Bubble Bobble (NES)

1986 - Taito (Arcade, NES, Game Boy, lots of others!)

1986 – Taito (Arcade, NES, Game Boy, lots of others!)


Have you ever gone back to somewhere you used to go, or even where you used to live, looked at a particular spot and said “there – it all happened there”?

I’ve been house-sitting my mom’s place (the house I grew up in) over the last few days, and as I played Red Dead Redemption on her snazzy 55-inch TV in the living room last night, it dawned on me;  in this very corner of this very house, on this very same carpet, I sat about two feet away from where I was now, for hours and hours, playing video games.  Of course, I had a few other rooms I played games in, as well, but the idea remains the same.

And then my mind goes “well, wait a minute, the Earth rotates and spins around the sun, so, it’s technically not the exact same space at all.”


Know what I'm sayin'?

Know what I’m sayin’?



The 55-inch flat-panel TV now sits where that old busted TV\table-top used to sit.  I’d invite friends over and play games in the living room, or watch recorded episodes of Captain N and The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 on VHS.

There was one occasion where the video game session didn’t last very long, and actually ended with me in tears.  It’s a bit ridiculous, but I was only five years old, or so.

I had a friend named Tristan who lived in our neighborhood.  We didn’t play outside all the time like I did with my closer neighbor-friends, because he lived in another part of the neighborhood, and it was far.  It was only the street running parallel to ours, but it was still far, to me.  From time to time, we’d ride bikes, search a nearby stream for frogs and tadpoles, that sort of thing.

I don’t remember Tristan as being much of a video gamer, but I remember us sitting in our living room one time playing Bubble Bobble.  We hadn’t made it very far into the game, and he and I got into an argument about level numbers.  In that game, stage numbers are at the top of the screen, and stages 1-9 are numbered 01, 02, 03, and so-forth.

Tristan kept calling the numbers ten, twenty, thirty, forty, etc…  I’d tell him “you’re wrong, it’s just one-two-three-four!”  I was starting to get mad, but I was still letting it slide for the most part.  By the 8th stage, however, he got adamant that it was eighty, and I was adamant that it was eight.

We argued about it, I cried, and he went home, still not understanding why “08” did not mean “80”.

We were still friends, and I even “ran away” to his house one time.  I was in a pouty and argumentative mood one day, so I walked “all the way over” to Tristan’s house without telling anyone.  He was there watching cartoons with his two brothers, who were twins.  I hung out with them for a while, but I wasn’t there very long before our old Pontiac Grand Prix pulled into the driveway, and I knew I was in trouble.

Mom wasn’t particularly happy with me, that day.  Can’t say I blame her!

Tristan’s family ended up moving to the Northwest Territories not long afterwards.  I’m not sure if his dad was in the Army or the RCMP, but when I looked at a map and found out where they were moving to, it was the first time I really thought “whoa, Canada is HUGE”.

I managed to track him down on Facebook when I first created my account in ’07 or so, but he only vaguely remembered who I was, since he left the province at such a young age.


If he barely remembered who I was, I doubt he’d remember that!



While I remember having quite a bit of fun with Bubble Bobble, it’s really just your typical 80’s arcade game.  Like Donkey Kong, it’s a one-screen-at-a-time affair, and it could get pretty intense!  I haven’t played it in quite a while, simply because I’m not sure my brain could handle a hundred (or more) stages with that repetitive music, which I used to think was among the best on the NES.

Not only that, but the game’s “good ending” only happens if you get the crystal ball at level 95 or so, and if you play through the whole game in two-player mode.  Lame!!

Bubble Bobble Part 2 was actually a vastly superior game that I’d love to have in my collection, but the last time I checked Amazon.ca, it was $250!!  I’ll settle for an emulator for now, thanks!

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