Nerdy Monday13: Bubble Bobble, anyone?

Let’s talk about some Bubble Bobble.  Remember that game?  It was first released in 1986 on the NES.  It then was ported to many different home PCs as well as other gaming systems.

There are 100 levels in this game.  BEFORE you get to the final boss. It was a great game.  I used to play this with my mom (before my little brother was born) and we could never ever beat it!  It’s been about 20 years since I’ve last played this game, but I got it, I played it, and I beat it.  A special thank you goes out to my girlfriend for being my Player 2.  Let me tell you, we spent an entire day playing this game on and off.  And about 1/3rd of that time was spent on the boss level.

Before I even begin to get into the boss level, let me give you a rundown of the game.  Even if you’re a pretty hardcore retro gamer like myself, don’t even think about playing this game by yourself.  If you need to, call me, and I’ll come play this game with you.  It’s pretty tricky, and after going through all 100 of the levels, I realize why my mom & I never beat it when I was a kid.

You play as either “Bub” or “Bob”, as their names are given.  I can’t tell which is which, your guess is as good as mine.  And I don’t have the original instruction manual, because I wasn’t about to pay $30 extra dollars for it when the actual game cartridge itself was only $10 (another special thanks goes out to Ben at the Tri-Cities Flea Market).  You wouldn’t be able to guess the plot, not that it matters anyways.  But the plot of the game is that Bub & Bob go looking for their girlfriends who have been captured by monsters.  If you read the intro screen after you pick how many players you want it says:  “Now is the beginning of a fantastic story!  Let us make a journey to the cave of monsters!  Good luck!”

I hope you watched a little bit of that video.  And I hope you heard that music in the background.  It’s lighthearted, nostalgic, and a little kiddy/childish, or whatever you want to call it.  It also doesn’t stop for 100 levels.  That’s right, the music only changes when you get to the boss level.  So not only do you have to worry about your 3 lives being depleted in one level, you have to worry about whether or not you’re going to pull out chunks of your hair due to the monotonous looped music.  I almost did.  But the good thing about it is that the game gets pretty challenging early on, so you’re not really paying attention to the music.  You’re more worried about the enemies…

If you’re looking for a site that will give you all the information you need to know about this game, you won’t find it here.  But you WILL find it here.  That website told me that “Stoner” (pictured above) is in 96/100 levels.  So you’re going to be seeing that little bugger roughly 96% of the time.  Or something like that, I’m not a mathemagician.  All of the enemies do pretty much the same thing, the patterns the jump/run/fly around in differ slightly, but killing one isn’t any harder than killing another.  The only ones that you can’t kill are the “Baron Von Blubba’s”.  You see they only show up when you take too much time to beat a level.  If you’re playing 2 players, one shows up for each of you, and they chase you until you either beat the level, or you die.  Somehow your time resets if you die, whatever.

Overall, if you’re looking for a simple, almost mindless game to play, this is the game you’re looking for.  The skill required to play it is minimal at best, and everything seems to happen differently in any given scenario.  My girlfriend noticed it and said something like: “I think I’ve figured it out!  If you jump straight down onto one of the bad guys, and shoot a bubble as soon as you land on them, you kill them, and don’t die.”  I tried it about 45 times, and died every time, maybe the game is actually self aware and likes certain players over others.

The boss level.  If you added up the total actual game play time, I bet you my g-friend and I spend a good solid hour and a half battling this boss.  Then again, we didn’t look on youtube or read online anything before playing.  We just jumped in and tried to handle it.  It took us a while, but we had fun.  That being said, here’s a video of a guy named “DarkEvil87” that beat the boss level by himself in less than a minute and a half.  And judging from his score, he played the entire game on his original 3 lives.  Good job man!

That’s really all I have to say about this game.  Pick it up, and try it.  It’s definitely not going to be the worst game you’ll ever play.  And if you’re into those problem solving/puzzle games, you might find some cryptic stuff that works, that I wasn’t able to find.  Who knows?

[Also, if you’re wanting to find out about the boss level, and have your own copy of this game, the code to get there is “GEJJJ”.  That should let you bypass all 100 levels and find out how ridiculously hard that level is first hand.]

It’s also worth mentioning that there was a sequel to this game.  They go for around $150 on eBay now, because they’re pretty rare.  I mean, the first one was rare, and it took them 4 years after releasing it in Japan to bring it over to the States.  I’ve never played Bubble Bobble 2, and have had my eye on it for a while, I just haven’t forced myself to spend that much money on a 20 year old game.  I hope it is everything the legends say it is, and I hope to have my own copy (not an emulator) soon.  We’ll see.

That’s it for this week.

The Jester.

*All pictures and videos are property of their respective owners and may be subject to copyright laws.  Pictures obtained through Google Image Search.  Videos obtained through*


2 Responses to “Nerdy Monday13: Bubble Bobble, anyone?”

  1. you really played the original version? Waaw, super cool.
    Me and my sister used to play it on some sort of MSK computer, from my brother. The joysticks had this secret combination that would put you directly in level 80.
    What gaming system did you play it on?
    I’d soo love to play it again with my sister!

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