Monday, December 19, 2011

The Bizarre Family Dynamics of Bubble Bobble

To people who don’t know video games, Bubble Bobble is maybe that game with the bubbles and the infuriatingly looping theme song. Or perhaps it’s the game whose spinoff got ripped off as that title so much more popular with the casual gaming crowd, Snood. And if you’ve read this blog for a while, you might recall Bubble Bobble as the game whose box art I found psychologically disturbing because it featured a character transformed form the waist down into a slice of watermelon, the bizarre symbolism of which is something not even Carl Jung himself could hope to decode.

Regardless, all you need to know about Bubble Bobble is that it is a video game in which the heroes — transformed into bubble-spitting dinosaurs — travel from room to room, attempting to encase all the enemies in bubbles, at which point they pop them and proceed to the next stage. The game’s “good ending” is famously hard to achieve. When you did, however… things got weird.

Basically, the game’s big bad is an impish creature saddled with the name Super Drunk.

He’s a mega-sized version of a generic baddie who’s just named Drunk and whose method of attack involves hucking empty bottles at you. Now, whether you’ve set yourself up for the good ending or not, defeating Super Drunk allows your characters to rescue their girlfriends and transform from little dinosaurs back into humans. Beat the game on hard mode, however, and you’ll get the big reveal: In the same way that you were transformed into dinosaurs, Super Drunk was transformed into its monstrous form and is actually… your parents.

Yep, the big bad of the game — a villain named Super Drunk, no less — is actually the mother and father of the game’s heroes, transformed by evil magic into a single monstrous form.

The implications of this are… a lot, to say the least, and you have to wonder what the hell the developers were attempting to say about the state of the nuclear family. No, wait — it’s actually painfully obvious. The message of Bubble Bobble is that your parents are abusive drunks. Hey — at least you have video games though, right?

Reading too much into video games, previously:

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