TV & Movies

Birthdays the Beginning Reminds Me of a DuckTales Episode

DuckTales Time Teasers

There’s an old DuckTales episode called “Time Teasers” in which Huey, Dewey, and Louie borrow a gadget that can freeze time. They use it to get all their chores done without missing any more of a baseball game they wanted to catch. Of course, when they arrive at the game, their team, the Duckburg Mallards, is losing (which is pretty much how it always goes). So the idea pops into their ducky little brains to use their newly acquired time teaser to sabotage the other team so the Mallards can get back on top.

The ducks are relentless in their creativity, coming up with all sorts of zany ways to interfere with the game whenever time is paused. They move the position of the ball right before a batter swings at it, spin an outfielder so he’s facing the wrong direction, and remove a baseman’s belt. When they return to their seats, they unfreeze time and watch the results unfold.

DuckTales Time Teasers

They continue to mess with the game in this fashion until they realize it’s almost noon, which is when they’re supposed to meet Scrooge at the Money Bin for some more chores. Since it’s the final inning and the Mallards are up 32 to 16, the ducks figure they can skip out early — there’s no way the Mallards could lose that one, right?

On the way out, they realize the Beagle Boys are robbing the ticket stand, so once again, they use their time-stopping antics. They replace a gun with a hot dog, tie some shoelaces together, remove the bonds from the guard the Beagles had tied up, and return stolen sacks of cash to the ticket booth.

DuckTales Time Teasers

The episode takes some unexpected twists after this, but the important thing is just how many uses it finds for this time-stopping tech in its first seven minutes or so.

When I first saw this episode as a child, it filled my head with clever possibilities that would take advantage of such a device. Stopping time, meddling with the environment, and then unfreezing time to watch the dominoes fall is an incredibly powerful set of skills. In fact, this is the premise behind the “Time in a Bottle” scene from X-Men: Days of Future Past.

It’s also the premise of a video game called Birthdays the Beginning, which gives you the chance to run a time teaser of your own. Only this time, you’re doing so in order to help evolution on its merry little way.

Birthdays the Beginning

In Birthdays the Beginning, you’re given a small plot of land that you’re able to manipulate in very small ways. Freeze time, build a mountain, and then watch the atmosphere respond to your meddling. If you’ve meddled in just the right way, you might get to witness the birth of a new species in what the game calls a “Birthday.” From microscopic sea creatures to the rise of dinosaurs, from the dinosaurs to the reign of the mammals, you are given the responsibility of ushering in every stage of evolution.

It’s an admittedly one-note premise, but it’s a pretty intriguing one nonetheless. See, when I saw the DuckTales “Time Teasers” episode for the first time, I never imagined the time-freezing ability to be used in such a way.

Birthdays the Beginning

And I guess that shows how versatile the time-stopping concept is; we’re still finding new angles on it almost 30 years later. I can’t help but wonder where we’ll see it pop up next.

Oh, and in case you’re curious, the Duckburg Mallards still lost.

Josh Wirtanen owns this place and has opinions about pretty much everything. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuajwirtanen.