Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Manual Stimulation: Yume Penguin Monogatari (Famicom)

If you geek out over instruction manuals like I do, you may want to start collecting Famicom games.

Yes, some of the earliest examples of manuals made for this system's titles are more than a bit barebones in nature (see: Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros.), but later ones can be quite fabulous.

Case in point: the manual produced for Konami's Yume Penguin Monogatari, which I previously discussed in this post.

All you need to do is check out the back page of Yume Penguin Monogatari's instruction manual to know it's top-shelf stuff. (By the way, I'd highly recommend clicking on each of the scans that can be found throughout this post, as that'll allow you to take a much better, and closer, look at their brilliance.)

The next few pages are pretty great, too--with the ones below providing readers with their first look at this game's main characters as well as their first taste of its rather head-scratching story.

Don't quote me on this, but I believe the illustration above is supposed to show Yume Penguin Monogatari's protagonist, Penta, struggling to balance his love of food with the love he feels for his ex-girlfriend.

The illustrations on the left-hand page above, on the other hand, show what happens to Penta if he's hit by one of the game's enemies or ingests any of the food said baddies toss at him. (Conversely, "diet drinks" found within each stage enable him to lose weight.)

Penta's moves actually differ depending on how big or small he is at any given time, by the way--with the projectile "po" attack (all the way to the left) being the most desirable, of course.

As nice as it is to be able to check out illustrated versions of Yume Penguin Monogatari's handful of items and power-ups (in the scan above), it's kind of hard to care about them when the next number of manual pages are stuffed to the gills with hand-drawn depictions of its colorful (and cute) cast of baddies.

The pig-snouted, Parodius-esque boss ship showcased in the left-hand page above may be my favorite enemy in the entire game, I have to say--although the grinning, big-eared, ghost-like boss on the right is pretty great, too.

Sadly, I've yet to encounter the in-game versions of Yume Penguin Monogatari's late-stage baddies, as I've never made it more than a few levels in before finding myself staring at a "Game Over" screen. I'm going to do my best to rectify that soon, though--in part so I can write a "Great Gaymathon" review of this platformer-slash-shmup hybrid.

In the meantime, are there any specific elements of this instruction manual that stick out at any of you? If so, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

See also: previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts


finchiekins said...

I really like the limited color palate. When i was a kid i wanted full-color stuff but for some reason the limited GB manuals always appealed to me, and this does too.

thegaygamer.com said...

Oh, I agree, finchiekins. Like you, I longed for full-color manuals as a kid, but as an adult I prefer these limited-color ones. It makes them seem more like pop art or something like that, don't you think? And, yes, I love the similar ones produced for the GameBoy (Japanese GB, especially), too.

michaelstearns said...

It reminds me a lot of books I used to have as a kid, that would be printed in black and white but with one or two "tone" colors used as well (Harold and the Purple Crayon is an easy example). I always assumed that made printing a bit cheaper, but it must be much cheaper (or not worth the effort) anymore since manuals are full color or black and white (or not included at all!)

Really it's cool that in this case they traded black for blue (I didn't even notice at first that black wasn't included!), and they seem to get a lot more use out of it than black would have given. Pretty clever!

Kaze said...

I love this game! I remember playing this randomly with some friends and being drawn in by the cute graphics and being surprised by the weird premise! Reading the story now, Penta's girlfriend Penko is such a jerk! He should just dump her already! lol

Justin Difazzio said...

HIPPO! There's a hand-drawn hippo enemy in this manual. That's an instant win.

thegaygamer.com said...

Ha ha! You're right. I skipped right over it due to the pig-nosed boss ship. Sorry about that :)

thegaygamer.com said...

Yep, the girlfriend definitely deserves to be dumped, not the other way around, IMO. Of course, we're talking about a Japanese game from the early 1990s aimed at young boys, so maybe we shouldn't be too hard on this one's story :)

thegaygamer.com said...

Huh, I don't believe I've ever read a book like the ones you talk about here, Michael. I certainly like the idea of a children's book with a limited color palette, though.

And, yes, I love how blue replaces black throughout this particular manual. Gives it a much softer look, IMO, among other things.

TheGameroomBlitz said...

Just wait 'till you beat the game. Geez!! You'll want to make penguin-burgers out of her.

To be fair, the story does open the door to a pretty clever play mechanic; one that wasn't attempted again until Metal Slug 2, which let you pig out on food and get really obese in the process. Like everything else in the game, the flab was meticulously animated, to the point where the rolls of fat ripple from the kick of your firearm.

thegaygamer.com said...

Now you're making me nervous, Jess! What on earth does she do? Does he get skinny for her only to find that she now prefers him to be thicker? Or does she gain weight herself? I guess I should beat the darn thing and find out on my own, eh?

This is the first I've heard of the eating/gaining weight mechanism in Metal Slug 2, BTW. Of course, I've only spent a smidge of time with any Metal Slug game, so maybe that explains things...

TheGameroomBlitz said...

You're getting warmer, but I won't ruin the surprise for you!

By the way, just to satisfy your curiosity...


You get points for picking up food items, but if you grab TOO many, you plump out while a voice shouts, "Uh oh! BIG!" The only ways you can burn off the extra calories (provided you're not killed) is with exercise or diet drinks. It's not essential to the gameplay at all, but it's a great detail from a series famous for them. Even in the very first game, there was a bread power up that turned moldy if you didn't grab it in time.

thegaygamer.com said...

Ha ha! The problem, Jess, is that I've never been all that good at this game--although I have to admit I've never really given it my all. Maybe I'll try that soon.

Thanks for the additional info about Metal Slug 2, BTW. How fun! I really have to give that series a more thorough look at some point.

Kaze said...

Oh, I completely agree with you and love this game! I was just being silly! ^^ I hope to track down a copy someday!

Kaze said...


He’s the main character of this story. This particular fellow isn’t bothered by something
like a little extra weight, but the words of his girlfriend, Penko, are bolts
of lightning that strike his heart……


This is Penta’s tentative girlfriend. She’s a real pushy gal who forces a dilemma
on Penta.


He’s a flashy penguin who burns with tenacity over an
illicit love. Penta’s romantic rival!


Penta and Penko were boyfriend and girlfriend. However, their relationship became a little
strained due to the meddling of Penta’s rival, Ginji.

One day, Penta worked up all his courage and proposed to
Penko, but she responded with, “If you really love me, lose some weight! I hate fat people!”

The shocked Penta then decided in his heart that he would go
through a hellish “shape up course” in order to get skinny! Upon hearing this, Ginji concocted a plan to
win Penko’s affections and make her hate our hero by distributing things like food
traps and minions throughout Penta’s “shape up course” to make him gain

Now then, will Penta withstand the food’s temptations and
have a successful diet? Also, what will become of his love………

Kaze said...

In order to thank you for posting these scans and for some fun practice,
I did a rough translation of the story and character descriptions! ^^

thegaygamer.com said...

Oh, I knew you were being silly! And, really, you were right--she's a jerk, at least based on what I know of her. Anyway, here's hoping you track down a copy sometime soon!

thegaygamer.com said...

This is great, Kaze! And, wow, Penta's girlfriend really is nasty :( Hmmm, and now I'm even more curious to find out what she does/says at the end of the game...

thegaygamer.com said...

Thank you so much, Kaze! This is awesome :) I'm sure others will appreciate and enjoy your efforts, too.