Sunday, July 07, 2019

Manual Stimulation: Gunpey (WonderSwan)

Considering how much I usually love portable puzzle games, I am disappointingly inexperienced with and uneducated about Gunpey.

On the one hand, I can understand it. Gunpey isn't the most interesting looking puzzler around--despite being one that's played with the WonderSwan turned sideways, in so-called "portrait mode."

On the other hand, I can't understand it, as the game was made by the esteemed Gunpei Yokoi.

Not that he made it himself, of course. He made it with a number of former Nintendo colleagues who helped him start a company called Koto.

At any rate, their maiden release hit Japanese store shelves alongside the original WonderSwan model on March 4, 1999.

Unfortunately, Gunpey's status as an early WonderSwan release is reflected in its rather ho-hum instruction manual, scans of which can be seen throughout this post.

This manual also reflects what I said earlier about Gunpey being far from an eye-popping puzzle game.

How so? Well, most of the acreage here is covered in text. The rest is covered in black-and-white screenshots. A pop of color can be seen now and then, but that's about it.

Which is strange, as Gunpey stars a small handful of mascot-y characters that could've livened things up a little--or a lot.

Instead, the designers who worked on the Gunpey manual ignored them almost completely.

Oh, well. At least a number of screenshots included here showcase them. (Click on and zoom in on the scans immediately above and below to see what I mean.)

What else is there to say about the Gunpey instruction booklet? Not much, if you ask me.

A bit more can be said about Gunpey the game, though. For example, although it began life on the WonderSwan, it eventually made its way to the WonderSwan Color, the original PlayStation, the PlayStation Portable, and the Nintendo DS as well.

Also, a few months after the original iteration released, a version featuring San-X's Tarepanda character released for the WonderSwan, too.

Finally, some of you might like to hear how Gunpey is played. The gist: you move line fragments vertically along a grid in order to create a single horizontal line that stretches from the left edge of the WonderSwan screen to its right edge.

Like I said earlier, hardly the most thrilling of premises for a puzzle game.

Still, my limited time with it has been enjoyable enough, so if you have a WonderSwan and you're itching to play a puzzler on it, you could do worse than pick up a copy of Gunpey.

See also: 'Manual Stimulation' posts about other WonderSwan games, including Crazy Climber, Lode Runner, and Engacho!

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