Friday, September 23, 2016

Surprise! The Year of the GameBoy Continues: Bubble Ghost

OK, so every year seems to be the "Year of the GameBoy" around these parts. Sue me!

The fact is, I'm still madly in love with Nintendo's first portable system and its fine catalog of games. Sure, the latter includes a slew of crappy titles, but the same can be said of most handhelds. Plus, for me, the GameBoy's best gems are so enjoyable they make it easy to overlook its unplayable turds.

Speaking of my on-going love affair with this brick-like device (I'm talking about its design here, not its abilities), I've currently got a burr up my butt about whittling down the GameBoy portion of my lengthy gaming bucket list.

That's why I recently acquired the cart that serves as this post's focus, actually. Well, that played a role, at least. Also relevant: Bubble Ghost's adorable cover art.

And it is pretty darn adorable, wouldn't you agree?

To be honest, I'm not sure which piece of Bubble Ghost GameBoy box art I like more: the one created for Japan or the one created for North America and Europe.

Regardless, both are easy on the eyes. And both sport the same oh-so-appealing logo.

In terms of overall packaging, though, I've got to go with Japan's GameBoy port of the game. I like that it offers up random pops of color--such as the hint of teal at the top of its box front, or the vibrant pink that's splashed across its side flaps.

That same pink shows up as an accent color on the game box's back side, while a shockingly bright yellow blankets the remainder of its surface.

Similarly appealing hues can be found on every piece of Bubble Ghost's packaging. A case in point: the subdued, bubblegum-y pink featured on the game's instruction manual. Also, the banana yellow that covers its cartridge label.

OK, so the copy I recently bought and that's on display throughout this post isn't immaculate. I don't mind that as much as you might imagine. Sure, I'd love it if it were in perfect condition, but as long as it doesn't look like a dog chewed on it, I'm OK with a couple of creased manual pages or a few frayed box edges.

After all, what really matters is that the cartridge is works. And that's exactly the case here. Which is great, as Bubble Ghost is yet another of those intriguing titles that is perfectly suited to the GameBoy.

That probably sounds funny to those of you who know a bit about its history. For those of you who don't, Bubble Ghost began life in 1987 as an Atari ST game. In that release, and the numerous other PC ports that followed in the original's footsteps, players controlled the titular ghoul using a mouse.

A press of the space bar or shift key prompts the little guy to blow out a puff of air in those versions--which is important, as this is what allows you to guide the bubble mentioned in the game's title through the many halls of a haunted house.

In this GameBoy iteration (remake, really), developed by Opera House, the system's directional pad moves the pixelated specter and its face buttons produce the needed puff of air.

The latter control scheme works surprisingly well. Also, the GameBoy's archaic hardware doesn't do much to hold back Bubble Ghost's graphics or gameplay. In other words, this cartridge is well worth checking out if you're like me and you're still interested in playing decades-old handheld games.

See also: previous 'Year of the GameBoy' posts about Noobow, Peetan and Tumblepop.

No comments: