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Video Game / Syobon Action

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"Billy Mays here! Telling you that you can get negative f(beep)ing two hundred lives in no time flat, and we'll throw in one for free right now! But if you call now, you can fall through the f(beep)ing floor and never be heard from again! Call now! Billy Mays!"

Syobon Action (also known as Cat Mario,note  Neko Mario, Dongs.exe, and Shobon no Akushon) is a Japanese Platform Hell freeware game developed by "Chiku". It basically takes Super Mario Bros. and cranks the difficulty up to eleven. It has tons of cruel deaths, from platforms falling immediately when touched, to being shot out of pipes, to the freaking clouds killing you. In addition to having a lot of skill, a player must memorize the only safe way to get through the level and avoid all of the many death traps.

The game is considered very similar in gameplay to I Wanna Be the Guy, but not as brutal on the difficulty. The game has also garnered a number of unofficial sequels, such as Syobon Action 2.

The game has become fairly popular for Let's Players on YouTube because the extreme difficulty of the game causes players to die repeatedly, often causing rage, fails, hilarity, or some combination of those.

You can download or play an official Java-embedded version of the original game here. Since Adobe Flash player is no longer supported, it can alternatively be played here. For those interested in playing Syobon Action 2, this page, as well as Open Syobon Action includes it in its entirety.

The same lead developer would go on to make Eryi's Action, a Spiritual Successor to this game.

This game contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Apparently, you're out to retrieve the Sacred Artichoke from the Muscular Evil Chicken, as said in the description of the game.
  • A Winner Is You: Clearing the game results in you coming a halt in front of the Sacred Artichoke, and the player is greeted with the message "Game clear. Thank you for playing." (translated from Japanese). Roll credits.
  • Black Comedy: Many seemingly harmless objects in the game can kill you, and there are horribly creative death traps everywhere.
  • Blatant Lies: While many hint boxes are technically true, some are blatantly lying. Stage 4, for example, says:
    "Congratulations on making it this far! This stage's difficulty is far easier than the previous, so don't hesitate to take your time to enjoy it."
  • Bloodless Carnage: No blood or gore, although you die over and over.
  • Death by Genre Savviness: The player, assuming that he/she is familiar with the general gameplay of Super Mario Bros., will die over and over again precisely because the entire game is devoted to subverting that Genre Savviness and killing you. For example, that pipe that should lead to a secret area? Kills you. That star that should make you invincible? Kills you. That invisible block that should contain a 1-up mushroom? Contains poison mushrooms and kills you.
  • Death Is Cheap: You start the level with two lives, but after you lose them, in your life counter will appear negative numbers showing the times you die, so you can try all the times you want. You will need it.
  • Developer's Foresight: Nearly every possible route through the levels was foreseen by the developers, and then all but one of those routes were all filled with unavoidable death traps to limit the player to using only a single precise route. For example, in the fourth level, there's a place where you need to jump over a lava pit. Jump too close to the ledge? You hit an invisible block. Try to jump onto that invisible block and then jump over the lava pit? The invisible cloud kills you.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Many traps are well-hidden and come out of nowhere, such as jumping off a ledge, hitting an invisible block, and falling to your death.
    • Invisible clouds! —UNDERGROUND!!
  • Emoticon: Syobon, Buun, and Kuma are in fact 2ch emoticons given life. See Memetic Mutation in the YMMV tab.
  • Escort Mission: In order to beat level 5 (the intended way), you have to guide a spiny enemy that jumps when you do through an upper path, while you travel along the lower path, which is naturally filled with traps. You need him to eat a mushroom and break through a wall. Of course you can just go on the collapsing floor directly under the wall and jump onto safe ground at the last second.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Even the clouds want you dead. Even the stars want you dead. Even the pipes want you dead. Even the floor wants you dead!
  • Expy: Given that this is a Super Mario Bros. parody, most enemies are expies of Mario enemies such as Goombas, Spinies, Thwomps, and Bowser himself. Generally, they're cat-themed.
  • Fake Difficulty: A lot of the difficulty comes from all of the traps. However, the game does require quite a bit of skill and patience, so it's definitely not all fake difficulty.
  • Fan Sequel: There are many "sequels" to this game out there, and some have difficulty that far exceeds the original's. Their quality and accuracy to the original varies.
  • Game Mod: Most mods typically alter the graphics and sound effects since they're .bmps and .wavs that can easily be replaced in the game's files.
  • Invisible Block: Placed in the most frustrating areas and will kill you, naturally.
  • Kaizo Trap: Immediately jumping onto the flagpole or picking up the sword at the end of castle levels is often a bad sign, as something will leap on-screen or otherwise affect the level while you lose control of Syobon to the point where you can't finish the level.
  • Let's Play: This is a popular game to watch Let's Players play. More often than not, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Malevolent Architecture
  • Meaningless Lives: Played literally. If you die on your last life, your counter just goes negative and acts as a death counter from there on out. Of course, these can be also used as a "score".
  • Mega Neko: The cat may be one of these — he's the same size as Mario would be.
    • A mushroom in the second level turns you into a bigger, muscular cat. So big and muscular, in fact, that the floor immediately collapses underneath you and you fall to your death.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: Syobon Action 2 is just the original game but with five extra levels. The ninth level can only be accessed through the level select code.
  • Minus World: Press the 0 key on the title screen. We dare you.
  • Nintendo Hard: And that's just the first level. The rest are pure Platform Hell.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: You die in one hit from anything. Even power-ups.
  • One Last Trap: The levels usually end in Kaizo Traps and you need to find a way to avoid them or trigger them early so they can't kill you while you walk up to the castle.
  • Platform Hell: While not to the extent of I Wanna Be the Guy, there are still a plentiful of traps scattered around that will surprise you if you go into the game with common sense.
  • Poison Mushroom: Every Power-Up is thisnote  either they turn you into a hulking beast that's so powerful that you break through all solid ground and plummet to your doom, or they kill you on the spot.
  • Red Herring: The Bowser Expy and poison mushroom at the end of the last level. Either one kills you, but eventually you'll figure out that you're supposed to use the mushroom to kill "Bowser" instead... but, if you do so, all that does is lead you straight into one last unavoidable Kaizo Trap in the form of a giant chicken man standing in for Toad. To beat the game, forget about "Bowser" and the poison mushroom and instead let the throwing robot enemy carry you above the level, allowing you to bypass "Bowser" and "Toad" and find the real ending.
    • If on the other hand you're playing Syobon Action 2, taking the "Bowser" route leads to you stopping directly in front of the giant chicken man, preventing you from being killed by him and triggering the original game's ending. If you take the upper path leading to the melon, you instead wind up in Level 5, and the game continues until Level 8.
  • Rule of Funny:
    • Why else does this game dish out dozens of sadistic traps?
    • Your life counter before you start playing starts at x2 lives... and after losing your "last life," it will go infinitely into negative numbers. Many players die hundreds of times.
  • Shout-Out: The game is a parody of the old Super Mario Bros. games.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The ninth level.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The Cheetahmen theme (or an excerpt) is the Overworld theme, and it sounds as a mocking of the frailty of Syobon with the song of strong humanoid leopards.
  • Spikes of Doom: Level 6 introduces spikes that hang from the ceiling and instantly kill the player on contact.
  • Spiritual Sequel: Eryi's Action.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Not only is Everything Trying to Kill You, but you will be dying constantly in many different ways since you get infinite retries. As soon as you avoid one trap, you often fall right into the next.
  • That Poor Cat: Syobon, by virtue of all the obstacles he has to run through.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: You can keep throwing yourself into traps and hazards with no worry of a Game Over, allowing you to die as many times as you like trying to progress through each level.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Players need to memorize what will kill them and safe routes to get around everything deadly. Some of the puzzles require some trial and error, too.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: If you hit those blue with orange circle blocks (those who appeared in Super Mario World that gives you quotes), you can't close the textbox, so you're completely stuck in it and you're forced to restart the game.
  • Video Game Remake: It got many remakes. Along others, "Open Syobon Action" and the countless Game Maker remakes of varying quality.
  • Violation of Common Sense: And you thought that clouds, pipes, flagpoles, and floors were harmless....
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The game loves doing this to you.