Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Acquisition #144: The Berlin Wall (Game Gear)

Considering my last two "Acquisition #123" posts focused on Japanese Game Gear titles, it probably didn't shock many of you to see that this post will focus on one, too.

Specifically, this entry in the "Acquisition #123" series will focus on Kaneko's The Berlin Wall, a rather adorable Bubble Bobble/Fairyland Story clone that hit the streets of Japan in 1991.

Although the game began life in the arcades, Kaneko's crack team of programmers did an admirable job of downsizing and squeezing it onto a comparably tiny Game Gear cartridge. In fact, I actually prefer the cuter, simpler looks of this portable port to its quarter-munching cousin.

Unfortunately, I've yet to actually give this cart a test drive, so to speak, as I still don't own a Game Gear. (I'm waiting for a particular UK-based eBay vendor to offer another refurbished, banana-yellow Game Gear system for sale before adding one to my collection.)

I've played and enjoyed this hammer-centric single-screen platformer (which, to tell you the truth, has as much in common with Brøderbund's Lode Runner as it does Bubble Bobble and its boppy, bouncy ilk) enough via emulation, though, to know that I'll continue to have an absolute blast with it as soon as I finally get my hands on one of Sega's brick-sized handhelds.

In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to stare at its package (that's what she said) and its similarly, er, "stimulating"--not to mention adorable--instruction manual.

Speaking of the former, I've just uploaded a number of additional photos of both the front and back of The Berlin Wall's box to my Flickr photostream, so please check them out if that's your kind of thing. (I also uploaded a bunch of shots of Banana's, Ganbare Gorby's and Magical Puzzle Popils' packaging, in case any of you are interested.)

See also: 'Another Bubble Bobble/Fairyland Story clone approaches'


warp said...

Love the box! So you've never written about this one before?

Viewtiful_Justin said...

Sweet! Another reason to visit your flickr is always good! Can't wait to hear more about this one.

Bryan Ochalla said...

warp: I have written about this one before, but only once -- http://www.thegaygamer.com/2012/08/you-say-bubble-bobble-clone-i-say.html

I didn't own the game at the time, though. In fact, that post prompted me to track down the copy you see here :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Thanks, Justin! I'll definitely be writing more about this one in the coming weeks. Its manual is adorable, so a 'Manual Stimulation' is in the cards, no question. And of course I'll write up a 'Great Gaymathon' review of it sooner or later, too.

warp said...

I may be missing something, but I don't see The Berlin Wall in that article you linked to.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oops! Meant to send you this link: http://www.thegaygamer.com/2012/08/another-bubble-bobblefairyland-story.html

Sorry about that!

warp said...

Oh right, the Space Panic clone with the penguins! Now I remember.

Bryan Ochalla said...

A ha! I forgot that you made that Space Panic reference in the earlier post. I guess we both forgot about it!

Melody (Lizzi) said...

I got a piece of the real Berlin Wall from my mother.
She was there when the wall fell.
It's in a picture frame with the title "Das Ende der Mauer" (which means: the end of the wall) under it. :)

Melody (Lizzi) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melody (Lizzi) said...

Bryan could you give me a list of games for the Game Gear you would recommend to me?
Thanks before :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey cool post. The Game Gear isn't so great. A friend of mines has it, and she rarely plays it. But it's always cool to play old school games. Hey check out my post on manga!
I never read any manga before until now!


and be sure to click that Join this site button! haha

Bryan Ochalla said...

That's really interesting, Melody! I can only imagine how big of a deal that was for folks in your country.

Hopefully after I publish the scans of this game's manual we'll find out why it's called The Berlin Wall. There's definitely a bit of a backstory to the game, but since I don't understand Japanese, I don't know what it is.

I have a feeling one or more of the folks who visit this blog and understand Japanese, though, will help us out -- or at least that's what I'm counting on!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, and one more thing, Melody: Yes, I'll share a short list of what I'd consider to be 'recommended' Game Gear games with you in a just a bit.

I'm guessing you're looking to play them via emulation? If not, that's what I'd recommend, at least at first. Make sure you like the system and a number of its games before buying one and all that...

Bryan Ochalla said...

Thanks for the comment, Daniel! As for the Game Gear being 'not so great': Well, that's definitely a matter of opinion, if you ask me. Granted, even I am not going to say that the Game Gear was an amazing handheld with an amazing catalog of games, but I do think a number of really good and fun games were released for the system. Even then, though, I wouldn't expect many people these days to run out and buy a GG system, as it's just as easy to play them via emulation on your 3DS, DS, PC, etc.

Oh, and as for your blog: I'm already a follower/reader! Hopefully your comment will push other folks to join it, too, though :)

Kimimi said...

Cute! Mine's cart only so I've never seen the box or manual, thank you for sharing! :D

Bryan Ochalla said...

You're welcome, Kimimi! Yeah, after following in love with this game via emulation, I just had to track down a CIB copy of it :) The manual's definitely cute, by the way, and it'll surely appear in an upcoming 'Manual Stimulation' post. Probably in a few weeks?

Melody (Lizzi) said...

Thank you Bryan! I will try it first but I really love cute old games.
And since the console is not really expensive in Germany I might buy one if I find enough games I like.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Melody: Here are a few Game Gear games I personally enjoy playing and I think you may enjoy, too.

The Berlin Wall

Bubble Bobble -- Not a direct port of the arcade game, more like "Bubble Bobble Mini." Completely adorable and fun :)

Dragon Crystal -- Portable roguelike!

Fantasy Zone Gear -- portable Fantasy Zone! Not a port of the original. Completely unique entry in the series.

Galaga '91 -- Not as great as Galaga '88 for the PC Engine, but still pretty darn good.

Ganbare Gorby!

Madou Monogatari -- A first-person dungeon crawler from the makers of Puyo Puyo. Completely adorable. Oh, and the first one (four Madou Monogatari games were released for the GG) has been translated into English!

Magical Puzzle Popils

Magical Taruruuto-Kun -- Not a platformer like the Mega Drive game, but a shoot 'em up! Quite cute, but not all that difficult.

Mappy -- Basically just a port of the arcade classic, but it does have some extra modes that are fun to explore.

Pengo -- Portable port of Sega's arcade classic.

Shining Force Gaiden -- Great, original/unique Shining Force sequel (or, rather, side story).

Woody Pop -- Arkanoid/Breakout clone with a few cute and interesting twists.

Oh, and the GG ports of Dynamite Headdy, Gunstar Heroes, Ristar and Shinobi are really nice and worth checking out if you're curious about that kind of thing.

Finally, I've heard great things about Crystal Warriors and its sequel, Royal Stone, but I've never played them. Crystal Warriors is available in English, by the way, and I *think* Royal Stone may have been translated by fans...

Melody (Lizzi) said...

Thank you so much!!!
I will check them and when I tried a few I will tell you how I like 'em.
Thanks for being so nice :D
And (I think you know it bu) I really looooove your blog :3

Bryan Ochalla said...

You're very welcome, Melody! It wasn't a problem at all, as I hope you can tell. I look forward to hearing what you think of any/all of these games, by the way. Hope you like at least a few of them :)

Also, thank you for the kind words about the blog. I'm glad you're enjoying it so far!

Oh, and thank YOU for visiting it and commenting so often. I love reading and responding to comments almost as much as I like writing posts, so I really appreciate it :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Two more possible recommendations for you, Melody: GG Aleste and GG Aleste II. They're both shoot 'em ups made by the great folks at Compile. You'll likely want to play these via emulation, though, as physical copies of them can be expensive (as in, $250-ish for complete copies, last I checked). Full disclosure: I've yet to play either of them myself, but both GG fans and shmup fans swear by them.