Tag Archives: eggplant

FGC #270 Kickle Cubicle

Here comes some kicking!I’m starting to worry that this website is doing something to my brain.

Today’s we’re exploring Kickle Cubicle… Kinda. Unfortunately for everyone reading this blog and expecting me to stay on topic, I’ve got bad news, Kickle Cubicle has forced me to reevaluate everything about Gogglebob.com, and, whoops, now you’re going to read an article about my random meanderings. Sorry! Blame Irem! They already destroyed the world once.

Er-hem… Kickle Cubicle is one of those weird NES action/puzzle hybrids that you don’t seem to see much anymore. Basically, you’ve got Kickle, a snowman looking fellow, and he’s in an overhead-viewed ice world with a few magical bags lying around. Kickle must collect these bags, but, horror of horrors, white ice people can’t jump, so he has to make his own frozen bridges. This is accomplished by using Kickle’s two skills: ice breath that can freeze (most) enemies into shovable ice cubes, and ice pillar summoning magic that… summons an ice pillar. There’s… probably a better name for that, but I can’t seem to find the manual anywhere around here. Regardless, Kickle can then kick these ice blocks around, and, using his pillars to guarantee the blocks aren’t pushed right off the world, these icy enemies can be made to fill in the gaps in Kickle’s world. The road to Heaven is paved with frozen monsters. Grab all the bags, move on to the next Swiss cheese stage, and repeat for four full worlds of fun.

More kicking!My first thought on reviewing KC was basically to compare it to other FGC entries. Kickle is rescuing vegetables in a frozen environment… just like a certain pair of Eskimos we all know and love. And Kickle’s ice-breath-to-freeze-monsters is very similar to Lolo’s eggifying beam, and with much the same purpose. In fact, my first inclination for this article was to make some kind of post about “missed opportunities” or something, and elucidate how Kickle Cubicle, a game released after both of the previously mentioned games, seems to take concepts from both and create an actually good game. Lolo would be better with unlimited “ice breath”, and Ice Climbers would be better as any other game on the planet. Kickle Cubicle strangely draws from those old games (couldn’t just copy Mario like everybody else, hm?), but creates its own, unique experience. A lesson is learned, and malevolent clowns are frozen in ice. Win-win.

And then something snapped in my brain. I realized my first impulse to contextualize this game was to compare it to two games I had played recently. And then I realized that “recently” in reference to The Adventures of Lolo 2 was almost a year and one hundred articles ago, and Ice Climber was friggen FGC #10, nearly a full year before that eggplant nonsense. And then I realized that that means I’ve been maintaining this site and the “Fustian Gaming Challenge” for nearly a full two years. And then I needed to sit down.

And, since I apparently can only work through my problems through writing, here we are.

My first impulse was, basically, fear. I play videogames, I like videogames, and I own approximately twelve billion little discs and plastic boxes that play videogames. However, I don’t consider myself a gamer. I am a well-rounded, special human being with wants and desires, and, incidentally, I play videogames. Never mind that I’ve been playing videogames constantly since I was five. Never mind that I consider “selling off” bits of my collection to be some manner of heresy (and have thought as much since I was six). Never mind that I bought a house based almost entirely on how I could picture my “future” gaming room (“The NES games will look perfect stacked on these shelves” “Sir, that’s supposed to be for kitchenware”). No, I’m not addicted, I can stop anytime I want. Haha, this relationship with my ex-girlfriend is just like my relationship with the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, that’s not weird at all, right?

More clowning!But outright denial about my own lot in life aside, my second thought was the fear that this site is eating itself, ouroboros style. Some additional context for that one: I used to be in a rock band. We’ve covered this before. We played original music, and released two albums that were purchased by… let’s see here, how many members of the band had parents?… probably ten people. The first album had lyrics that were about all sorts of stuff, from love songs to rebellion to watching anime (to be clear, the song was a metaphor for feeling like an outcast for enjoying something different than other people, it wasn’t The Ballad of Shinji… wait… maybe it was). The second album, meanwhile, was released after a solid two years of touring, playing podunk venues, cooperating with other bands “in the scene” that you could barely trust to not steal your guitar picks, and absolutely not selling any albums (but maybe a t-shirt?). Suffice it to say, we may have been a little bitter about all that, and, when I listen to that album now, I can identify that a healthy 75% of the lyrics are either coded or overt references to experiences within the band, some musical complaints even aimed at other members of the band. A year after that album was released, the band was a hobbled, broken mess that eventually went out with a whimper at some carnival thing. Anybody want to hear a pretty okay cover song? We used to do original music, but it became so filled with venom, even we didn’t want to hear it anymore…

And, honestly, I fear seeing that happen to the site. No, I don’t dislike writing these articles, and, no, I don’t have some kind of weird feud with the comments section or something (Metal Man Master, please keep posting!), but I fear the site becoming about itself, rather than, ya know, the whole of human existence. I’ve been writing about three different videogames every week for the last two years, and I’m worried that will impact my ability to think about anything else. The third article on this site was kind of about Mega Man V, but more about the death of my grandfather. And then the next article was about a ghost ninja skeleton. This site has always been eclectic, but I genuinely fear the idea that my brain is only thinking about videogames now, and, thus, I can only compare games to games to games to games until the end of time.

But then… I got over it.

More kicking!I want to say there’s some secret, good ending here. I want to say that the next game I’m covering is, I don’t know, Mother Issues II: The Revenge, and I’ll turn in a fine essay about the human condition and compare it to the struggle of the common man. Unfortunately, I know that’s not going to happen. Next on the hit list is probably a fighting game, and I’ll probably just fixate on the fact that there’s a dinosaur involved or something. I know how my mind works, and I know I can’t arbitrarily force a sincere, humanistic article any more than I can indiscriminately create a historical look at the Hero of Time.

But it all boils down to one stupid, narcissistic thing: I like reading my old articles. I like watching my old videos. It took ages to put together that silly Bohemian Rhapsody thing, and, by all accounts, I should be God damn sick of that thing by now (I pretty much reviewed that project’s progress, listening to the whole six minute song, every night for a month), but… I still like it. And it’s not just about staring into the mirror and giving my sexy bod a thumbs up, it’s that I genuinely like what I’m producing here, and that means I sometimes enjoy it as creator and audience. From moment one of this blog, my mission statement was to produce the kind of content that I’d like to see, and, somehow, after nearly two years, I’m still doing that.

Even got a crosspadSo if I’m in a videogame rut right now, that’s okay. I still like what I’m producing, and, whether I’m talking about a bear in bear armor or lecturing on Zelda, I’m proud of this site. Yes, some articles might wind up dependent on other articles, but that’s natural now that this blog has become a part of my life like, ya know, the rest of my life. I didn’t quit the Xenosaga LP when I realized I spent most of Easter Sunrise Service thinking about magical space robots, and I’m not quitting this blog because a videogame blog has a tendency to talk about videogames.

Yes, Gogglebob.com and the FGC have done something to my brain, but, hey, I can live with that.

FGC #270 Kickle Cubicle

  • System: NES… and that’s it. This would be good as a mobile release, but… Oh? There was an arcade version? That had to be weird.
  • Number of players: I suppose at least Ice Climber can tout its two player mode, while Kickle Cubicle is a strictly one-player affair.
  • You know, you could have saved this navel-gazing article for the actual two year anniversary of the site: I yam what I yam.
  • Veggie Tales: Was there some kind of eggplant shortage during the 80’s in Japan? Why are they everywhere on the NES? This is really bothering me…
  • More kicking!Favorite Enemy: Hey, I found the instruction manual, and apparently the bird-in-a-hat looking enemy is named Mr. Hoople, and his description reads: “Tries to get in the way”. He might be the least threatening “menace” on the NES, and that’s from the same system that premiered the slime.
  • Did you know? There are two malevolent clown enemies in this game, Bonkers and Piro. That should not be allowed.
  • Would I play again: Maybe! Seriously! It seems like there’s a lot of promise in this action/puzzle game. Give me a Switch port, and I’m there.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Shinobi for the Playstation 2! I guess three months between ninja entries is allowed. Shinobi grabs his shuriken yet again! Please look forward to it!

More kicking!

FGC #250 Kid Icarus

You are now hearing this theme songKid Icarus isn’t bad, but there is definitely something “wrong” there. In replaying through the whole of the game for this review, I desperately tried to figure out the problem. Was it the deadly vertical scrolling? No, that’s a pain, but it didn’t offer any challenges that Mario or angel alike couldn’t overcome. Was it the labyrinthine, repetitive dungeons? No, they’re annoying, but a quick trip to the internet made those maps surmountable (I suppose graph paper could have sufficed in a pinch). And the final level is actually kind of a fun reward for completing the rest of the challenges, so that can’t be the trouble.

No, in playing Kid Icarus, I realized where the real problem lies: Every single time a new monster popped on the screen, I said, “Oh great, it’s this butthead.”

Watch out for buttheads

Like, look at these buttheads. Infinitely respawning buttheads? Yep, right here in the first level, and then every level after that.

GAZE

And these buttheads just float wherever they want. Monoeyes? Oh, that’s a clever name… for a butthead.

Grandpa, that's just Maggie

Ah, the grim personification of death, or just another butthead that is going to kill Pit? I think you know the answer.

There are so many buttheads, we might be here a while…

FGC #167 Adventures of Lolo 2

Push on, little eggAllow me to explain The Eggplant Paradox.

I’m assuming that, if you’re reading this, you’re a human. You’re also likely to be a human of some advanced age, or at least older than ten. If so, you’re familiar with the phenomena of your taste changing as you grow older. No, I’m not talking about getting over your childish obsession with Voltron, or acquiring a greater appreciation for classical music like the Beastie Boys oeuvre; no, I’m talking about your literal taste buds, and how those change over the years. Everyone knows that children have a predisposition towards sweets (which is theoretically a biological imperative to help a child accumulate enough calories to properly grow… basically, ancient humans grew on the same principles as Pokémon evolving), and that craving lessens with age. Thus, naturally, people’s taste changes as they grow, and lollipops are tossed aside for cucumbers. Well… hopefully. I mean, your teeth can only take so much taffy.

Personally, I remember the exact first salad I ever tolerated. I was 14 or so, and, after years of diving for whatever salad-substitute was available at any given restaurant, I finally found myself pinned at a local eatery where (gasp!) salad was the only appetizer available. First world problem, I know, but I was stripped of my free will and desire for applesauce, and cornered into eating a salad. It… wasn’t bad. And, from that point on, I actually found that I enjoyed salads, and vastly preferred them over runny soups. Now, a number of years later, a “po’ boy” salad is one of my favorite meals… or at least a fine way to empty all the leftovers in my fridge onto a bed of lettuce. Alright, if there was a bun big enough, it’d be a sandwich, but I like to convince myself I eat remotely healthy on occasion.

So, after the concept of salad was inflicted upon me, I decided to have a more open mind when it came to food. There are still some items I won’t touch (this blog is a lima bean free zone), and certain items I only enjoy “one way” (cooking broccoli or carrots is a bootable offense), Knock yourself outbut I’ve got the mentality of “I’ll try anything once.” What’s the point in life if you don’t try new things?

And then there’s eggplant.

It was the prom, a heady time when most of my contemporaries were concerned about that whole “getting naked” thing. Beautiful dresses, dapper suits, and I in a tux that was chosen entirely because it pulled off the optical illusion of convincing others I have actual shoulders. This was by no means “my prom”, no, I had been invited to this prom by a girl from an entirely different school. Sorta. The girl in question was single, and actually invited my girlfriend/her best friend, but the school had issues with her inviting a girl as her date, so I wound up with a ticket as well. In reality, she basically invited an entire couple as her date, though, for the benefit of other teenage eyes, it appeared that I was one man in a tux with a woman on each arm.

Needless to say, I have never looked that cool before or since.

Regardless, it was a fun night all around, and the whole “two dates” thing made the event very low stress. I don’t know if you, gentle reader, remember being a teenager, but worrying about how “my girlfriend” perceived every stupid thing I did at all times was on my mind roughly unceasingly, so an event where I could chill out and let the best friend do the heavy lifting was a godsend. Compliment everyone’s dress, dance when asked, and otherwise just unwind and hang out. No, I’m not going to “get laid”, but we can take a night off from biological urges, right?

Today, at this point in my life, I’ve been to a number of weddings, parties, funerals, and other social functions that were lavishly catered. When I was 16, however, I’m pretty sure the most luxurious meal I ever had involved a healthy amount of Chex Mix. This prom had a slightly more upscale buffet available, and contained a host of entrees I did not normally see on the McDonald’s menu. Did you know they make chicken with spaghetti sauce on it, and it’s named after cheese? It’s true! And there are these little hors d’oeuvres thingys that I’m pretty sure are just hotdog biscuits, but you get yelled at when you call ‘em that. And, as you’re probably guessing, there was fried eggplant available.

Concrete jerks“Fried eggplant!” I said. “I love fried food and trying new things. On this, this night of endless possibilities where, for all the world to see, I appear to be impossibly cool, I, Goggle Bob, shall try some of this ‘eggplant’ substance!”

And I took a bite.

And I immediately spit it out on the table.

Not cool, eggplant. Not cool.

Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of The Eggplant Paradox.

There is something about eggplant. I don’t know if it’s that it is generally fried, or smothered in some manner of sauce, or just it looks like it has a meat-like texture, but every time I see eggplant freely available, every time, I decide to give it a try. Maybe I think I’m more mature or that this time it will be prepared differently, but I just can’t resist attempting eggplant again. And, naturally, every time triggers this mad dash to get the eggplant out of my mouth immediately. The minute eggplant hits my tongue, there is no question in my mind, I’m going to induce vomiting if this thing stays in my mouth for any longer.

I hate eggplant, but I always try it again. Again and again. And I know what’s going to happen. But, still I try it again. This is The Eggplant Paradox: a never ending cycle of hate-fruiting.

Adventures of Lolo 2, and its entire franchise, is the eggplant of videogames.

ARGHEvery time I look at the Adventures of Lolo 2 cartridge, I am tricked. I think to myself, “Hey, it’s that action puzzle game from the company that eventually made Kirby. Those guys know how to make a videogame! It’s all about block puzzles, right? I’m great at those! I’ve been kicking JRPG block puzzle ass for years! Sure, I was bad at this game as a kid, but I’m going to slam that game into the NES, and beat that King Egger once and for all!”

And, to the game’s credit, I’m able to get through the first few levels. So AoL2 is not as bad as eggplant, technically. However, a few more stages in, and I’m already feeling the burn. I’m able to plan ahead for Skulls and Medusas, but those sleepy Leepers get annoying pretty damn fast. Rockys seem to have very hateful AI, and Alma rolls much too quickly. And, by the time a Don Medusa shows up, I’m done. I’m just… done.

I don’t want to play this anymore. Why did I think this would be fun? Block puzzles are the worst parts of JRPGs! And why can you get a block stuck “halfway” when all the monsters work on full-square coordinates? Why can’t I bloody “pull” a block backwards so I don’t lose all my progress thanks to a clumsy bump? Why does this game have lives at all!?

And it’s with great haste that I yank the cartridge out of the NES, and quickly slot Castlevania 3 in there. Need to calm down… not think of the bad blue creature anymore… he can’t hurt me now.

A few months later, I gaze at my collection, and notice Adventures of Lolo 2 sitting there with the other A’s.

“Hm… Adventures of Lolo, eh? That’s the action puzzle game from the company that eventually made Kirby…”

FGC #167 Adventures of Lolo 2

  • System: Nintendo, and Wii, again, right? The Wii Virtual Console was a lot more robust than I ever gave it credit for.
  • Number of players: One Lolo. Sorry, you’d have to wait until Adventures of Lolo 3 for a bowed Lolo alternative.
  • This sucksFavorite Monster: I like Gol, the fire breathing dragon creature that only activates after acquiring all the hearts. I feel like Gol plays fair with “you better prepare for this”, as opposed to his Skull buddies, who seem to figure out how to devour you immediately upon waking. And Gol isn’t as completely fatal as those damn Medusas.
  • Like a Boss: This is the first Lolo game with a real “final boss”… or a boss at all. King Egger must be battled in the final stage, and he’s not that bad, considering it’s just a fireball tossing fight. Yes, Lolo only has 1 HP, but Egger pretty much has the same offensive capability as Lolo, and the monarch is a much bigger target.
  • Other Eggplant Issues: No, I did not complete Kid Icarus as a child, so my bias against eggplant did not originate there.
  • Did you know? Lolo lives in Eggerland and is menaced by King Egger. Lolo uses magic to transform monsters into eggs. I feel like there’s a theme here… maybe something about balls?
  • Would I play again: Give me a few months…

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Mega Man IV for the Gameboy! ROB seems to choose every Mega Man game except the “real” titles. Weird. Anyway, I guess we have time for Ballade. Please look forward to it!

FGC #010 Ice Climber

Birds are basically dinosaursPopo could not remember a time when this was not his life.

Winters were cold in Popo’s village. A chilling frost blew over the land, and the once verdant greens of his happier days gave way to an icy white that left nothing but death in its wake. What few, precious vegetables had been harvested were collected and stored for the long winter, hopefully enough to last until Spring, hopefully enough to stave off death.

The arrival of the condor was the worst day of Popo’s life even before it came to define his existence. The children were playing, building snowmen and imprinting angels, when the shadow of real wings appeared. Cries were heard all around, not of fear of the bird itself, but what it represented, and the repercussions of its dastardly act. The condor stole all of the food in the village, every last crop, and now life had gone from “difficult” to “unsustainable”. No more would the children play, for how could they? The young and old alike knew the darkness that was waiting for them, and without provisions, it would be there before the thaw. Hell, now it seemed that glimpsing the full moon may be an impossible goal.

Popo didn’t have much, but he had what he needed. A heavy coat, thick shoes, a wooden mallet (used for cookery back in happier days): this would be all he would take on his venture to reclaim his village’s vegetables. He would climb that icy mountain, and steal back the food, nay, hope that the cowardly condor had pilfered. He didn’t do it for glory (which, he may admit, was tempting), nor for the food itself (as one of the heartiest villagers, he might have survived on what meager crumbs remained), but for his people. For the elders that had raised him up from a babe, for his friends who had supported his endeavors, and most of all, for the children, who had no future without the vittles atop that mountain.

Popo nearly left alone, but he was joined by Nana at the last moment. Nana had all the same provisions as Popo… well, nearly the same, her parka was more of a pink than blue… and, while many claimed “a girl” would simply slow Popo down, Popo welcomed Nana with open arms. This would be a long, tireless journey, and companionship would be welcome. There, at the base of that first mountain, they vowed to support each other, but if ever there was peril, if ever there was a danger that would threaten to destroy them both, but one could be saved, the way was clear: someone had to survive this expedition, so leaving a man, or woman, behind may be that price. With steely determination, and a mutual understanding of their own mortality, Nana and Popo, the Ice Climbers, scaled the mountain, hammers gripped tightly in their mittened hands.

This is like killing a dinosaurThe mountain was a place of wondrous creatures, both amazing and deadly. The topi appeared to be an unfathomably fuzzy yeti, but its ability to undo the ice chiseling efforts of Nana & Popo labeled it as a threat. At times, perhaps as a result of snow blindness, Popo believed the topi to resemble blue seals, but Nana never corroborated these sightings. A bird that Nana nicknamed The Nitpicker often taunted the duo with its flight and endless mobility. Popo could not stand this bird, and, believing it to be a crony of the condor that had imperiled his loved ones, often struck it from the sky with a mighty jump and an even mightier swing of his hammer. This bird carried no foodstuffs, but its defeat did ease Popo’s nerves.

At times, it seemed that the mountain itself was on that blasted condor’s side. Icicles would form and fall with near no warning, and in the most inconvenient of places. It’s a small wonder the Ice Climbers didn’t acquire any new holes in their parkas (or heads). Worst of all, whenever Nana and Popo dawdled, a created of pure malevolence appeared. This animal was a towering polar bear, somehow equipped with shorts and sunglasses, that could cause an avalanche with the shallowest of leaps. Anyone left at the base of the mountain when this white bear started its assault… well… Popo didn’t like to think about it.

Hey, first time I'm playing another game to play the gameAfter much trepidation, Nana and Popo reached the apogee, and encountered the dreadful beast of their nightmares. It would be wrong to recount an epic battle, hammer against talon silhouetted against an icy winter sunset. No, at this point the pair just wanted the deed done, so Popo leapt, recaptured the eggplant, and hurried back to the village. It was laborious, it was treacherous, some even claimed it was suicidal, but Nana and Popo did return, vegetables in hand, and all was well.

Except the job was not done. By the calculations of the village accountants, a mere 3.1% of the village’s crops had been recovered. That condor was hiding more food on other mountains, and, having already proven their courage and skill, Nana and Popo were tasked with retrieving every last gourd and green.

Each mountain was more difficult than the last. Some peaks featured icy trails that seemed to push Popo back as he advanced. Other cliffs required Nana to balance herself on the clouds themselves for footing, if only for a short time. The white bear’s pursuit allowed no time for even the briefest of respites. The topi grew in number, their continuous compulsion to impede the twosome’s rise sapping whatever optimism they once had.
Despite it all, Nana and Popo conquered mountain after mountain, besting the condor each time, until it became a second nature for both of them. It was a difficult climb, but it had come to be almost comforting in its repetition. The Ice Climbers came to know their foes better than their friends in the village. None of the creatures on these mountains were pleasant, mind you, but they were familiar, and, like the snow that brought peace in the form of tranquility or death, they were a part of each other’s world. Finally, Popo retrieved every last eggplant, carrot, cabbage, cucumber, corn, turnip, pumpkin, napa, potato, and mushroom, and ventured back from the final mountain.

You'd cry tooAnd Popo wept, for there were no more peaks to conquer.

The village was saved, but Nana and Popo could no longer go home again. The mountains had not claimed their life, but it had claimed their lives. As Spring came, and the time of parkas receded, the legendary Ice Climbers ventured back to the mountains, this time not to scale the heights, but to build a home, to build a new life there, at the base of the cliffs that had brought them together. No one else would understand, no one else could grasp what they had been through. They would be together there, forever, and if that condor tried his same tricks again next Fall? Well, twin hammers would be ready and willing to climb.

FGC #10 Ice Climber

  • System: Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Number of Players: 2 players, simultaneous, which is always nice.
  • Favorite Ice Climber Vegetable: Potato
  • So it’s come to this, Ice Climber fanfic? Yes. It was either that or my stunning creation: the Ice Climber theme song.
  • Is this “Ice Climber Theme Song” just the Clayfighter theme song, but with the words “Ice Climbers” in place of “Clayfighter”? …. Yes.
  • Did you know? Ice Climber was the pack-in game for the NES in some areas of Europe. This is exactly why the Master System is so popular over there.
  • Would I Play Again? %^$ no.

What’s Next? Random ROB has chosen… Lucha Libre Heroes Del Ring. I’m not even sure that’s a real game, ROB. Are your language subroutines degrading or something? I think you might need a diagnostic. Please look forward to it!