Noby Noby Boy, is…well, it’s a bit strange, I won’t lie. With no real goals to speak of and – for the most part – a complete lack of the positive reinforcement I’m used to games feeding me, it’s hard to explain why I’m as fixated on it as I am. But I’ve been playing a lot of it, and damn it, I’m having a blast.
[[image: ar_022509_noby_01.jpg:There’s some sort of adolescent joke to make here, I’m sure of it.:center:0]]
I know perfectly well why I gave it a chance anyway: it’s the next thing to come from Keita Takahashi, and having recently (and very randomly) introduced my girlfriend to Katamari Damacy, it was perfect timing, really. Even more than that, though, I found myself attracted to the idea that everyone playing the game was contributing to GIRL’s progress all at once. The only real point to the game, if it needs one, is to stretch yourself to contribute to this meta goal. It just strikes me as one of those things that will seem quaint after the fact but is a rush to be a part of, y’know? (And speaking of which, you may be interested to know that as of Monday afternoon, four days after we started, Earth’s collective Playstation 3 owners have managed to grow GIRL enough to pass the Moon!)
It’s probably my imagination – combined with all the Retro Game Challenge excitement lately – but it seems to me that the purposefully vague instructions and nonexistent hype are the best attempt to recreate that NES school yard method of information swapping that the internet killed. Everything from cool moves to weird tricks (I’ve heard no less than three slightly different input codes for unlocking an easter egg in the manual) were being discovered as people collaborated to figure out what the heck to do. Aside from a very brief tutorial, the game hardly tells you how to do anything, and though the power of the internet has already probably spoiled most of that, it’s a valiant effort.
[[image: ar_022509_noby_02.jpg:Age-old story – BOY meets GIRL, GIRL leaves to find friends on other planets, BOY wanders if his breath smells.:center:0]]
In a more serious game this would be frustrating, but Noby Noby Boy’s open nature somehow provides encouragement to just play. If you let yourself buy into the concept, then the lack of a time limit or goal – save for the worldwide one – tends to shut off the part of your with the alarms sounding because you don’t know how or what you’re doing. Like the first time I played Mario 64, I found myself moving around just to see where I could go and how I could move, and the game never once told me how I should be doing this or interacting with that. It really is more like a toy in that regard, and I for one am perfectly happy with it, especially for the measly $5 I spent on it.
Of course, I also ate a woman and farted her out into space while the man she was holding hands with fled in terror, so my refined high-brow humor may be just as responsible as my subconscious desire to return to simpler times for my fascination with the game. Who knows.