The Nintendo Entertainment System era gave us plenty of licensed games, and while some made perfect sense (The Simpsons, The Flintstones, and DuckTales are just some of the properties that landed on the 8-bit console), others such as The Addams Family were very unusual picks. Why would anyone want to publish a game based on a TV series from twenty years prior that, at the time, felt like ancient history? We've covered some of this before over the years and know that Sunsoft answered the call with Fester's Quest, but now we know more of the story thanks to Stefan Gancer's exhaustive History of Sunsoft series.
Development of the game began at Sunsoft of America in 1989. Richard Robbins had a dream: He wanted to make a game he called Uncle Fester’s Playhouse, somewhat inspired by the contemporary television show Pee-wee’s Playhouse.
Fans have long speculated whether or not the game was an Addams Family game from the start at all. Maybe it was a new Blaster Master game with the license slapped on later. But as we now know, it was meant to be a game about Uncle Fester all along. The game’s short story was written by Robbins, who also co-designed the game. Blaster Master was partly in a diagonal top-down view just like Fester’s Quest. According to Robbins, the two games were developed partly by the same team in Japan. But since the game has no credits at the end, only parts of the team are known today.
Fester's Quest is an old favorite of mine from the 1980s even if its difficulty level is wildly off balance. This article reiterates how the developers overlooked including a password feature which is why poor Fester returns to the very start of the game after being defeated. Sunsoft's marketing group leaned into the unfair challenge by promoting the game as the most difficult NES game out there. All of the Nintendo Power coverage and maps in the world can't make up for that one.