Video Game: A Boy and His Blob
I am Blobert, eater of worlds.
Released by Absolute Entertainment
in 1989 for the Nintendo Entertainment System
, A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia
(yep, that really is the game's subtitle), features the adventures of our eponymous hero (the Boy) and his friend Blob (full name Blobert) as they race to Blob's home world to defeat the evil emperor.
The main draw of this platforming game (which was created by David Crane of Pitfall
fame) is that Blob has the uncanny ability to change into different shapes/objects depending on what type of jellybean the boy feeds him. From licorice to ketchup, each flavor turns Blob into a different shape, allowing the boy to overcome obstacles and complete each level.
Numerous remakes were rumored since its release, but for twenty years the series consisted of only the original and a 1990 sequel for the Game Boy
, The Rescue of Princess Blobette
It was finally resurrected on the Wii by WayForward Technologies
, makers of Shantae
and a bunch of licensed stuff, as a level-based puzzle platformer. The 2 main characters among with others were redesigned too.
Both games provide examples of:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Those jellybean names that aren't pun-tastic tend to be these. Both games have the Licorice Ladder and Tangerine Trampoline.
- The original contains the Root Beer Rocket.
- The Wii game replaces Root Beer with Cinnamon for the rocket, but gives us in return: The Berry Balloon, Bubble Gum Bouncer, Pear Parachute, Cream Cannon, Strawberry Shield (replacing Strawberry = Bridge in the original), and Cotton Candy Copy.
- Adipose Rex: The Emperor of Bloblonia.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: The inevitible trip to Blobolonia. And back again in the Wii version.
- Blob Monster: But the Blob isn't so much a monster in this game.
- Some of the sequel's enemies fit into a Blob Monster category as well.
- A Boy and His X: Just look at the title.
- Collision Damage: It applies to some of the enemies too if they collide with different enemies.
- Edge Gravity
- Eternal Engine: In NES version, the sweets factory. In Wii version, the earlier levels of world 4.
- Fat Bastard: The Emperor of Bloblonia. In the original game, this was part of the alleged Aesop, because the game had a whole "candy is bad for you" theme and the Emperor was just a sapient blob of fat. In the Wii version, there's no such moral anymore, so he's just your standard big fat jerk.
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Who leaves those things scattered around the forest, city and Bloblonia anyway?
- Joke Item: The ketchup jellybean that Blobert won't eat (unless you trick him, in which case it turns him into a brick wall). It instead allows him to catch up, returning him to the boy's side if they get separated. (Functionally, the Berry Balloon replaces it in the Wii version.)
- Kid Hero
- Malevolent Architecture
- No Name Given: You're just a boy after all.
- Not the Fall That Kills You: Fall more than two screens without landing on something soft or bouncy, and you'll die.
- This also applies in the Wii version. If the boy falls far enough to start tumbling (about one screen in height), he's doomed. Be very careful about where you Trampoline to....
- One-Hit-Point Wonder
- Parental Abandonment: In the Wii game, the Boy is especifically said to be around 6 years old. Where on Earth are his parents? The original looks like a teenager, so he's probably OK on his own, but still..
- Portable Hole
- Requisite Royal Regalia: All kings and emperors in the series seem to wear crowns.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Admit it: You want a Blob of your very own, don't you?
- Rocket Ride: With your blob as a rocket.
- Shaped Like Itself: Coconut Jellybean = Turn Blob into a coconut. Natch.
- Spikes of Doom: Ooooh yeah.
- Stalactite Spite: It's one of the few things that can kill the Boy when he's in the Cola Bubble.
- Stealth Pun: A number of the jellybean's abilities are linked to their flavors. Both versions have Punch = Hole, Apple = Jack, and the original has Lime = Key. (* groan* )
- Super Drowning Skills: The Boy and the enemies. Of course, as mentioned above, he can still breathe in space.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: While the boy can't swim, the Blob is unable to sink if he's not a bubble or an anvil.
- World of Pun: The "Apple" flavored beans turn Blobert into a jack.
- This is far from the only pun among the jellybean effects, of course.
The 1989 game and Game Boy sequel provide examples of:
- Action Bomb: Cherry bombs explode when they touch the ground, and are fatal even if they detonate off-screen.
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: When the NES game was released in Japan, the Boy and the title screen were changed to look "cuter". Hilarious in Hindsight when the Wii remake made the boy "cuter" as well.
- Awesome but Impractical: The Vitablaster. It's a gun (made by feeding Blob an Orange jellybean) that can be used to kill enemies on Blobonia by shooting them with vitamins. However, doing so puts you at risk of dying and it's far more efficient to just roll the coconut a huge distance into the screen to make them go away.
- Broken Aesop: The original game seems to be saying sweets are bad (marshmallows and chocolate kisses can kill you, and vitamins are used to destroy them) yet jellybeans are the Blob's source of power and peppermints are traded in for extra lives. Cherries (or more accurately, cherry bombs) are among the things that kill you.
- Chekhov's Boomerang: The Apple Jack is only used to open the manhole cover and defeat the final boss.
- Dummied Out: Tricking Blob into eating a ketchup jellybean will turn him into a brick wall. The brick wall is essentially just a stepping stone.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Sometimes, when screeching to a halt at the edge, the Boy will suddenly stand in midair. In true cartoon physics fashion, he will gradually look down, realize his situation, and fall, usually to his death.
- Leap of Faith: Or more accurately, fall of faith. In the subway, placing the hole at the wrong position may cause you to fall multiple screens.
- Nintendo Hard: Only a handful of lives and no continues.
- Parasol Parachute: Vanilla = Umbrella.
- Save the Princess: In the Rescue of Princess Blobette.
- Script Breaking: Normally, getting past a screen on Blobolonia clears it, allowing you to pass without further interference. Throwing the bean off the left of the left-hand screen will trick the game to think that all such screens are cleared.
- Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction: Large blue gems.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Some challenges require you to prepare for them before you enter the same screen.
- Under the Sea: The caves in your world have water in them, and you won't be able to survive unless you feed Blobert a jellybean that turns him into a bubble.
- Unwinnable by Design: Wasting your beans is technically Unwinnable by Insanity as you have more than enough to naviagate known areas. However, there are only two lime beans - you only need one, but if you experimented to see that it creates a key, and accidentally throw the second on the ground, you can't reach the emperor.
- A Winner Is You: The NES release is a particular offender in this department.
- You Have to Burn the Web: There's only one web, but plenty of jelly beans to burn it away.
The 2009 game provides examples of:
- 100% Completion: Getting all 3 treasure chests in a level unlocks a challenge level. Beating challenge levels unlock things like concept art and some other stuff.
- All Animals Are Dogs: The developers said that the personality of the Blob is largely based on dogs.
- Anvil on Head: The Banana Anvil is very effective when it comes to enemies.
- Artificial Stupidity: At least the game is kind enough to note it — When Blob cannot reach the player or seems to be getting stuck, he turns pink (as he turns gray near the enemies).
- Award Bait Song: Yes, this deserves to be spoilered.
- Bittersweet Ending: The evil emperor is defeated, but Blob has to return to his planet. The credits play a song called "Everything to Me" about how the blob is the greatest thing ever to happen to the boy, accompanied by a montage of pictures of them playing together with nobody else in sight, culminating in an end screen of him staring up at the moon.
- However, given the fact that you can still redeem your treasure chests and play further challenge levels after the last boss, it seems that the Blob comes back after all.
- Blackout Basement: Level 2-6. Blob helpfully eats a firefly to help you light the way, but if you don't have Blob cling close to you, you'll have no idea where you're going.
- Also, the "grand prize" for completing the T-rex set of Challenge Levels in World 2 is an orb that you can use to turn the lights off and play any level in this manner if you want.
- Bottomless Pits: A quick way to test them is to throw a jellybean down and watch the Blob take the plunge for you; if it's bottomless, he'll transform into balloon form and float right back.
- Bubblegloop Swamp: Second half of the first world.
- But Now I Must Go: It's inevitable.
- Came from the Sky: How the Blob got to earth.
- The Cameo: There's a Shantae doll on the bookshelf in the World 2 Hub.
- Casual Video Game: The developers wanted it to be "accessible", so divided it into two parts: Ordinary story levels, and unlockable "Challenge" levels for the Challenge Gamers. What they neglected to mention is that the later levels of the story mode are every bit as Nintendo Hard. Ouch.
- Combat Tentacles: The second boss, the Beast, has an entire back full of writhing, deadly tentacles.
- Concept Art Gallery: At all the hubs after completing challenge stages. There are a few videos mixed in too.
- Conspicuous CG: The opening movie is full of it.
- Continuity Nod: The Boy is significantly younger than the original Boy... but he wears the same clothes, right down to the colors.
- Cool Chair: The main villain sits on one with heads and all.
- Cooldown Hug: It's a gameplay mechanic. D'aaaww....
- Cranium Ride: You can ride on certain enemies if you drop an anvil on their heads, which allows you to safely ride them.
- Credits Medley
- Creepy Twins: One of the enemy types is a pair of twin blobs. Drop an anvil on one of them, and the other one will counter by transforming into a Giant blob.
- Cuteness Proximity: Watch some of the hands-on promotional videos. Numerous ones contain some male, potentially jaded game journalist dissolving into a puddle of gibbering Baby Talk at the sight of Boy and Blob hugging.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: The opening movie depicts the blob eating a bean and transforming. All in midair. (The blob actually can catch jellybeans mid-air, but he usually waits for them to land before trying to chase them down.)
- Dark Is Evil: All enemy blobs are black (though the blob emperor himself is grey).
- Directionally Solid Platforms: You need a hole to get back down from these.
- Disney Death: In the second-to-last level, right before the Eleventh Hour Superpower kicks in, one of the Emperor's blob-tentacles appears to squeeze the Blob to little bits. However, a few Swiss Army Tears—and the fact that he's a blob—help the Blob get back together in no time.
- Ditto Fighter: A certain jellybean will make Blob turn into Boy's shape and replicates his movements. One of the enemies can also do so.
- Dummied Out: The enemy concept art shows a Spider Blob enemy. It is seen standing among the other enemies in the finalized art. You never encounter it, however.
- Eleventh Hour Super Power: Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha during the penultimate level.
- Energy Ball: Final boss can fire these.
- Evil Laugh: When you meet the evil emperor.
- Evil Overlooker: On its box art.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: The emperor gets punched repeatedly in the skull by a giant robot, while bleeding black goo, and then, when he finally dies, he turns into a roiling mass of blackness as his face TEARS INTO TINY PIECES and he dissolves.
- Also, killing the frog mooks.
- Foreshadowing: The world 2 boss can be seen wandering around the background as you traverse his level.
- Four-Fingered Hands: A rigorously enforced part of the Boy's design, to help make him as cuddly as possible.
- Genre Throwback: Art style and the trailer of the game in inspired by 80-s cartoons and films.
- Ghibli Hills: The Boy makes his ho— er, tree fort in some truly beautiful forest land. It's right next to Bubblegloop Swamp, though. (But it's still beautiful.)
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The enemies have them.
- Gusty Glade: Numerous, with Challenge 2-5 being a standout.
- Guide Dang It: In most cases, inverted. The hint signs are everywhere. They're left there as a remnants of the development and playtesting stage of the game development.
- Hailfire Peaks: All four worlds. World 1 is Green Hill Zone and Bubblegloop Swamp. World 2 is Death Mountain and proper Underground Levels. World 3 is Scenery Porn and Scenery Gorn variants of Level Ate. World 4 is Eternal Engine and Evil Tower of Ominousness. The final two levels bring back Green Hill Zone.
- Heli Critter: One of the pieces of native wildlife in Blobolonia.
- Helpful Mook: Although they can still kill you, you can drop Anvil Blob on large enemy Blobs (and the small cannonball ones) to go on a Cranium Ride of sorts. The large ones will also happily toss your Cola Bubble around to help cover large distances. Enemy blobs can also weigh down pressure plates (especially the Enemy Clone blobs) and set off the exploding blobs that hover in midair.
- Hub Level: One for each of the 4 main worlds.
- Human Cannonball: When your blob has a cannon form, that's what the boy can do while being able to stay invulnerable to some of the threats.
- Infinite Supplies: Boy carries an infinite amount of jellybeans, to prevent the player from getting stuck in the middle of a level.
- Interface Spoiler: Directly inverted. All of the levels are 10 stages long, right? World 1 had 10, World 2 had 10, World 3 had 10, World 4 has... wait, why are you facing the Final Boss? It's only the end of Level 4-8! Why are we back in World 1?Wait, did someone tape ''two more levels'' to the end of the map? Oh, Crap...
- Just Eat Him: If you get too close to the giant fat blobs they will swallow you. Also the frog enemies will eat Coconut Blob... only for him to emerge from their insides when you call him.
- Level Ate: Bloblonia comes pretty close. Some parts of it do look organic, but there's a lot of towering gelatin-mold spires and jellybeans everywhere.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: In levels with lots of doors.
- Logo Joke
- Long Song, Short Scene: Done intentionally! There are four very hidden songs found only in the Sound Test (It Makes Sense in Context). Musically, they don't fit the style of the rest of the game. However, they'll sound... familiar to those who've played the original game...
- Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: One of the Blob's powers in World 4 is a shield that can block enemy blobs.
- Mood Whiplash: The absolutely beautiful opening levels are as lovely and as soothing as can be, full of fireflies and gently swaying trees... until you hit Level 1-10. "This music sounds... different. Everything's so red! I've got a bad feeling about this... HOLY CRAP OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING!?"
- No-Gear Level:
- Level 4-1 requires you to traverse the entire level without Blob at your side. Blob? BLOB!?
- Beginning of the penultimate level has this thing happen too.
- Nostalgia Level: Level 11.
- Notice This: "Follow the fireflies" is a good maxim to follow if you want to find all the treasures.
- One-Hit Kill: All bosses take three hits to defeat, except the boss at the end of the fourth and apparently final world.
- One-Winged Angel The Emperor's final form even has copious mouth-tentacles to put you in mind of Cthulhu. And Zoidberg
- Playing Tennis with the Boss
- Pressure Plate: Quite a lot of them, especially in the last world, as well as several of the challenge stages.
- Pulling Themselves Together: With the help of Swiss Army Tears.
- Puzzle Boss: All of the bosses. Makes sense, since it's pretty much a puzzle game.
- Red Sky, Take Warning: Before and during the first boss battle and during the final boss battle.
- Respawning Enemies: But only those critical for completing a nearby puzzle.
- Ring Inventory
- Scenery Porn: Some absolutely gorgeous hand-drawn artwork makes up the backgrounds.
- Self-Imposed Challenge: Playing all levels with the orb that turns off the lights.
- Shapeshifter Baggage: Officially, the Blob maintains the same volume in all transformations; larger forms (like the Cannon and Bubble transformations) are merely light and hollow. However, only the Anvil and Clone transformations are heavy enough to weigh down pressure plates.
- Silence Is Golden: The game has no dialogue... at all. (Well, the Boy yells "Blob!" and "Let's go!") And barely any on-screen text. Even the "hint signs" just show pictures! It works, though.
- Sound Test: One of the unlockable bonuses in the World 3 Hub level: A level with a variety of friendly Blobs, who play music when you feed them jellybeans.
- Spoiler Opening: The opening movie displays many of Blob's powers, as well as three of the four major bosses.
- Sugar Bowl: The game specifically set out to evoke a heartwarming, Disney/Studio Ghibli-esque feel.
- Swiss Army Tears: Seems to work. Makes you wonder if they wouldn't have worked.
- Temporary Platform: Small floating platforms will shake and fall when you step on them, but they respawn, too.
- The final challenge level (1-12) has one room where a basic enemy Blob moves back and forth across a Pressure Plate, toggling between two sets of platforms that are form your only way of crossing a bed of spikes (and a hill).
- Theme Music Power-Up: Once the Eleventh Hour Superpower finally makes its appearance.
- There Was a Door: Your first appearance in the World 3 hub involves crashing through the roof. Averted when going from World 4 back to World 1, since the boy and the blob just fly in through the open window instead.
- Treehouse of Fun: The World 1 Hub.
- Triumphant Reprise: After the blob is brought back to life and turned into a mech.
- True Final Boss: It actually manages to be a surprise for once, due to a variant on Interface Spoiler.
- A Twinkle in the Sky: During the ending.
- Unexpected Genre Change: Level 14/2-4. It's the first level you can use the Cola Bubble jellybean in... and it plays more like something out of Sonic the Hedgehog than the other levels.
- Not to mention the World 2's Challenge level #10, which involves flying the Root Beer Rocket through a massive labyrinth full of Deadly Walls.
- Video Game Caring Potential: There's a "Hug" button; yes, you read that right.
- The fourth world also has a number of caged blobs in the Emperor's citadel. Feeding them a Berry Balloon bean will free them, but you get nothing for doing so beyond warm fuzzy feelings.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: It also has a "Scold" button. Not that it does much beyond making the Blob stay in place until you call him.
- Wackyland: Third part of the game.
- Weird Moon: Always full and large.
- Where It All Began: The game's final two levels are not in World 4. No, they're all the way back in World 1.
- World Shapes: Bloblonia is very... bean-shaped.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: When the Final Boss comes at the end of level 8 of what's normally a 10-level world and all it takes to defeat him is a One-Hit Kill before he slinks away, you know something more has to happen...