B.O.B: A Single Lady’s Favorite Game
Everyone knows him – the geeky kid with absolutely NO friends. (You’re probably thinking that I’m talking about myself. Guess again!) It was that kid that lived down the street or maybe a few blocks over. You remember him, the one you “befriended” only because his parents always bought him a ton of cool toys? Don’t deny it! We all did it and yes, there is a special place in Hell for the lot of us. My exploited “friend” lived a few houses away from my family in a well-kept corner lot. I was never really friends with him per se but I endured his company for the simple fact that he had shelves upon shelves of glorious video games. As an adult I do feel kind of bad for not remembering his name and even worse for using him like I did. There is nothing I can really do about that now besides immortalizing him in this post. It’s amazing how the brain works. You can remember lyrics from a one-hit wonder band that you heard maybe twice on the radio while growing up yet it takes 7 years of being married before you remember your wife’s birthday.
It was the summer of ’93, my family and I had just moved to Fort Worth a few months before and I had yet to enroll in school. I don’t remember the weather, but since this was Texas I can imagine it was blisteringly hot! I saw this kid playing in his yard not too far away so I thought I would go and introduce myself. He looked a little nervous as I crossed his yard, I really don’t think he was used to having people approach him like I did, but being the obnoxious little brat that I was I promptly sat down and started playing with his GI Joes. As it turned out this kid didn’t have many friends and I later learned that this was due to his overbearing parents and all the phobias they instilled in him. After about 30 or 40 minutes of epic Joe battles, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since World War II, “No-Name-Kid” let slip that he also enjoyed video games. This tidbit of information perked me up and I promptly set aside the torture I had planned for Cobra Commander. We retreated from the sweltering Texas heat to the cool embrace of his many games. This kid had everything! Was that a Power Glove? That can’t possibly be the NES 4-Score! OH MY GOD, he even had the Super Advantage controller! My head swam due to the overabundance of electronic wealth. We spent the rest of the day systematically going through most of his games. Near the end of this fun filled day, my senses dulled by the heady aroma of grey plastic, I popped the question,” Can I borrow one of your games?” That fateful afternoon saw me carrying home a game I had never seen, let alone heard of, so enters B.O.B.
B.O.B is a quirky side scrolling platform shooter that tells the story of B.O.B., a robotic teenager with the antenna of an ant and the driving skills of a blind ferret. You see, B.O.B. was on his way to pick up his girlfriend for a date. He had just borrowed the family spaceship from his Dad with the specific instructions to “not get a single scratch on it”. Of course just like any other angst riddled robotic teenager, B.O.B. flippantly disregards his father and not only scratches the spaceship, but crashes the damn thing into an enemy filled asteroid. So now here is B.O.B.’s dilemma: he needs to find a replacement car, meet up with his girlfriend and avoid getting killed. What’s a young electronic whippersnapper supposed to do?
As B.O.B. explores the halls of the wayward asteroid you get a chance to use a wide collection of weapons and gadgets called “remotes”, you must use your weapons wisely since each one has limited ammo. In some stages you will be required to use specific “remotes” like a parachute or trampoline to complete the level – this adds a little variety to the formula of shoot, jump, and repeat. You also have a generic punch ability available, so if you run out of remote ammo or feel the need to conserve your items for a later battle you have this option available. There is also a time limit on every stage that dampens your eagerness to explore all the nooks and crannies that the levels offer and predictably, you will die if time runs out.
The graphics really failed to impress me. While they are bright and varied, after a while everything just seems drab. Also, due to the reuse of backgrounds it’s incredibly easy to get lost. On a positive note the enemies you encounter are pretty unique but after a while, even these guys bore you to tears. As for the levels, they run the typical gamut from slime covered caverns to red and blue industrial spaceship hallways. This game gives you about as much color diversity as you would find at any NASCAR race. You will also run into a few speeder bike style levels that will require the exploring of your surroundings and the dodging of obstacles. Have no fear, console tri-athlete. While these segments are not as controller breaking cheap as say, Battletoads, they can still be pretty hard and frustrating. On a side note, the vehicles you ride in during these levels remind me of those ugly Smart Cars you see on the highway. You know the ones I’m talking about, that little bubble go kart that will tip over in a strong breeze.
Now that the graphics section of my article has been tackled, it is now time to discuss the music. I thought long and hard about what I would say but it really just boils down to a few simple words. Electronic synthesized break beats that would have any 80’s hair band drooling. I can’t really think of anything else to add, it’s just that bleak. At least you have the option of switching between stereo and mono, but if I were you, I would just listen to the radio instead.
While B.O.B. does have its fair share of difficulty it still ended up being a pretty fun game. The developers even added a lot of humor in the form of text bubbles filled with witty one-liners. Overall, you should give this game a try but don’t expect too much from it. One other side note; as a kid I never fully understood why B.O.B.’s name had the periods added, but now that my mind has turned to mush from far too much internet it all makes sense. He was going to see his girlfriend and he is a robot who runs on batteries. Touché, Grey Matter, touché. As for “No-Name-Kid”; I’m sorry I used you only for your games but it may hearten you to know that you gave me a lifetime of video game memories and by writing this article I was able to dust the spider webs from my brain and remember the most important thing: your name. Thank you for the games and good times, Kevin.
Released on the SNES, June 1993
Published by Electronic Arts, Inc.
Developed by Grey Matter