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Video Game / Ganbare Neo Poke-Kun

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Ganbare Neo Poke-kun is an odd cross between a virtual pet and a minigame collection released in 2000 for the Neo Geo Pocket Color. As soon as you first run the game you meet the titular Neo Poke walking around in his little studio room. By pressing the A button a random character will come through the door and do something that often leaves Neo Poke confused.

That would be basically all there is to this thing, but Neo Poke is a game developer and he'll program minigames from time to time if he's feeling well. This series of 30 minigames starts out as basic arcade challenges and gets (a bit) more complex as you go along. The more minigames are unlocked, the greater the amount of available skits and animations you can see.

Although SNK used Neo Poke as the Neo Geo Pocket's mascot, the game fell into obscurity and wasn't released outside of Japan. The character still got a few cameos in the company's later games.


This game features the following tropes:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Neo Poke isn't happy to see a love-struck young fangirl with pigtails barging into his room. In her second scene, she even breaks through the door with a flying kick and hits him right in the face.
  • Action Survivor: In the Galaga parody, Neo Poke must dodge shots from both aliens and the computer-controlled protagonist until all aliens are killed.
  • Air Jousting: In one of the mini fighting games, the only way to attack is by countering the CPU's flying kicks with your own.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: In the UFO Catcher minigame, one of the targets is a cow.
  • Author Avatar: In-universe, Neo Poke makes himself the protagonist of several minigames.
  • Blackout Basement: In the Dragon Quest parody you have to feel your way around three completely dark dungeon floors. Each tile you reveal drains 1 HP.
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  • Boss Battle: Some minigames end with one.
  • Bottomless Pits: One of the d-pad events makes a huge green pit in the room. After Neo Poke falls in, the pit closes, opens and then spits his bones out. ...only for Neo Poke to turn up alive right after as if nothing happened.
  • Brick Joke: Most of the characters just walk across the room or turn back when they first appear, leaving both the protagonist and the player confused. Only after spawning them several times do they interact with Neo Poke in some amusing way.
  • The Cameo: Several SNK characters appear in the UFO Catcher minigame.
  • Camera Abuse: Whenever you enter the minigame screen, the light bulb in Poke's room is replaced by a flashing siren and he runs face-first into the camera in a panic.
  • Cartoon Creature: Neo Poke looks like kind of big-nosed bug person.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Some minigames have to be finished in one go, making the three lives you're given pointless.
  • Combos: In some of the action minigames you get a score multiplier if you don't miss attacks.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Towards the second half of the game, pieces of the credits roll can randomly go through Neo Poke's room when you leave the minigame screen.
  • Defiant Captive: One minigame is a parody of Kung Fu Master that features Neo Poke kicking grabby enemies away while tied to a suspended rope. Hilariously, the boss of this minigame is Sylvia tied to a chair.
  • Depraved Homosexual: One of the random events is a handsome blond man who slaps Neo Poke across the face, grabs his crotch repeatedly, and then waves goodbye as he walks away. Neo Poke just stares in confusion.
  • Dynamic Entry: Some characters will crash through the door. You won't need to wait for it to be repaired if that happens.
  • Endless Game: Some minigames go on until you lose all your lives.
  • Escort Mission: In the Bomberman parody, Neo Poke must protect 12 salarymen from bomb blasts by standing over the bombs. It's very rare for the villain to kill all salarymen even if you do nothing until time runs out.
  • Fake Longevity: The game has a big number of animations for Neo Poke and skits that play when you open the door, but it's still not enough to entertain the player for the amount of time it takes to unlock all minigames. Worse is that there are several characters that don't have multiple cutscenes.
  • Gratuitous English: Most of the text is in japanese except for certain phrases within the minigames.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • It's hard to tell how the minigames are unlocked. Sometimes you spend several minutes at morning with one or two at 90% development only for Neo Poke to never go finish them. Even after you do get that cutscene, sometimes the minigames still don't get unlocked.
    • The game doesn't tell you what to aim for if you want the green flower icon for every minigame.
  • Hyperactive Sprite: Poke is always doing something, be it walking around, talking on the phone, working out, farting or sleeping. The more minigames you unlock, the more stuff he does.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game has an internal clock and some skits only play at certain times. Naturally, Neo Poke is unlikely to make minigames when he's trying to sleep.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: A lot of the skits are upsetting or even harmful to Neo Poke in some way. However, even if Neo Poke can get depressed sometimes and even though some of the d-pad events can destroy his house or kill him, everything goes back to normal soon enough.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Presumably Neo Poke makes games quicker if he's happy, but even if you avoid the d-pad events you have no control over that. It doesn't help that the majority of skits make him upset.
    • The Dragon Quest parody drains your HP as you explore and requires you to roll a six-sided die to kill enemies. The boss can only be beaten if you roll a six and deals more than 1 HP of damage if you get any other roll.
  • No Ending: Nothing special happens once Neo Poke develops the final minigame. Most of the minigames that aren't endless also have no unique ending screen.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: A game developer loafs around in his room which is frequently invaded by strange people.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted, as sometimes Neo Poke will enter his bathroom.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Another Neo Poke may come through the door, causing the main one to freak out. In his second scene, both Neo Pokes unintentionally make the same unconfortable gestures until both start crying.
  • Play Every Day: The game actually seems to only allow a couple of minigames to be unlocked every day, no matter how long you leave the game on and how many skits you see.
  • Portal Door: The door to Neo Poke's room apparently leads to everywhere in the universe.
  • Rank Inflation: Reaching the goal of a minigame awards you a crown icon, but achieving a certain score or some other hidden goal grants an extra icon that can be a Plum, a Bamboo, or a Pine depending on how well you played.
  • Retraux: The first few minigames have minimalist graphics.
  • Ring Out: One minigame baits you with a character selection screen with several available guys and complicated stats but then it turns out it is just a marble game in which you try to knock the rivals off the arena.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: The visual novel minigame uses this as the main mechanic for flirting.
  • Stop Poking Me!:
    • If you view 4 skits in a row the door will blow up the next time you press A unless you wait a couple of seconds. You'll need to save and reset the game or load the minigame menu about two times for the door to be repaired.
    • When the door has a megaphone it will also be disabled if you sound it several times in a row, but you don't need to wait very long for it to start working again.
  • The Scream: The salarymen in the Bomberman parody make the pose from Edvard Munch's painting when they die.
  • Start Screen: The game's title screen only appears once. All but a few minigames' start screens are also nothing but a "Press A" prompt. If you press B instead it plays a scene of Neo Poke covering himself with a piece of cloth and then starts the minigame.
  • Stylistic Suck: Several minigames are minimalistic, poorly-designed or have odd gameplay mechanics for the sake of being weird.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: If you spin the d-pad around either an object will fall on Neo Poke or his room will be destroyed. Do it enough and he'll get depressed and start giggling to himself. Eventually he'll pack his stuff and leave for a while. Not all of those events seem harmful to Neo Poke, though, which encourages the player to check them anyway.
  • A Winner Is You: Reaching the goal of a minigame displays a congratulations screen. Some minigames also have an unique ending screen on top of that.
  • Youkai: One random character is a Kappa that slides on his back through the room while holding a camera.