We gave this game 3 out of 100 in 1994, and now it's getting a remaster

An image of the cast of Plumbers Don't Wear Ties, looking cheery, raising glasses of to drink.
(Image credit: Limited Run / United Pixtures, Kirin Entertainments Inc.)

Plumbers Don't Wear Ties, one of the worst games ever made, is getting a remaster. This crime against nature was announced by Limited Run as part of their recent showcase which, among other things, included a remastered GEX trilogy and a spiritual successor to Zelda CD-i.

I'm going to have to turn to my colleagues' opinion on this one, because I've never played Plumbers Don't Wear Ties—and after a bit of research, I'm grateful. Nonetheless, I've thrown on the marigolds to dive into what exactly this fully motion-captured thing is, so you don't have to.

Here's an excerpt from the back of the box: "Greed, sex, spirituality, white-knuckled chases, shameful propositions, a nun, humour, true love, jaded love, taut action, comedy, a bad guy, a good guy, a hero, spine-tingling suspense, a hot babe, a damsel in distress, and a hollywood ending!" This is quite a lot to take in.

What Plumbers Don't Wear Ties appears to actually be, however, is a god-forsaken relic of a time where you could buy certain VHS tapes in a brown bag. It's meant to be a 'full motion video' game like 1992's Night Trap. The game itself—and 'game' is doing a lot of heavy lifting here—plays out more like "a PowerPoint presentation with audio cues", as PC Gamer's own Steven Messner wrote in 2017.

Just to make sure I was getting the full plumber experience, I looked up some gameplay footage and—yes. That is accurate. Plumbers Don't Wear Ties starts with Jane, played by Jeane Basone—known in wrestling as Hollywood—warning me that she'll be keeping an eye out for my slip-ups: "I trust it won't be the first time you've made mistakes with the opposite sex."

Then this.

An image from Plumbers Don't Wear Ties, featuring two text boxes, one reading: "Gimmie full story!" and the other reading "Go to the first decision!"

(Image credit: United Pixtures, Kirin Entertainments Inc.)

Selecting "Gimmie full story!" starts a literal slideshow with a voice over crunchy enough to break your teeth. I'm sorry for ever doubting you, Steven. He also noted that Jon Smith gave it a "3 out of 100 in PC Gamer's July 1994 issue" and, while I don't have that issue to hand, I'm inclined to trust that assessment.

The remaster itself promises more additional features than you can shake a plunger at. It'll shake the crust off its terribly dated photo graphics, naming them "nicer" with an ominous asterisk. It also comes with exclusive interviews with the cast and creators, as well as James Rolfe—otherwise known as the Angry Video Game Nerd—who reviewed the game in 2009.

A comparison image of the original graphics of Plumbers Don't Wear Ties to its remastered version. The picture is of three characters chasing after each other. The text reads: "Original" on the original image, and "Or nicer*" on the other.

(Image credit: United Pixtures, Kirin Entertainments Inc.)

The interviews included in the trailer describe the game as a "grease fire", with one interviewee admitting that he's "giving it too much credit". Despite the horrors this game is, like many remnants of its era, an internet darling. Rolfe's review of it has over 9.2 million views on Youtube, throwing it into cult classic trash status—like Tommy Wiseau's The Room, but for gamers.

Richard Cobett wrote about Plumbers Don't Wear Ties in his Crapshoot Column on the bizarre scenes from the game: "Just pondering these moments I can't help but feel just a little better about the world we live in; both as a place of wonder where such things can happen and develop a life beyond anyone's dreams, and also not so bad about about its inevitable doom and destruction."

Limited Run seems to be on a mission to revive the 90's most obscure and cursed artefacts, and I'm honestly here for it. They're relying on nostalgia like one relies on acid to burn through steel, and it has me excited to experience pieces of gaming culture I missed. I can't, however, promise that I'll be sitting through Plumbers Don't Wear Ties. I'll just appreciate it from afar. Maybe in a hazmat suit.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.