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.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Is it me, or does this look better than the red DSi and red 3DS XL that will soon be sold stateside?

"This," of course, is the made-completely-out-of-LEGOs GameBoy Advance SP that can be seen below (and here).

It was made by Flickr user lego27bricks and, yes, I really do think his/her creation looks better than the the red DSi and red 3DS XL that will soon hit store shelves across North America.

I'm guessing most of you have heard about and have seen photos of the red and black 3DS XL that will be released in a few weeks, but are you similarly aware of the "matte red" DSi that will beat it to the punch?

If not, you may want to check out this recent Tiny Cartridge post. Just be warned that, in the opinion of yours truly, it's one ugly mofo.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The gayest game ever?

For me to call it "the gayest ever," a game would have to include a great many components. For instance, it would have to include bodybuilders, divas (you know, like Lady Gaga or Madonna), frottage (at least), glitter, harness boots, jockstraps and show tunes.

Because Andrew Lloyd Webber Musicals: Sing & Dance, which allows folks to sing and dance through 32 of the Tony Award-winning composer's classic tunes and is set to be released on Sept. 14, will include just two of the aforementioned components (maybe three--I'm not sure about the glitter), I can't call it "the gayest game ever" like the guy behind the Joe. My. God. blog did yesterday.

Still, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested in reenacting the balcony scene from "Evita" while clutching my Wii Remote. (The real one, not the one some of you sickos are imagining.)

I'd be a lot more interested in Andrew Lloyd Webber Musicals: Sing & Dance, though, if it featured a few bodybuilders shaking their moneymakers while wearing harness boots and jockstraps.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

You say Bubble Bobble clone, I say Fairyland Story clone

Over the years, a lot of games--such as Chip Chan Kick!, Don Doko Don, Parasol StarsRod 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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Acquisition #139: Pop'n Magic (PC Engine)

Two months ago, I detailed in this post why I gave the Riot/Telenet-developed "Bubble Bobble clone" called Pop'n Magic a second chance.

I was loathe to admit it at the time, but I may as well do so now: I didn't actually own a copy of Pop'n Magic when I wrote the aforementioned post.

There are a couple of reasons for that, of course. One is, well, I didn't much like this rather precious (but not too precious) single-screen platformer when I first played it. Another is that even used copies of Pop'n Magic can be kind of pricey.

Thankfully, I found a reasonably priced copy on eBay a few weeks ago. The case and manual are a tad worn (you can't really tell in the photos below), but that's OK. The only thing I care about is that the game runs properly when I stick it into my trusty PC Engine Super CD-ROM2 system (which it does).

Anyway, Pop'n Magic's cover art is pretty nice, don't you think? I'm not entirely sure why the main illustration was placed on top of a photograph of an assortment of candy, although I have a feeling it's because this game, like most that follow Bubble Bobble's lead, features quite a bit of the sweet stuff. (It pops up every time you defeat an enemy, naturally.)

The inside of its manual is similarly colorful, so expect to see a Pop'n Magic-centric "Manual Stimulation" post appear soon.

All of the photos above, plus an additional one, have been added to my Flickr photostream, by the way. Check them out in all their cacophonous glory here.

See also: Previous 'Acquisition #123' posts

Monday, July 30, 2012

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (New Art Academy edition)

I have to admit that I had no intention of focusing an entire "Which Box Art is Better?" post on Nintendo's New Art Academy ... until I saw the Japanese version's cover imagery.

Although I wouldn't exactly call it mind-blowing, I think it's rather elegantly designed and I also like its summery, retro-ish color scheme.

Sadly, I can't pay such compliments to its European counterpart (below), which, at best, I consider to be a cluttered mess.

Here's hoping the North American release's cover art takes its cues from the Japanese iteration and not from the European one.

New Art Academy hit the streets of Europe on Saturday, by the way, and it will follow suit in Japan on Sept. 13. No word yet on when it'll find its way onto North American store shelves.

See also: Previous 'Which Box Art is Better?' posts