Bubsy II

Someone call the ASPCA. NOW.
Someone call the ASPCA. NOW.

I hate Bubsy so much that if I saw someone dressed as him, I would put them in the hospital. I wouldn’t even care who they really were – they’d be headed to the emergency room. If it was someone I couldn’t beat up physically, I would throw bricks at them or perhaps try to run them over with a stolen car covered in broken glass and wasps. If they were really strong and dangerous, I would wage a months-long psychological war against them that involved calling them at all hours of the night pretending to be childhood bullies, poisoning their food with ground box jellyfish and injuring their loved ones with harsh letters criticizing their choices in life and implying that they were Scientologists. I wouldn’t stop until I took my toll of their blood. I might contemplate employing a suicide bomber just to take them out: I hate Bubsy that much – I would spend money.

It’s not about the game, it’s about the character. Bubsy inspires in me a hatred so vitrolic and total that my face is twisted in an angry grimace as I write this, and my fingers ache from hitting the keyboard hard, so hard. I want to lobotomize the part of the world’s brain that remembers Bubsy and the people that created him.

Did you ever have a completely unfunny friend who was totally unaware that their jokes were terrible and people were only laughing at them because of how terrible they were? Bubsy was created by a room full of these people. If only the room had slowly filled with sarin gas as they created the game, perhaps the world would have been spared the indignity that is the Bubsy franchise. Such was not to be. Somehow these people managed to not only create this abomination, but convince distributors that it was worth foisting onto an unsuspecting public. MORE THAN ONCE.

To be honest, I don’t really have that much to say about the mechanics of the game since I can’t stand playing it. I can only play in incredibly short bursts before I close the game down and walk away swearing. I want to travel to Cool World and become a toon so I can kill Bubsy again and again.

WHY DO I HATE THIS GAME SO MUCH

IT’S BREAKING ME

BUBSY IS WINNING

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Bubsy In: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind

Oh, Bubsy, where do we start.

Bubsy was designed by Michael Berlyn, writer/designer at text adventure powerhouse Infocom. I invite you in this instance to take the term powerhouse relatively because not that many people were making text adventures/interactive fiction.

Now text adventures are badass. Among the first attempts to make games that are strictly narrative, they also paved the way for games and fiction to merge, allowing players to navigate a text like never before and basically play all sorts of tricks you can’t with books.

Also you usually die a lot.

Now some short months before my birth, Michael Berlyn created a game called suspended, wherein the player is in a suspended animation/coma type thing serving as a human computer for controlling traffic and stuff. You kind of wake up and there was an earthquake and about a jillion error messages in your head saying that everything has gone terribly wrong. Because you are frozen and a computer, you actually can’t do anything about this yourself, but instead must employ a whole bunch of robots to repair the systems and convince the populace that you haven’t gone insane and tried to kill them all by overfoaming their lattes or causing car accidents or something so you can get out before some city worker cuts your cable and replaces you with another popsicle.

The score was tracked by how many of your robots died and Infocom gave this game a difficulty rating of Expert.

This is an example of the mind at work behind Bubsy.

The last reference an SNES owning child will 'get'.
The last reference an SNES owning child will 'get'.
Everything about the packaging of this game says it is a stupid game for babies. Cartoon cat with hare-lip style speech impediment, old movie references evoking Looney-Tunes-esque qualities. Falling pianos, anvils, bananas, etc.

Exposing a child to this game is giving them a lesson in failure unlike any any Soccer practice or Spelling Bee. It is abuse by slow degrees and I am not being funny with you. One hit means death, every death blessed with its own unique animations, only 9 lives will insulate you from the cold abyss and then only just barely. To punctuate the meaninglessness of this journey, the sole purpose is collection. Get as many balls of yarn as you can, don’t die. These two directives build the framework of a desolate life spent indoors with a vaporizer and antibacterial cleaning fluids, involuntary finger twitches stilled only by the scrubbing of hands.

Add a post-sonic running/rolling/sliding mechanic with certain death at every corner and even the most adderall-calmed little toothgrinder will beg for a time out.

A strange game. The only way of winning is not to play.

“What could pothibly go wrong”

Drowning
Drowning
“What could pothibly go wrong?”

Spikes
Spikes
“What could pothibly go wrong?”

And don't come back
And don't come back

Brutal

brutal

When I was a kid one summer I decided to round up all the cats in my neighbourhood and tie them to one and other and then shoot fireworks right at them. They’d get incredibly freaked out and start to fight. There would be fur and cat blood everywhere. It was awesome. I would charge neighbourhood kids 50 cents to watch the action and place bets and then at the end of the summer I would spend the money on skin mags and orange creamsicles. I would have gotten away with all of it had Jenny Hutchens not told Mrs. Moffet on me after she caught me drawing cats being disembowelled by each other.

I was furious with her for a long time.

We eventually started going out in sophomore year of high school and by the time we were seniors we were making hump on a regular basis. I kept alluding to wanting to marry her after graduation and I had even dropped hints to her friends that I was planning on popping the question at prom. At the end of prom when Stairway to Heaven started I could tell she was getting nervous, speaking quickly, smiling non-stop, playing with her hair. Instead of proposing I punched her in the cunt and dumped a bag of dead cats on her. I escaped under the bleachers, where I had stored the bag of cat carcasses, and then made it out the side exit. I went home and told my parents I had a lovely time. I fell asleep with a smile on my face knowing that I taught her not to fuck with me again.

This game is kind of like that but more like Mortal Kombat. You have the possibility of playing as any of the ill-named animals warriors, all of which are slightly more homo-erotic than the last.

This game, like every other game I’ve reviewed so far, is complete fucking garbage. I would not play this any longer than I had to, which I didn’t.

Animals should only do two things (neither of which is fighting):

  1. Learn how to bring me cold beverages from the fridge.
  2. Fuck right off.

Brunswick Tournament of Champions

Absolutely thrilling.
Absolutely thrilling.

I’m not gonna lie; I didn’t even play the tournament mode.  I just bowled a quick game.

My girlfriend tried to be player 2 but gave up upon discovering that it was really unintuitive.

Basically, you control the following:

1) Your player’s position.

2) Your aim, which is a vector between your position and the little blue thing in front of you that you can move around.

3) Your power, which is a classic rising and falling timing-based minigame.

4) Your spin, which is mysteriously the exact same minigame as the above – there is no option to spin left or right, just a magnitude of spin.

I figured out how bowl a strike with a left-handed character, but that’s about it.

You also get to choose how your player looks, as an identical clone of all other players, by customizing his shirt, pants, and shoes.

The real meat of customization is selecting from one of the many bizarrely detailed specialty balls that you may employ.  This shit is weird.  I had no idea this even existed.

Quantum Violet Hook

A combination of extreme hook potential, early roll and strong back-end reaction allow the Violet Hook to change direction when other balls continue to skid. Best on heavy oil.

Rhino Pro T2

The Rhino Pro T2’s center heavy action delivers power, yet with a sudden strong back-end reaction and medium length. The result is a consistant [SIC] performance on medium and oily lanes.

Now, look at those again and pretend you’re reading descriptions on condom boxes.

Eh? Eh? Heh.

Bronkie Health Hero

AKA Bronkie the Bronchiosaurus
AKA Bronkie the Bronchiosaurus

Bronkie Health Hero is an attempt at bringing an “educational” game to the SNES.  Its purported purpose is to teach kids how to deal with asthma.  You have to navigate Brokie and his friends through a world fraught with evil asthma triggers like dust and smoke.  Oh noes!

Watch out for scary asthma triggers!
Watch out for scary asthma triggers!

The concept is cute, but poorly executed.  I’m all for the idea of educational games, but the only thing this game teaches is that asthma is an exercise in frustration.  The gameplay is a poorly slapped together platform and obstacle course that has nothing to do with anything.  Obviously dinosaurs with asthma need to leap around tall buildings and avoid cigarettes.

Every now and again you come across a special dinosaur that asks you a question about asthma that you have to answer to move on.  Except, there’s no way to tell these special dinosaurs apart from the ones that are trying to worsen your asthma, so you end up trying to whack them a few times before you realise it’s ok to touch them.

Before you are allowed to breath, first you must answer these questions three.
Before you are allowed to breath, first you must answer these questions three.

Then there are the random tutorials inserted into the game, which you CAN’T SKIP!  Grrrr… I only need to be taught to use an inhaler so many times…

Inhalers are your friends!
Inhalers are your friends!

Really, this game would have been a lot better if it didn’t try to make itself into a platform game, and just focused on the educational content, like a quiz game or something of the sort. The most fun in the game is trying to deliberately expose the dinosaurs to smoke and laugh as the screen gets more and more black until the suffocate!

Verdict: Bronkie is cute and the concept of an educational game is sound, but it fails by trying to make a platform game out of it with the typical misguided “let’s slap together a bunch of things that kids like so that they’ll learn” mindset.  If it had been better thought out, it could have had a bigger impact, both as an educational tool, and as a game.

Brett Hull Hockey 95

bhh2

Brett Hull Hockey reminds me of a simpler time, you know?

Maybe it’s just me, but I remember cracking open fresh packs of hockey cards on many brisk 1992 Saturday mornings, after running with my 2-dollars-a-week allowance to the Becker’s down the street and purchasing a pack of NHL Pro Set Series I or II cards (I hear they’re worthless now, but that was never why I collected them).

I guess this game takes me back to that place and that time where I didn’t know anything about salaries and there was no fantasy hockey and points didn’t matter and it was all about watching the game. When’s the last time you watched a game, any game, and didn’t have statistics floating around in your head, making you infer what each play might be? Baseball was ruined even further by this, but it’s present in hockey too. My hockey hero as a kid in the early 90s, Wendel Clark, never put up more than 40 points a year while I was that age. But when you watched that guy play, he was so aggressive, so hungry, that you couldn’t help but be energized by his play. Those guys certainly still exist (although they’re usually really young and relegated to the fourth line), and while I still like watching these energy/checking line dudes, it doesn’t fill me with the same wonder that it did as a kid.

bhh1

A lot of stuff was simpler back then, really. There was no Internet. You had the games you had and you liked ’em. If you didn’t, you borrowed from friends or had sleepovers. Whatever, I’m getting crotchety and old now. I’ll cut myself off. What I’m trying to say is that the Internet killed the mass-produced trading cards with Franklin Antiqua fonts and I’m mad about it (So I will blog about it, apparently. It’s like going on Rikki Lake to say that TV ruined your life). Originally I was going to talk about the weird 3/4 perspective in this game, and the even weirder old guy with greasy hair who POINTS at your coaching resource allocations with his HAND, in effect being a living cursor, but what’s the point? You don’t care about that. I don’t care either. I do, however, care about a bygone era where kids had artifacts other than the ones you see in poorly-encoded Youtube videos.

Brett Hull Hockey

You might be thinking, “Hey, Brett Hull Hockey is just another hockey game on the Super Nintendo. There’s nothing special about it.” To this, I cannot even begin to fathom a response that can convey the depths to which you are incorrect. This may not be just one of the best damn hockey games on the Super Nintendo, but may in fact be one of the BEST GAMES EVER MADE. Now, wait, I can sense your confusion, despite having written this prior to your even reading it. Let me explain…

Look at the title now. Do you see the first two words there? Yes, I’m talking about Brett Hull. BRETT FUCKING HULL, MAN!! Do you still not understand now?

Brett Hull, also known as “The Golden Brett”, is not a mortal a man but in fact a gold-crafted golem designed primarily to play hockey. Unfortunately for his crafters—druids from the early first century that discovered time travel, traveled ten billion years into the future, then returned to the 20th century with future technologies solely to create an unstoppable hockey juggernaut—he advanced above and beyond his original programming to learn various secrets of time, space, and the very fabric of reality itself. With these powers, he puts bubbles into beer, holds back Skynet from advancing to the point of initiating nuclear holocaust (thus preventing the destruction of more than half of humanity on Earth since 1997), and, for reasons unknown, keeps college kids playing Dave Matthews Band tunes on their acoustic guitars for nearly two decades and counting.

In 1993, he created the epitome of video game entertainment, Brett Hull Hockey, entirely on his own simply using sand, water, and the power of his imagination. Simply inserting the cartridge into your Super Nintendo would cause the aura of his golden existence to surround you and carry you to a magical place full of rainbows, laughing puppies, and barking children. It is an experience like none other.

Unfortunately, this magic is lost when playing a copied ROM of the game through a software emulator. What instead comes out is a standard hockey title with somewhat decent graphics and controls but shitty AI. You shouldn’t be pirating, anyway.