Over the years, a lot of games--such as Chip Chan Kick!, Don Doko Don, Parasol Stars, Rod Land and Snow Bros.--have been called "Bubble Bobble clones." That's always struck me as a bit funny (despite the fact that I've often used the phrase myself--in this recent post about Pop'n Magic, for instance), as I think it would be a lot more accurate to call them clones of The Fairyland Story.
What, you've never heard of The Fairyland Story? No worries, here's a brief history of this not-quite-classic: Developed by Taito, it first hit the floors of the world's arcades--and bars and bowling alleys and whatnot--in 1985. The game's protagonist, a puny witch named Ptolemy, prances from castle-themed stage to castle-themed stage while transforming a cast of surprisingly cuddly enemies--including dragons, helmeted (and knife-wielding) pigs and wizards--into cakes with her trusty wand and then smooshing them to smithereens (often by pushing them off of ledges and onto unsuspecting baddies).
Getting back to why the above-mentioned games should be called clones of The Fairyland Story and not Bubble Bobble, there are three reasons for it, in my mind: 1) The Fairyland Story predates Bubble Bobble by a year, 2) the former clearly informed the development of the latter (a number of The Fairyland Story's power-ups, such as the fire cross and the earthquake book, also appear in Bubble Bobble) and 3) none of the titles listed in the opening paragraph of this post actually copied the mechanics of Taito's most classic of quarter-muchers.
So, does all of this mean that I'll stop describing games as "Bubble Bobble clones" and start calling them clones of The Fairyland Story instead? Probably not, but only because most folks have never heard of the earlier title. That said, I'll do my best to plop the phrase "Fairyland Story clone" into a post every now and then--you know, just to keep things honest.