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Gunther Gebel-Williams' Cage Cleaner

The two things that the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus is known for are clowns that smell like truckstop restrooms and the ability to get rubes to buy a variety of circus souvenirs. One of the coolest, and yet one of the most unsuccessful, of the circus souvenirs was "Gunther Gebel-Williams' Cage Cleaner."

Gunther Gebel-Williams' Cage Cleaner

In this game, the player is the cage cleaner for Gunther Gebel-Williams, the animal trainer and unquestionable star of the Ringling Bros. circus for two decades. The cage cleaner must enter an animal's cage and clean out all the excrement without getting mauled by the animals or hit by the feces. Each level, the animals get more ferocious and the dung gets more atrocious. After the player completes five levels, he is treated to an animal stunt by the pixelated Gebel-Williams.

There were many factors behind this title's demise. One is that as a souvenir, it's not what the people want. Most circus fans look for posters or programs filled with full-color photos of the animals, not blocky computer renditions of them. Another reason behind the failure is the game concept itself is based on a crappy minimum-wage job that anyone can get; as one industry pundit said, "You can't blow up asteroids in real life, but you sure as [expletive deleted] can clean up [expletive deleted]." The Ringling Bros. braintrust decided to cut their losses and bury the remaining cartridges in the desert, over the remains of an ancient Indian casino ground.

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