Thursday, January 20, 2011

You know what? I've changed my mind about the NES version of Bubble Bobble

I've always turned up my nose at the Famicom/NES version of Bubble Bobble for no other reason than, well, it isn't the arcade version.

While composing this post the other day, though, I thought to myself, "You know, the sprites in the NES version aren't so bad. In fact, they're pretty darn good."

I bought the NES version via the Wii Virtual Console shortly after it was added to the service (yes, despite my aforementioned disdain for that iteration of the game), so last night I decided to take it for a test run--you know, to see if it's better than I remember it.

Surprisingly, it is. Sure, the background graphics and music are simpler than the arcade version and the game becomes a flicker-fest when more than a few bubbles are on screen, but the Bob, Bub and enemy sprites are spot-on, as is the all-important gameplay.

Don't get me wrong, I'll still play the arcade version of Bubble Bobble over the Famicom/NES version if given the chance, but it's nice to know I can turn to the latter in a pinch.

(In other Bubble Bobble news, check out this awesome piece of cover art--which appeared on the cover of the Sega Mark III/Master System version of the game.)


Sean said...

LOL, glad to know that the Famicom/NES version that I have, but cannot yet play, meets with your seal of approval!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Sean! I mainly posted this because I feel like I've bad-mouthed the Famicom/NES version of the game quite a bit in the past (for being a pale imitation of the arcade version, etc.). I still think the arcade version is better, but the Famicom version isn't bad at all (and probably is the best console port of the game). It's kind of like how I used to hate the Famicom versions of Dig Dug, Mappy and Pac-Man -- now I love them! :)

Viewtiful_Justin said...

That's friggin awesome cover art! Nice.

The NES version is the only one I know...I played the hell out of it, and then I loaned it to my uncle who lives by San Diego. He had it for years and years, until we visited and I finally got it back. Oh man...I'm so glad to have it...and have it be the same copy all my life!

Bryan Ochalla said...

The Master System version's actually pretty good, too, although I think the NES version is better overall.

Anyway, I'm completely jealous that you still have your old NES games. My brother and I stupidly sold our NES and all of our games around the time the N64 came out (I think), and I've regretted it ever since :(

What other NES games do you have?

IvaNEC said...

NES Bubble Bobble was an impulse buy for me back when it was brand new and I was a kid. I'd never heard of it, but the cover art, with its funny-looking dinos, made me really want to play the game. It worked out nicely; two-player sessions were always a blast. But I think the most fun I had with BB came when I'd just sit around and enter random passwords. Lots of them actually worked, and it was fun to see what boards I could "warp" to and what sorts of challenges the later ones posed.

I didn't sell my NES collection, but I kind of "lost" just about all of it as I moved around a lot over a few years. I eventually reacquired the games that really "meant something" to me. Bubble Bobble didn't make the cut, but it's definitely a game that I have fond memories of.

Bryan Ochalla said...

What a great comment, IvaNEC. Thanks for leaving it!

It makes me feel lucky my local bowling alley had a Bubble Bobble arcade game -- which I played every chance I got (and which is why I've always had a bit of a chip on my shoulder regarding the NES version).

I may soon have to try entering random passwords into the NES version that currently resides on my Wii, by the way. Sounds like a fun way to check out stages I've never gotten to on my own.

Thanks for that suggestion :)

Viewtiful_Justin said...

Oh, I have 52 games, at last count...which was a while ago. Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, Dragon Warrior 4, both gold cartridge Zelda games, Solstice, Bubble Bobble, Ice Hockey, Ice Climber, Solar Jetman, Ninja Gaiden, Castlevania II, and many...many more.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Wow! That is *amazing*. I bow down to you, Justin :)

Man, you brought back memories by mentioning Solstice and Solar Jetman...

IvaNEC said...

Funny, I was telling Zig about Solar Jetman just the other day. I think I basically described it as a game that featured a lot of neat concepts but frustrated the hell out of me. I was pretty young back then and I had no patience for lugging stuff around and dealing with the gravity effects.

It was one of many NES games I owned back in the day, but my current collection of essentials numbers about fifteen or so. That's actually more than I've held on to for most other systems.

Bryan Ochalla said...

I remember being frustrated by it, too, IvaNEC! Still, I liked that it tried to do something different.

I certainly wouldn't re-buy it today (if I bought another NES), but it was nice to own it back in the day :)

IvaNEC said...

Ha, yeah, I recall being glad I owned Jetman even though I didn't enjoy the game. I distinctly remember the box, manual, and cartridge being in such perfect condition (mainly because I hardly ever pulled the thing off the shelf to play it), and even back then, I thought it was a really interesting game.

By the way, since we're talking old-school Nintendo, Jason Venter over at has been writing about his early NES experiences in a series of columns called "Growing up Nintendo." Definitely worthwhile reads for those of us who like to wax nostalgic about those olden gaming days. He's written eight such articles so far, but here's a link to the first: . The Christmas one is probably my favorite, but they're all great.

Bryan Ochalla said...

I'll have to check them out, IvaNEC -- thanks for mentioning them!