Analog Arcade: Puzzle Bobble (Bust-A-Move)
Beg your Mom for some quarters, jump on your bike, ride down to that dark, smokey, noisy and slightly dangerous home for one of your video games– the Arcade!
Puzzle Bobble or as it’s known in the US, Bust-A-Move is one of my all-time favorite games. I love it. I love almost every version of it on every platform.
It’s puzzle game based on the characters from Bubble Bobble, two little dinosaurs Bub and Bob. In that game you shoot little bubbles out of you mouth to trap enemies and collect little fruits and ice cream cones. In Puzzle Bobble, you use a little pointer to shoot bubbles to bounce to the top of the screen and cling onto other bubbles. When you match 3 or more bubbles of the same color, they pop dropping everything hanging under them. A lot of the bubbles are filled with enemies from Bubble Bobble.
It’s a very simple game mechanic but adding new ways to play and amazing level design has kept this game series alive. There are later games that introduced characters that had different abilities that would affect your game field and your opponent’s. If you really knew how to use those other characters, there was nothing that could stop you.
This game was released on the Neo Geo arcade cabinet that included multiple games that you could pick to play, such as Samurai Showdown, Alpha Mission, and Metal Slug. It was released during the period in arcades when they were completely dominated by fighting games.
I always loved walking into an arcade, past all the crazy kids playing super loud Street Fighter II and plop a quarter in to start up the cheerful Puzzle Bobble. I was really happy when challenger would step up because they meant that I would just wipe up the floor with them. I was almost unstoppable.
This game lead to a lot of fights between my friends. Once we were all playing the N64 version and we would take turns playing the 2 player game mode. When the person lost, they lost their turn and the winner stayed on. Well needless to say it devolved into a “let’s take down Gabe” contest which resulted in me winning over 60 straight rounds! Man, do I love that game…
Do you like Puzzle Bobble? Do you still play a version of it on something?