While there are some folks out there who are trying to blame the decline of restaurant chain Hooters on millennials’ apparent lack of interest in cleavage, we think that the fall of the once mighty wing and beer destination has more to do with a forgotten PS1 game.
While people share their bizarre ideas about why Hooters is failing (few of which have anything to do with the ridiculous prices, awful food, and creepy atmosphere) and how it can be saved, we think it’s the perfect time to remind you that Ubisoft once published a PS1 racing game based on Hooters restaurants. Yes, that Ubisoft. It turns out Assassin’s Creed Unity isn’t the worst skeleton in the company’s closet.
Actually, it seems that Hooters Road Trip was released as part of Ubisoft’s old value line of games, which allowed cash-strapped gamers to buy PS1 titles for as little as $10. That means that the people who bought Hooters Road Trip were even more desperate than you think.
What of the game itself, though? Well, the entire premise of Hooters Road Trip is based on the belief that there are several people out there who are all so anxious to go to Hooters that they are willing to participate in a cross-country road race in order to be the first person to arrive at one of several Hooters locations. It’s similar to the plot of Death Race 2000, only the goal isn’t to run down pedestrians but rather to be the first person to order some of those Hooters wings. We assume that the person that comes in last has to order the fish sandwich, thus lowering the number of participants by one as the race goes on.
Judging from the gameplay, it looks like racers have enjoyed quite a few pitchers of watered down Bud Light (also known as Bud Light) at each restaurant because none of them can stay on the road to save whatever remains of their lives. Turning your car in this game just a little to the left or right results in it violently veering into the nearest roadside obstacle. We’re tempted to imply that these vehicles have become aware of their purpose in life and are trying to end this charade once and for all, but given that each course is wider than it is long, we think the developers knew there was a problem.
Oh, and those developers worked for some studio known as Hoplite Research. Considering that we can’t seem to find much information on this studio, we assume that they were only named Hoplite Research because someone had the foresight to not put “tax shell corporation” on the letterhead.
Sadly, nobody had the foresight to not include the truly awful FMVs of Hooters girls that players are forced to watch if they are the first to reach a new location. The best part of this digital travesty is that it was released in 2002. Yes, while you were playing Halo, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II, and Final Fantasy X, there was some poor kid out there stuck with Hooters Road Trip.
So, as you watch the Hooters executives struggle to understand why nobody is coming to their restaurants anymore, just be glad that nobody at the company is entertaining the idea of releasing a Hooters battle royale game where the goal is to be the first player to earn a chicken wing dinner.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors.