Saturday, August 04, 2012

Who else hates how Bub's and Bob's designs have changed for the worse in recent Bubble Bobbles?

You may not be aware of this, but the dynamic dragon duo known as Bub and Bob--or Bubblun and Bobblun, if that's how you roll--haven't always looked like they single-handedly inspired the "herp derp" meme.

Yes, they've always been a bit cross-eyed. And, yes, they've always had buck teeth. Still, Bub's and Bob's earliest designs (see flyer below) were pretty darn cute, if you ask me.


Sadly, they weren't that cute for long. In fact, Bub and Bob somehow caught a serious case of the duhs between the release of the Famicom version of Bubble Bobble and the NES version.


Bubble Bobble Part 2 wasn't any better, with Bub and Bob appearing the definition of "dorky" both on that game's box art and within its gameplay.



Things only got worse with the release of Bubble Symphony and Bubble Memories. Although both titles are a joy to play, I'd be hard-pressed to say the Bub and Bob sprites featured in this pair of sequels are a joy to behold.




All may not be lost for Bubble Bobble's color-coordinated protagonists, though. Case in point: The box art produced for the GameBoy Advance release known as Bubble Bobble: Old & New.


Sure, Bub and Bob are a bit generic-looking in this particular cover illustration, but they're also fairly cute--or at least I think so.

Anyway, all that said, where do you guys and gals stand on this tremendously important issue? Do you like the dweebs Bub and Bob have become, or do you wish Taito's crack team of designers would make them adorable once again?

See also: 'You say Bubble Bobble clone, I say Fairyland Story clone'

19 comments:

RetroKingSimon said...

The originals will always be the best but I can't stand the buck-toothed ones as seen in the 'select game mode' screen :|

Josef said...

The designs on the Famicom flyer are by far my favourite. I really quite like the designs on the GBA box though, I think they capture the essence of the characcters and they're definitely cute. I'm slightly weirded out by how long their arms, though.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Simon: Yes, the buck-toothed ones are the worst. It's hard to imagine what the designers at Taito were thinking when they came up with them. Maybe they hate the characters at this point and are taking their anger out on them?

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Josef! I'm glad to hear you also like the GBA designs :) Before you mentioned it, though, I didn't think about their long arms. Now I can't unsee them!

Viewtiful_Justin said...

I actually like the NES ones best, but maybe that's because it's the first time I ever saw them. The redesign featured in the last image is FREAKY AS SHIT! Bleh! No thank you.

Bryan Ochalla said...

That's OK, Justin. I still like you :P

Actually, I kind of agree with you about the most redesign -- even though I said they're cute in the post. I do think they're cute, actually, but they don't much resemble the original designs, do they? They kind of look like something that would appear in some sort of Saturday cartoon re-imagining of Bubble Bobble...

Bryan Ochalla said...

BTW, I probably should have mentioned --even briefly -- the DS and PSP Bubble Bobbles that have been released in recent years, but I'd prefer to pretend they didn't exist :|

Drew Mackie said...

Is it just that the originals were the official, Japanese take on them, and they've been watered down for American sensibilities ever since?

Sanrio-ness notwithstanding, I have to say that I do dig those original models. They've got a certain spark.

Matt Sainsbury said...

Poor fellows had a lobotomy?

I agree with you, this is depressing. And... I've not got much else to say about this :P

Bryan Ochalla said...

Drew: You know, I'm not sure! Certainly that's the case with the Bubble Bobble NES and Bobble Bobble Part 2 packaging, but as far as I'm aware Bubble Symphony and Bubble Memories (and the, er, questionably derpy sprites contained within them) were developed in Japan, so Bub's and Bob's dorkiness can't completely be blamed on the Americans. Also, I believe Bubble Bobble Old & New may have originated in Japan, too, but I'm not 100% sure about that...

Bryan Ochalla said...

Yes, Matt, I fear that may be the case. Poor Bub and Bob!

Also, no worries about not having much else to say on the matter. It is a rather, well, pointless post, if you ask me. Still, I couldn't help but write it :)

Adam said...

I have a theory that most NES boxart drawers were excellent artists complimented by all their middle school classmates.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ha! Your theory may not be far from the truth, Adam :)

Reggie White Jr. said...

Bub and Bob have always been one of the most adorable duos in gaming. This is actually the first time I've ever really looked at the NES box art. Cripes. What happened to them.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Reggie! Honestly, I have a feeling Bub's and Bob's descent into ugliness is a result of Taito employees being upset that they've been forced to make yet another Bubble Bobble game. Or something like that.

Oh, and true story about the NES cover: It is the main reason I avoided that version of the game for so long. As a teen, I turned my nose up at it and only played the arcade version because the box art, in my mind, was so completely terrible :)

VGJUNK said...

With those claws and teeth on the BB: Old & New cover, they look cute but also like if they turned on you then you'd be in serious trouble...

Bryan Ochalla said...

VGJunk: Oh, yes, I can see that. They kind of remind me of our neighbor's cat, who looks sooooo cute and cuddly, but when you go to pat her on the head, fwap!, she sinks her claws into your hand faster than you can say, "stitches please!"

Josef said...

Further on the topic of the GBA box - the designs are clearly meant as a reinterpretation of the characters, for the "new" version of the game, while the "old" version would be represented by the original designs.
I wouldn't want to see this as the new, official look of these characters, but as an alternative version (like, say, the 2003 TMNT or the new Thundercats) I think these designs hold up great. I feel much the same about the cover of Elevator Action Old & New (http://www.gamefaqs.com/gba/566633-elevator-action-old-and-new/images/box-6676) - this isn't necessarily exactly how I envision Elevator Action, but it's a fine look for this particular version.

BTW Brian, you are definitely not alone in this kind of severely opinionated dorkiness with regards to cover art ;) The generally nice cover art is at least half the reason I first got interested in collecting Japanese games... (the other half being price, library size, non-edited 60Hz versions, etc)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Josef! Ah, I see what you mean -- and I agree with you. And the Elevator Action Old & New box art is a great example. The characters portrayed in/on it are quite a departure from the original designs, but like you said, they fit this particular release.

Thanks for backing up my severely opinionated dorkiness, by the way. Ha! Guess I deserved that one :P