NES ABC, Part Four

I should be working on GameSpite Quarterly 2 layouts, but I felt the need to revisit the NES ABC project just to avoid anyone thinking it’s a dead project a mere three posts in! After seeing the results, though, it probably wasn’t time well spent. I work better when I focus, so this particular entry’s artwork is a bit lacking. Ah well. Complaints I don’t want to hear: (1) A Boy and His Blob should be filed under B; (2) technically, this drawing is of a girl and a frog-thing rather than a boy and a blob; (3) this is about the NES game but uses the Wii remake’s art style; (4) this is about the NES game but uses the Wii remake’s art style badly. Thanks for your cooperation, citizen.

ToastyFrog’s NES ABC: A Boy and His Blob – Trouble on Blobonia
David Crane/Absolute | Magical Jellybean Quest | 1989

Yuki: I really enjoyed this game when I was young. I suspect the fact that I was too young to properly understand what I was supposed to be doing contributed to my enjoyment. Instead of trying to win the game, which I have recently discovered is a frustrating and unforgiving taskmaster, I simply had fun playing around in underground caverns with a boy and his adorable, mysterious Blobby, which would transform into strange shapes when fed candy. Another thing I recently discovered is that the cute version of the game I played was not the same as its original American version, in which the boy was an awkward stick-person and Blobby was a couple of simple geometric shapes. I think is is the only instance I know of in which an NES game was reverse-localized, with the ugly being taken out for Japan instead of added for the U.S.

ToastyFrog: Don’t be racist. America is land borne from a grim, hardscrabble existence. Ugly things remind us of our ancestor’s hardships. In that sense, A Boy and His Blob is a true act of patriotism, ’cause man is it ugly. It can be forgiven that, though, because it’s suffering an identity crisis. It’s really a good game on the wrong system, you see. It’s very much the successor to the Pitfall! games, which were masterpieces on Atari 2600. It has the same sense of exploration and treasure collecting and unflinching difficulty, but it also adds a strange mutant creature to the mix. If this had been a 2600 game, wow, it would have been heralded from on high. But it arrived instead a few years too late and with a look that didn’t really fit the NES’s general style, so the whole thing feels a little off. It’s interesting and fun, if you’re patient enough, but don’t expect to be coddled. Something tells me the upcoming remake is going to ditch the difficulty along with the ugly, but since the NES game’s difficulty mostly stems from awkward collision detection and untelegraphed, blink-and-you’ll-die hazards, I think I’m OK with that.

10 thoughts on “NES ABC, Part Four

  1. The music from A Boy and His Blob still haunts my nightmares. I can remember every note with intense fidelity for some awful reason.
    I had this game for the NES as a kid, but I cannot remember how I came by it. My guess was it went on clearance and some thoughtful relative bought it for me. I enjoyed tricking the Blob to eating ketchup jelly beans and turning into rocket shoes and walls and whatnot.

  2. Keep up the ABC project Jeremy, I’m enjoying it and the art! I can contribute nothing to a conversation about a boy and his blob though… I hate that game.

  3. Don’t you think Toasty looks a bit… um… phallic?

    I’d like to also point out that Kishi disappeared right around the time that Yuki was reintroduced.

  4. Honestly, the whole cave portion of the game wasn’t particularly hard. Weird confusing and non-linear sure, but not so much hard.

    The problem with the game was when you went off into space, and suddenly a very slippery platformer gains some bullet hell screens, and then you have to deal with the slowly descending thermonuclear cherries.

    Seriously, what death is cheaper than realizing that slowly descending fruit will cause instant death, not just from touching you, but by way of destroying the entire world if one piece hits the ground anywhere before being shot?

  5. Wasn’t there a trick you could do where if you through the Blob as a coconut just before getting to the cherry screens and followed it closely enough, none of the cherries ever appeared?

  6. through = threw. That’s what I get for trying to quickly type a comment while my code is compiling.

    I fail at using the internet.

  7. Every time this game is mentioned; its difficulty is too. I rented this game when it came out in 1989 meaning I was 12 years old. I then proceeded to beat it in the course of a weekend. No walk-through, no tips, just trial and error. It has since stood in my mind as one of my favorite games. I don’t remember it being all that hard or cheap. Well, I remember dying because I didn’t use a specific bean to look ahead before Punching a hole. But once you got the rules it just felt like a creative exploration. Any problem you ran into could be solved by the proper jelly bean.

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