Thursday, June 16, 2016

Special delivery: Kaneko's Peetan for GameBoy

I don't think I've ever mentioned this here or anywhere else, but for some time now I've dutifully--some would say obsessively--maintained a list of "Holy Grail" GameBoy titles.

Basically, the games named on it are ones I desperately want to own before I kick the bucket.

The list used to be pretty long. I've been able to lop a number of games off of it in recent years, months and weeks, though, thanks to some timely perusals of eBay, Yahoo Japan Auctions and the like.

A few of the titles that have made the transition from my handy text file to my grubby little hands: Tumblepop, Totsugeki! Ponkotsu Tank, Taiyou no Tenshi MarloweSnow Bros. Jr., Painter Momopie, Noobow, Bubble Bobble Junior and Astro Rabby.

Oh, and Kaneko's Peetan.

Tracking down and acquiring a complete-in-box copy of that 1991, Japan-only release has been more difficult than you might think. After all, the game rarely pops up on any of the auction sites or online shops I eluded to earlier, and when it does, it usually goes for an obscene amount of money. (Here's a good example.)

So, when I came across the far-cheaper-than-four-hundred-dollars copy of Peetan showcased in the photos found throughout this post, you can bet I jumped on it.

It's not perfect. The colorful outer box is ever-so-slightly torn on its rear side, and the instruction manual is a bit crumpled. Still, it's complete and the game cartridge works like a charm, so I'm more than satisfied.

If you've never played, or even heard of, Peetan, the gist is that it's a lot like one of those old Game & Watch titles Nintendo produced during the 1980s. How so? Well, the whole she-bang is depicted in black and white (or black and green, if you're using an original GameBoy model), for starters. Also, each and every stage sticks to the confines of the brick-like handheld system's screen.

Beyond that, Peetan's gameplay is refreshingly simple. You control a mama chicken who patrols the top fifth of the play area. Below her are a trio of helpless chicks as well as a bunch of seesaws. Throwing a wrench into the works: a hungry mutt (or wolf) who has his eyes--and terrifying chops--set on the above-mentioned hatchlings.

As he stalks your offspring, you press the GameBoy's directional pad to move left or right and jab its A or B buttons to drop eggs that either knock the canid on the head or catapult your chicks toward safety (aka the top of the screen).

It's all rather stressful--something that probably isn't obvious in this Peetan gameplay footage--although the boppy tunes that percolate in the background help cut the tension a bit. (But only a bit.)

Would Peetan have earned a place on the "must buy" list mentioned early on in this post if its gameplay weren't so compelling and exciting? Honestly, I think it would have. Look at that cover art and tell me you wouldn't say the same--if you had any interest in collecting GameBoy titles, I mean.

This Inter State-made game's instruction manual's quite a looker, too, although I hesitate to compare it to its cartridge label. (Don't take my word for it; flip through the Peetan manual yourself.) Still, I'm sure you get the point: that Peetan's packaging is top notch all the way around.

What do you think? Also, have any of you played this old game? If so, what did you think of it?

See also: 'Nu-Bo, Nuubou, Noobow, New--oh, whatever...'

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