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.
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?
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.
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.
So 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…
- 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!