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
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s