Taboo: The Sixth Sense

a game by Tradewest

Platform: NESNES

Genre: Simulation

  • Manufacturer: Tradewest
  • Machine: Nintendo

Many people would like to know what the future holds. They visit psychics or try to divine the unknown through tea leaves, palm reading, astrology and various oracles. One of the ancient methods of divination was a system of cards created in the Middle Ages, when a lot of esoteric knowledge was considered dangerous and heretical. In order to preserve the mystical symbols, this set of cards was created. They appeared to be ornate but otherwise ordinary cards to the uninitiated. To those in the know, however, they were full of symbolism.

People still use tarot cards to find out about the future. And now you can enjoy a version of this divination on the NES with Taboo.

Taboo uses a set of tarot cards which are laid out in a "spread", an arrangement in which each card has a specific meaning to your situation. For instance, one card may represent your major obstacles, another may represent your hopes and dreams, and so forth. The cards are turned faceup, one at a time, and the information they contain is interpreted by the program.

Although Taboo is amusing, it is like many other general oracles. Sometimes it seems to be right on; other times it hits wide of the mark. The interpretations are also somewhat conservative and lend themselves to generalities. Sometimes you really have to stretch your mind to make them seem sensible at all. I've seen tarot readings by good readers, and their interpretations can and will vary depending on the circumstances and the person whose fortune is being divined. You may not always understand human readings, either, but they do speak directly to you and your situation. Taboo lacks that kind of versatility.

To play Taboo, you enter your name, date of birth, sex and a question, using the controller to select appropriate letters and numbers. Unfortunately, there is no option to ask another question for the same person, so you have to enter all the information for each question you want to ask. After you read your interpretations, Taboo asks what state you live in (strangely, the program left out Alaska and Hawaii from the list of states) and offers you some lucky numbers. These are your numbers which should help you rush out and win your local lottery, though, again, I wouldn't take them too seriously.

One of Taboo's tricks to help you understand the meaning of each card is that it plays a short musical theme. If the interpretation is good, the theme is uplifting. If the news is not so good, the theme is more dirgelike. Some people may like the musical clues, but I would have liked to turn them off.

I like Taboo. It is amusing and sometimes intriguing, but it is really just a toy. I wouldn't want anyone to take it too seriously. Neither, for that matter, does Tradewest. They even put a disclaimer on the package recommending the product for people over the age of 13. And, as much as I found the program amusing, I'm not sure I would recommend that people spend their money on it for the limited amusement it provides. After all, how many times do you want to consult an oracle that you aren't supposed to take seriously in the first place?

Anyway, there are all kinds of people in the world, and maybe some people would find this great fun. It does make a fairly amusing party game. You can ask it a question as a group, and then see what it comes up with. It might surprise you. For instance, I asked it about the country of China during a recent student uprising and its assessment of the situation was uncannily accurate.

Taboo may not contain all the knowledge of the past, present and future as it claims, but it does offer some light amusement. Should you go out and buy it? Maybe you should ask Taboo.

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Taboo: The Sixth Sense Downloads

NES Taboo: The Sixth Sense download

Taboo, the Sixth Sense, is based on the ancient Tarot method of predicting future events. To play, all you have to do is enter your name, sex and birthdate. Then ask any questions you like and enjoy the intriguing, and often hilarious, answers based on the reading of the Tarot pattern. Play by yourself, or use Taboo as the perfect party game. All will be intrigued by the mysteries of Taboo.

reggie posted a review
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