There are many dark and dusty corridors in the Cabinet of Curiosities, musty passageways filled with cobwebs and lit only by the eerie glow of a computer monitor or television screen. At night, you can hear the pitiful cries of frustrated gamers, mourning the loss of their last life. Weird, digital music echoes through the hallways. 

Follow a winding set of steps into the darkened bowels of the museum, and you may find yourself in a small, candle lit room where you’ll come face to face with a fortune teller. She has sunken eyes and sharp cheeks and sits behind a table, holding a deck of cards. She offers to tell your future.

Should you find yourself here, you’ve likely drifted into the world of Taboo: The Sixth Sense. It was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in April of 1989. It was not a video game. At least, not by any reasonable definition of the term. Yes, it was a cartridge for a gaming system, and it was developed by Rare (who would later go on to create games like Donkey Kong Country and GoldenEye 007), but beyond that…not so much. There was no story, no characters, no levels, or objectives. The fortune teller described above was a creation of your humble author. 

Taboo: The Sixth sense was nothing more than a digital tarot reading. You put the cartridge in and were taken to a screen which proclaimed: All that has been and all that will be is here for you to know…Dare You Glimpse the Future Dare You Even Ask…? Taboo The Time Machine on Nintendo! You were then asked to enter your name, birth date, and sex. After that, you entered a question. Any question at all. Cards from a full deck of 78 cards, including the major and minor arcana, were dealt out into a Celtic Cross. The cards were then turned over one by one, with a brief explanation as to what the card signified. 

I suppose you could say there was infinite replay ability, as the game would randomly shuffle the cards and you could answer any question you wanted. In addition to answering your deepest, most burning questions, the game would give you lotto numbers. You just had to enter your home state.

Though it was released in the 1980s, somehow the game does not seem to have caught the attention of the “Satanic Panic” crowd. Nor does it seem to have developed the reputation as such “dark” and “evil” games as the Ouija Board or Dungeons and Dragons. 

And that, my dear reader, is today’s exhibit.

Until next time, I remain…

Just Another Geek In The Geek Kingdom

Shaun Jex Shaun Jex (124 Posts)

Shaun Jex is a lifelong gamer, a journalist, and pop culture historian.His love of video games began with a Commodore 64 he played growing up, late night sessions on his NES, Game Boy and Sega Genesis, and frequent trips to the local Tilt arcade. He edits the Citizens' Advocate newspaper in Coppell, Texas and writes about Disney and Walt Disney World history for Celebrations Magazine and the Celebrations Magazine blog. He runs a weekly vlog called "The MCP" dedicated to retro video games, and a channel with his wife Kara called "The Marceline Depot," dedicated to Disney, amusement parks, and travel.