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Video Game: Ice Climber

Ice Climber is a vertical scrolling Platform Game originally released by Nintendo in 1984 for the Famicom in Japan, and was later converted into an arcade title in the "Vs." series (as with many early Famicom/NES titles). It was released in North America a year later as a launch title for the NES.

Players control characters dressed in stereotypical-eskimo gear: player one is the blue-clad Popo, while player two is the pink-clad Nana. The general goal of each level is to climb up several layers of ice to reach the top of a mountain. Each player carries a wooden mallet which they use to hit enemies, club openings in the levels, and collect power-ups. Like eggplants... Just roll with it.

Enemies include sun-glasses wearing Polar Bears, Topis (depicted as seals in Japan and yetis anywhere where seal clubbing isn't considered politically correct), the bird-like Nitpickers, falling icicles, and the condor at the top of each mountain.

The game would likely be largely forgotten without the huge boost of publicity generated when Nana and Popo were unexpected inclusions in the Super Smash Brothers series, starting with the second game. Uniquely, while the two characters act as a team, generally the player is only able to control one at a time while the AI copies his movements. One can be defeated, but not the other, but a single Ice Climber is at a severe handicap.

Other media to reference Ice Climber include the WarioWare series (where it is the basis of several micro-games) and later iterations of the Kirby series (where Kirby's ice power-up gives him a parka exactly the same as Popo's). They also tend to appear in fan-works related to Smash such as There Will Be Brawl.

Oh, and to be clear, while the game's title is the singular "Ice Climber", the characters are referred to as the plural "Ice Climbers", commonly mistaken for the actual title of the game, even by Nintendo press releases.

This work shows examples of the following tropes (put all references to Super Smash Bros. here):

  • Air Borne Mook: Pink birds that dive bomb the players.
  • Always Night
  • An Ice Suit: The player characters wear sensible arctic clothing, the polar bears wear swim trunks.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Waiting too long to get to climb to a higher layer will cause a polar bear to appear and stomp the screen upward, which risks you of losing a life should you be near the bottom of the screen.
  • Collision Damage: What every enemy is limited to except for the polar bears and the condor. The condor doesn't hurt you at all and must be collided with to get your bonus.
  • Cross Cultural Kerfuffle: Presumably why the seals were changed to yetis outside of Japan.
  • Death Throws
  • Drop the Hammer
  • Edible Collectible: Four stolen vegetables are dropped in the Bonus Stage top part of each level, and can be recovered for points.
  • Excuse Plot: Something about the condor stealing all the vegetables.
  • Fundamentally Funny Fruit: Eggplants are the first kind of vegetable you can find in the bonus round.
  • The Goomba: The Yeti/Topi will not actively try to attack you. The most they are concerned with is repairing the stages.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: When players are jumping.
    • To explain. In different platformers, you have to be right on top of a platform when you're trying to land on it. In this game, to get to higher levels, you typically have to slightly overlap a higher platform as you're jumping up in order to land on it.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: Takes a form of surfaces of diagonal lines.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here
  • Jump Physics: Besides the Hitbox Dissonance, the Ice Climber can't control their direction of jumping so well once they're in the air. It's tricky, but you can also harm Nitpickers this way by having their mallets hit them as they jump.
  • Nintendo Hard
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder
  • Only One Name: Popo and Nana. Much like serveral other Nintendo protagonists.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy
  • Rise to the Challenge: As you climbed up a mountain, the screen scrolls up to follow you. No matter what is currently at the bottom, you will die if you fall off the screen.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The entirety of the game, though only the higher layers of each level have icy floors that lower your traction, which can lead to you falling down to the previous layer if you're not careful.
  • Shrug of God: Are they siblings? Friends? Lovers? Word of God is that it's up to the player's mind.
  • Stalactite Spite: To the point clouds are raining them on you. You do get points for breaking them at least.
  • Sunglasses at Night: The Polar Bears.
  • Wrap Around: Horizontally. Don't try to do this in the Smash Bros stages!
GradiusUsefulNotes/The 8 -bit Era of Console Video GamesJoust
Heroes of the LancePC- 88 Impossible Mission
HydlideNintendo Entertainment SystemIkari Warriors
Ghosts 'n GoblinsGame Boy AdvanceKid Icarus
Valiant HeartsPlatform GameNebulus
Last WindowCreator/NintendoJam With The Band

alternative title(s): Ice Climbers; Ice Climber
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