Saturday, October 10, 2009

I Want to See People and I Want to See Light (A Boy and His Blob)

I went to a goth club last night, which is the sort of thing I do not usually do. I have been to clubs before. They are loud, full of people, expect me to dance, and require a conscious effort and decision to do something. All of these are things that I have generally opted not to do with my life.

There are things that change over time in life. One could look at the pair of a divorce and a broken engagement and figure that there must be something wrong with me - and it is possible that my tendency to get in committed long term relationships with lesbians qualifies. But it has led me to conclude that I am clearly capable of getting into long time relationships. This suggests that, despite my somewhat striking tendency not to like people, there is no "problem" as such. Combine with some anti-depressants, and the existence of an air-conditioned room that is not particularly loud, and you have a recipe for actually having fun.

On this subject of supposedly unfun things that might not be as bad as I thought we come to A Boy and His Blob, which gets an entry all of its own because, God help me, I played it for two days.

A Boy and His Blob is one of the weirdest games around - a side-scroller game in which you explore an underground cavern for treasure. With, erm, your blob. Which is a sort of bouncing white smiling thing that you feed jellybeans and then it transforms into helpful items like ladders, trampolines, and, in an improbable feat of physics, a hole.

So. There's that.

Now, let me stress, the game has some serious, serious deficiencies. It's an exploration based game in which you have five lives, no real opportunities for 1-ups, and are frequently put in situations where you have to make blind guesses that can lead to your death. So you waste lives. Which is fine, but with no opportunities to get lives back and a lengthy and not terribly fast amount of replay to catch up with where you were when you died.

So basically, it's an exploration game that actively punishes you for taking a wrong turn. Big, big mistake there.

Also one that is fixable through the wonders of technology. A Game Genie code later and I have infinite lives - which still makes dying annoying, since I usually move back a number of screens, and I still have a limited number of jelly beans, but it makes the game reasonably fun to explore.

And so I sat down with it today, and beat a game that I'd more or less loathed for 20 years.

Lesson learned. Things change over time.

Now to test the lesson - am I any more capable of finishing this fucking chapter today than I was yesterday?


  1. This was interesting to read because I am now just starting to play A Boy and His Blob remake for the Wii. In this remake when you die you only move a few steps back which is definitely more forgiving than the original game.

  2. There was something insulting about A Boy and His Blob that made me never want to play it as a child, despite having a high tolerance for a lot of the other bullshit that games of the era loved to put their players through. While I could trick myself into thinking that replaying the final level of Ninja Gaiden over and over again was raising some sort of hidden skill statistic in my hand eye coordination, the fear of making a wrong move in Blob and starting over from scratch again was crippling.

    Generally I would just use the rocket jellybean at the beginning and wander the landscape it presented, admiring Boy's wonky running animation before finally killing myself off under those bouncing white things.

  3. I remember loving that game, mostly for the total randomness of it. But yes, Game Genie was required for it to be any fun at all.