Podcast: Bust-A-Move, Puzzle Bobble, or whatever you wanna call it

It’s the epic conclusion to last week’s amazing episode! Eh, well, OK, maybe I’m fudging things a bit. But I did promise after last week’s talk of Bubble Bobble that I’d follow up with a piece on sequel Puzzle Bobble, and by cracky that’s exactly what we have here. Of course, most of our listeners are based in the U.S., so you probably know this series by its inexplicable localized title, “Bust-A-Move.”

Whatever you want to call it, however, it’s good stuff. A real, weapons-grade, match-three kind of affair. It has only the most tenuous connection to Bubble Bobble, of course, which means you might occasionally come across an adaptation in which developer/publisher Taito has replaced Bub and Bob with, say, the cast of the Azumanga Daioh anime.

Or, more likely, you’ll come across shameless ripoffs in which outside developers have (without shame or apology) replaced Bub and Bob with completely unrelated characters and made a fat stack of cash by stealing Taito’s work. Such as Snood, the extraordinarily ugly clone that served as my introduction to the series thanks to the magic of Macintosh shareware.

What a world.

Even if you’ve never played legitimate Bust-A-Move or Puzzle Bobble releases, odds are pretty good that you have experienced the series’ concept in some form. Colored orbs advance toward the bottom of the screen, and you have only a pivoting launcher anchored at the center-bottom of the play field with which to fling bubbles back into the screen in an attempt to clear the encroaching threat by creating color matches. A pretty mundane description, perhaps, but the game is so terribly addicting.

Having survived the Bubble Bobble episode, Jeremy mops up the franchise with a look at its most popular (or at least most imitated) branch: The iconic color-match puzzler Bust-A-Move… more sensibly known as “Puzzle Bobble.”

Libsyn (14:39 | MP3 Download | SoundCloud)

Much this week comes from a panoply of Puzzle Bobble sequels. Yes, I realize it’s annoyingly upbeat, but that’s what I had to work with. When life gives you lemons, create saccharine lemon desserts. Don’t worry, next week’s episode will include much better music.

This week also marks my return to creating episode cover art after nearly a year away. You’ll be happy to know Nick Daniel will still be illustrating Bob’s episodes, though, so those of you who prefer his more vivid digital compositions to my washed-out watercolors aren’t totally out of luck.

9 Comments

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9 Responses to Podcast: Bust-A-Move, Puzzle Bobble, or whatever you wanna call it

  1. casey

    I am so excited for your artwork again! you should sell that stuff Jeremy. you could do them on these like Tavis Maiden does.
    http://thunderskullpress.storenvy.com/collections/24990-all-products/products/16984101-not-at-comicon-mini-commission

    • As a matter of fact, the art is being “sold” to people who support the second-highest Patreon tier for a few months.

    • Heh, I dropped by to comment on for exactly the same reason. I love the art!

      Also, I appreciate the longer write-ups you’re able to do along with each post now. Previously, you’d usually write a decent post on USgamer (…would you believe I originally typed 1up there?), but just do a skeleton post with only a basic summary on retronauts.com. It probably doesn’t matter that much to anyone but me, but I always thought this site/blog should be the authoritative source of information for anything and everything related to Retronauts, and the longer/more detailed posts on USgamer didn’t seem as appropriate.

      Anyway, I already listened to the episode from the Patreon feed. Quite enjoyed it. I think you and Bob have been on a roll lately – I’m really excited about the year ahead!

  2. Jay

    If you spend any time at all on a Tokyo commuter train you’re bound to see a at least a handful of sleepy Japanese hammering away at something that looks suspiciously like Puzzle Bobble on their smartphones. Actually, what they’re playing is probably the most prominent Puzzle Bobble clone of recent times, at least in Japan: LINE Puzzle (and sequel).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsL91P6Xmyc

    I’ve no idea if was officially licenced before being re-skinned, but if not Square-Enix seriously dropped the ball on a very lucrative opportunity/lawsuit.

  3. Greg Falkingham

    I realize it is only tangentially related, but I find it impossible in my mind to separate any thoughts of Bust-A-Move without remembering the X-Play video review of the DS version. If you thought that the new Friday The 13th game was Adam Sessler’s only brush with the horror genre, I bid you to experience his vocal stylings:

    https://youtu.be/jnq2JIwyXNU

  4. Robert Rafferty

    My favorite “Post Arcade Crash” series of games. Have spent countless hours playing the Puzzle Bobble series of games on original arcade hardware (Neo Geo MVS, etc..) and on a mame arcade cabinet. My kids grew up playing it and would have hours-long competitions between each other and with their friends. It’s a game series that is just hard enough, just cute enough, and completely addicting. Reminds me that I need to fix the monitor in that cabinet so we can get back to playing it!

  5. Bust-A-Move remains one of the very few games since the days of NES Tetris and Dr. Mario that my mother has played and loved… gotta be good for something. Oddly enough, Azumanga Daioh remains the only anime I have ever watched. Small world.

    Also, I am absolutely enjoying the near-daily stream of random posts from you on here, Parish.

  6. It’s funny…my experience with Bust-A-Move/Puzzle Bobble was that only after I played the Taito original on NEO GEO arcade machines in local corner stores did I see all the clones!

    All the clones did was make we want to play the original. Bust-A-Move was always my last quarter game because I could always squeeze out a long play session on it before heading home.

    One that I enjoyed was called Puzzle de Pon and there was one that I recently played on an airplane that was terrible and touch based.

    I absolutely love the ear worm music of the original…I think I spent an entire day playing Bust-a-Move 2 on the Saturn with its terrible cover art. I may need to pull it off the shelf and give it a go.

  7. Discord_inc

    I have a lot of found memories of Bust-a-move. It was one of the few games my mom would play with me and my brothers since it was a puzzle game. The sheer number of versions does get overwhelming. I think we owned at least two of them for the N64.

    Also, I’m glad to hear you will be doing some of the album art again. I do enjoying seeing your watercolors on the podcast subjects