda from whatever background it originally belonged to? Why’s the perspective butchered so badly? It doesn’t even look like it’s really there! But then, why would it be there anyway? Now, why’s it just a head of a panda?! Why would there ever be a floating head of a panda next to someone’s bed?! We haven’t even gotten through the credits yet, and this game is already a pile of monkey fuck.

(Noise of car accident, then a face-packed aged woman appears.)

The Nerd: Okay, what’s this?

(A phone rings, the screen fades away.)

The Nerd: What’s going on? Okay, so the credits are finally over, and now we get a slide show.

John's Mom: It’s your mother, now get your ass outta bed. I know you’re there, John. John? I said get up, get up, John.

The Nerd: “Get outta bed, Jooohn! Get outta beeeed!” Yeah, great concept. Every game should begin with two minutes of some guy’s mom trying to get him out of bed.

John's Mom: Stop smart-mouthing with me, young man! Why is it I haven’t seen you with any woman? Why is that, John? Don’t you like women anymore? (gasps, shocked) John, are you GAY?!

The Nerd: (finds that line completely ridiculous) What?

John's Mom: Cut the crap and listen to me – it’s time you got married. You need children. I need grandchildren! I need my only child to bear fruit, and in my lifetime! Don’t you love your mother?

The Nerd: This is not a game. This is like watching a movie. Or no, it isn’t. A movie is something that moves! This doesn’t move, it’s a bunch of still images! If the beginning was actual video, why couldn’t the rest be?

(The screen fades away.)

The Nerd: Oh, thank God that’s over. Now maybe we get to play the game.

Jane's Dad: Where are you, Jane?

Jane: You called me, Dad, don’t you know where I’m at?

The Nerd: What?! There’s more of this shit?!

Jane's Dad: Why the hell aren’t you married yet, Jane? In that last scene, that bitch of a mother told her son to have kids!

The Nerd: And keep in mind, you’re seeing the abridged version. I’ve been sitting here for nearly ten minutes so far.

Jane's Dad: Christ’s sake, girl, how long does it take these days? You ain’t that busy! Now dammit Jane, you get on the stick and make some babies for your poor old father!

The Nerd: So there’s our story: John and Kate [He meant to say "Jane"] are both pressured by each of their parents to find a significant other. Then we get a montage set to rockabilly music. Apparently, both Jane and John, these two unrelated characters, are taking showers at the same exact moment. There’s a code to remove the censor bars, or censor face-with-a-nose, but that’s only if you really want to see John’s hairy ass that much. They drag these scenes on as long as possible. Why is any of this necessary? Do we need to see their whole daily routine - changing clothes, lifting weights, playing with cats, trying on more clothes, playing air guitar with a plunger? Oh, so is he a plumber? Well, the game’s called Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties, so I guess it makes sense: he’s a plumber, and I don’t see him wearing a tie… (images of John wearing a tie) WHAT THE FUCK?! You can’t even trust the damn title!

And it keeps on going. We see everything: he gets on a motorcycle, she gets in a car, she’s putting on lipstick, he drops his mail in the mailbox- Come on! Why is that important? Then finally, Jane and John meet in the parking lot.

John: Wow! It’s 8 o’clock and I’m seein’ a 10! What I wouldn’t give to do her plumbing…

The Nerd: Yeah, okay…

(Cycling pictures of John gazing at Jane and she at him.)

The Nerd: Okay? Okayyy? What the fuck?

Narrator: We know she’d like to meet him. She knows she’d like to meet him. But does John know she’d like to meet him?

The Nerd: And now we get a narrator? After fifteen minutes of this crap, all of a sudden, we need a narrator to start explaining it?

Narrator: It’s up to you, sport.

The Nerd: Then FINALLY, we get a choice of what happens next.

Narrator: So, who do you want to make the first move? If you want John to do it, hit A now.

The Nerd: This is the first time there’s any interactivity with this game whatsoever, but it’s just as much interactive as playing with the menus on a DVD. There’s games like Night Trap and Dragon’s Lair, which are like movies, and there’s not a lot of actual gameplay. But this piece of shit is way, way below that. This isn’t even in the same category as those kind of games. It’s the bare minimum of what you can actually call a "game".

Narrator: Do girls actually like guys who are really aggressive? I don’t think so.

The Nerd: But what makes it even worse is, uh… the control. Yeah, you might be wondering: “How the fuck could the control be bad on something like this?” Well, what happens: The highlighter gets stuck. At first, I thought my D-Pad was broken, but no. What it is: you have to wait for the narration to finish.

Narrator #2: John throws caution to the wind and pursues Jane… Be careful!

The Nerd: Every fucking time you move, you have to hear the same thing before you can use the D-Pad again!

Narrator #1: Do girls actually like guys who are really aggressive? I don’t think so.

The Nerd: (tries to push buttons) What the fuck?!

Narrator #1: Have John wait later on.

The Nerd: So Jane rejects John and goes to a job interview. Gotta love the elevator music. So then, we get a choice: either she gets the job, she doesn’t get the job, or the boss becomes a pervert.

Narrator: Note: You must be 18 or over to take a look at this decision.

The Nerd: ... You gotta be 18? (reads the game box) On the box, it says 17. This was before the rating system, but what kinda fucked-up rating is this? The box says 17, but for this one part, ya gotta be 18.

Thresher: You know, perhaps something can be worked out after all… Take your clothes off, Jane.

The Nerd: Oh, shit...!

Thresher: You know, we get at least 200 qualified applicants for every position here. It’s those people who do that little extra thing; they are the ones who get head – I mean, get ahead.

The Nerd: Ohhh, what a bad joke. It doesn’t even have any relevance now, he just told her to take off her clothes! He might as well say, straight-out, “suck my cock”!


The Nerd: What a pervert! And what’s with all the filters?

(Wrong answer sound effect.)

Narrator: Now see how your sick curiosity let Jane into this mess?!

The Nerd: Time for another decision: either she refuses to take off her clothes, or she accepts. Now, wait a minute… The first decision says: ”Our heroine declines the disgusting proposal”. But in the image, she seems to be taking off her clothes; while running away, but still. It doesn’t make any sense. Did they swap the images by accident? So let’s go with the more interesting choice. (Jane undresses, holding a whip and handcuffs) Damn! She just happened to have a whip and handcuffs?

(Thresher looks dumbfounded.)

The Nerd: (mocking Thresher) Wow, I had no idea she’d actually do it!

(Image of Jane and the boss, both naked, playing cowboy; the Nerd looks shocked in horror)


(Wrong-answer sound effect)

The Nerd: What’s with the crazy filters…?

Narrator: Oh, now you done it! You really done it! How could you make Jane into such a perverted young thing?! I’ve guided a lot of people through this story, but I’ve never seen such a disgusting series of plot choices in my life! (While he talks, he appears upside-down with a chicken head; the Nerd stares at the screen in total incomprehension.)

The Nerd: A fuckin' chicken mask! An upside-down, fuckin' chicken mask! (He tries to figure it out, but gives up and then just shrugs) So anyway, Mr. Chicken-Head scolds you for your bad decision and tells that you have one last chance. So let’s pick the other one and see what happens. (Cheering sound effect, Jane is undressed and looks triumphant)

So she strips down to her bra and skirt for no apparent reason. The boss grabs her leg, she kicks him in the face and runs for the door… Oh, no, she doesn’t run, she just stands there. The boss grabs a pen and comes after her like a deranged psychopath. And there’s Jane, just standing there… She even has time to go into the men’s room. The boss goes into the women’s room, and next thing, they’re both out in the hall. I don’t know. I don’t even like... understand this.

(The chase continues in the parking lot)

Now they’re outside and she has her clothes back on. I guess it was a public parking lot and they couldn’t just have a girl running around in a bra and skirt, I don’t know. Maybe the actress didn’t want to do it, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t follow any continuity. Then John sees what’s happening. Now, what was he doing in the parking lot the whole time? Just sitting on his motorcycle? So he comes running and I guess he’s going to save her. (Wrong-answer sound effect)

Oh no. It’s time for the narrator…

Narrator: Well, sport? You think you can handle this choice without getting the lowest score in the history of this game?

The Nerd: What, there’s somebody else who played this shit?!

(A karate girl appears next to the narrator)

Narrator: Who the hell are you?!

Karate Girl: I’m taking over this story!

The Nerd: Who’s this?

Narrator: Over my dead body! (They do battle, and the Nerd is flabbergasted by such stupidity)

The Nerd: I wonder how this would have all played out if it was actually moving.

(The karate girl has won the fight)

Karate Girl: Finally got rid of that obnoxious character, and that horrible music!

The Nerd: No kidding! At least the game’s self-aware.

Karate Girl: Name's Thelma. I’m what’s known as a takeover artist, wanted in 30 states for hijacking fiction.

The Nerd: So she’s taking over as the narrator. Why is this necessary? Do we not have enough narrators? On the selection screens, we have at least two different voices talking to us. And then on top of that, there’s this goofball, and now a fucking karate chick! So now she’s looking at the past choices we made, just so she can scold us and we have to hear the same shit all over again.

Thelma: These are the most disgusting series of plot choices I have ever seen!

The Nerd: Yeah, I get it.

Thelma: You deserve every minus point that you have gotten and even more!

The Nerd: I get it!

Thelma: I don’t believe it, how you could make those choices?!

The Nerd: Enough already!

Thelma: Were you raised in a barn?!

The Nerd: Could they possibly drag this out any longer?!

(Back to the chase scene)

Jane: Help me, help!

John: Run, Jane, run!

The Nerd: What? Her shirt’s back off again? Okay, so the parking lot was obviously not a problem, because now, she’s in an even more populated area. Oh, here comes the banana peel, classic. The longer this goes, the more you wish that it was full-motion video. I mean, that’s what this kind of game is classified as: Full-Motion Video (FMV). But, the only motion part is the beginning. It’s not like the 3DO was incapable of this; the Sega CD could do it, and that was before. (Footage from "Wing Commander III" is shown) And if you look at Wing Commander III, the whole game is full of video, and it’s almost like DVD quality: it looks good! And that was the same console, so if that game could do it, why not this one?

So they run through Hollywood, goofing around in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Griffith Observatory… and it’s like a series of vacation photos. This is horrible. This isn’t something you make into a game and put into stores; this is like a weird sort of college experiment. If you even count this as a game, it’s probably the worst game I’ve ever seen in my life! And that’s one hell of an accomplishment.

This chase scene goes on and on and on! Then we get the battle of the narrators, intermixed with the whole thing, just to stretch it out even longer.

(The first narrator shoots Thelma, but the bullet holes don't appear to be in coherent areas of the screen) 

What’s going on? Why are there lines of bullets? If he’s shooting her, shouldn’t the bullets be coming from the gun, or scattered across her body? Why are they just placed randomly all over the screen? And they put an X on her face to show that she’s dead.

Narrator: I’m back in control now! (Applause sound with barking)

The Nerd: Are there dogs applauding?

(More applause sound with barking)

The Nerd: I’m not imagining that, am I?

(More applause sound with barking)

The Nerd: There’s dogs clapping! I didn't even know dogs were fucking watching!

(Back to the three main characters) So the next thing that happens: the boss - whose name is Thresher, by the way - he offers to pay Jane for sex. So after trying to rape her and kill her, now he’s offering her money. So for the next five minutes, John tries to persuade Jane while she negotiates a price with Thresher.

Jane: The original deal was 5 million for one night, right? So what’s 7.5 for two nights? I’m giving you a 2.5-milion-dollar discount.

Thresher: That’s way too rich! 5.5…

The Nerd: I’m not kidding, it goes on for like five minutes! It’s like: “five million for a day, seven-and-a-half million for a weekend, five million, seven million, five million - twenty million for a week…” Argh, like, stop it! Get to the point!

Jane: No way, I ain’t no slut! 7!

Thresher: 6!

[Later that night…]

The Nerd: “Later that night”. Oh, thank God.

Jane: 6.78. How much is that, anyway?

The Nerd: ...What?! They’re still negotiating?! And how is it “later that night”?! It’s not night! (the video zooms in on the window which clearly shows daylight) IT’S NOT... FUCKING... NIGHT!

So then John goes in his big emotional speech.

John: I don’t want you for a night. I want you for a lifetime. I've been searching for me – for you…

(The staff laugh)

Crewmember 1: Freudian slip? Hahahaha!

The Nerd: …What’s going on? Why are people laughing?

Crewmember 2: I’m gonna keep that in the script!

The Nerd: It’s an outtake? They left an outtake.. just for a joke? So it’s technically not an outtake, it’s an in-take of an outtake. What the fuck?! Why’d they do this?! His slip was that he said “searching for me” instead of “searching for you”. Was it that funny?

So, if you have Jane accept Thresher’s offer, they just walk away, you get scolded, and then you have to go back to the decision.

Narrator 2: Uh-oh! I screwed up. Could you give me another run?

The Nerd: So if you pick the other choice, she walks away with John; they go out in the parking lot where they originally met – I don’t know, to be ironic or just out of convenience. (The chicken-headed narrator appears)

Narrator 1: Well, congratulations.

The Nerd: Now for the final choice: either “I want the Hollywood ending” or “Gimme something different”. Yeah, you know what? Gimme something different. Gimme a different fuckin' game!

(The Nerd throws the game box away)

This is one of the worst things I have ever seen in my life. On the box, it says: “Plays like a game but feels like a movie”. Well that’s horseshit. It does NOT play like a game, and it certainly does not feel like a movie. It’s a slideshow that verges on being softcore porn, but it isn’t that, either.

(Cycling pictures of the Nerd being shocked or doing funny faces with a panda or a bear on a motorbike) 

It’s like some kind of experimental art project. If I just made a bunch of shit and put all kinds of filters on it, that would be the same as this miserable pile of fuck. It would also be the same to go take a shit on a piece of toast on top of a roof while wearing a fish mask singing "I’m Too Sexy".




  • This is the highest-rated Angry Video Game Nerd episode on IMDb, with a rating of 9.1/10. [1]
  • On GameFAQs, actress Jeanne Basone (who plays Jane) mentioned she only contributed to the making of Plumbers Don't Wear Ties on a friend's request, realizing it was only for fun while cringeworthy at the same time.[2]


  • The "Illustrations/Help: Mike Matei" credit is in a different font than the rest of the credits.