Figured I’d bust out another one of these, if for no other reason than I can’t think of anything more entertaining to write about. It’s either this or wipe up whatever that burnt sienna substance is on the bathroom wall by the closet, or watch the critically reviled Nicholas Cage remake of “The Wicker Man” that I DVR’ed off Cinemax because I heard there’s a scene where he’s running around in a bear suit, screaming and punching random women in the face. I’m a little afraid to watch that scene because I fear it will render everything I watch thereafter completely uninteresting by comparison.

Anyway, join me as I cling desperately to the last remaining shreds of my listless childhood.


Replay Value: Medium

“Bubble Ghost” is actually a pretty good game all around, from most every aspect. The graphics were good for the system and era, the gameplay was diverting if frustrating, and the premise lent itself to odd rumination: You’re a ghost, blowing a bubble through a series of rooms occupied by various pointy and hot and generally bubble-intolerant objects, trying not to pop the thing. So you’re dealing with two concepts that lie on either side of, say, a rock, on the unstable seesaw of tangibility, if you will. You’ve got a bubble, which just barely exists, and a ghost, which just barely doesn’t. For these two things to depend on one another (well, the bubble certainly depends on the ghost…not really sure what the ghost is getting out of all this. I imagine the life of a ghost largely consists of farting around, doing increasingly inexplicable things to pass the time) is kind of beautiful in a tip-toeing, whispering way.

Despite the dippy, needlessly prosaic appreciation I’ve just paid “Bubble Ghost”, I didn’t really play it all that often, and when I did load it up I generally only played for a few minutes. Maybe it just weirded me out too much, or it frustrated me too easily, but I think in general it just wasn’t my thing. I actually think I might like it better if I played it now.


Replay Value: Low

That’s the box for the Atari 2600 one, but regardless of which version of “Burger Time” you played, one thing remained constant:

The graphics sucked shit. Bloody, puked-on, pus-infused, stinking week-old shit. Which is really too bad, because the game itself is creative and fun and exciting to think about. You’re a chef who has to run around on some scaffolding, tromping over giant hamburger buns and meat patties, thus dropping them onto huge plates below, all the while avoiding the person-sized living frankfurters and fried eggs that for whatever reason don’t want you to make these giant hamburgers and are willing to take your life to make sure you don’t carry out your already surreal plans. I think a prequel to “Burger Time” would have been even more eye-opening. I wanna know what led up to these events. How does one find themselves in this situation? But when that situation looks like the above, why bother? I bet the arcade console itself was a lot better, but the Atari and Commodore versions were prime examples of what happened when home game developers wanted to cash in on popular arcade hits as quickly as possible. If I ever happen upon my old copy of this game, I’m going to fart on it and throw it in a lake.


Replay Value: Medium

Since as a rule we were piss broke, my family didn’t take too many vacations, and on the rare occasions that we did embark on a trip of some sort, it was usually to a somewhat depressing destination. In our case, Portland (Maine) tended to serve as our most frequent tropical getaway. Living in the heart of the Maine woods, Portland seemed like the ultimate in urban sprawl as far as we were concerned, and the idea of shopping at the Maine Mall was to our minds the very pinnacle of limitless commercial opportunities. So every now and then, we’d pick a weekend during the summer, pack a few bags, book a hotel, and spend a couple days wandering around the Maine Mall, thrusting wrinkly dollars in the faces of unimpressed cashiers in exchange for shiny, colorful products we’d grasped at random.

One year in particular (’91, if I’m not mistaken) we chose to take our Portland trip in tandem with my 15th birthday. 15 was not a great age for me. I was awkward, as many tend to be at that age, sporting a jaw-droppingly poor hair-do cannily meant to fuse two unfortunate styles (the spike and the mullet) into one mind-blowingly hip mass of greasy follicles, and instead jutting out at unruly angles, unattractively sucking on my enormous head, a terrible idea in hair format. An eyeless, palsied barber could have produced a more attractive haircut by haphazardly shearing away at my head with a fresh sheet of oaktag. I was routinely being picked on by burly welders at school, gaping in vain at scowling girls in unfairly snug stone-washed jeans, and just in general an emotional wreck, a sheer burden to spend any time with. My brother was in fifth grade, and no more or less obnoxious than he ever was.

Anyway, I’d received fifty bucks as my birthday present that year, and having no concept of the value of money, I assumed I’d handily be able to purchase 75% of the mall’s inventory, maybe even 76% if I kept my eyes peeled for bargains. Sadly, after purchasing cassingles of “Room at the Top” by Adam Ant, “Love Is” by Allanah Myles, and “Coming of Age” by Damn Yankees (apparently I was closing my eyes and blindly groping at the vast Musicland cassingle wall), as well as a snazzy Faith No More tee-shirt (which my parents eventually allowed me to purchase after I, yes, cried in the middle of the Maine Mall by way of protest. I guess you could say I “cared a lot”!!! Fnar fnar fnar!), I found myself down to my last three bucks. Meanwhile, my brother, to his credit, had actually put some real thought into his purchases, sticking to reasonably priced sale items as opposed to pricey garments and cost-ineffective cassettes containing only two songs, one of which generally being an instrumental version of the song on side A. So he had a nice armload of stuff, fun-looking stuff, and I had three chintzy tapes and a tee-shirt that ended up not really fitting. Needlessly to say, I wept bitterly in protest.

Anyway, one of the many things my brother bought on that trip was “Bop N’Rumble”, an odd scrolling beat-’em-up that turned out to be a decent little game. C64 was pretty well past its prime by this point in time, so its games were going for three or four bucks at most. I think Justin shelled out like two bucks for this, a bargain at thrice the price.

You’re that curly-haired gentleman in the Hulk Hogan trunks. Basically all you do is galumph around, beating up elderly women who try to hit you with purses…

…stupid blind people who get in your way….

and occasionally gorillas.

The very inappropriateness of your opponents is a big part of what made the game such a dumb good time, and once it was in our home, with the various tragedies of the Portland trip long behind us, we spent a good many afternoons giving the elderly, the handicapped, and the animal kingdom the sound thrashing they all richly deserved.

A couple more sad things that happened on that trip: At one point, my mom tripped on her shoelaces and fell flat on her face in the middle of the mall, which was crowded and busy, and my brother, father, and I, rather than help her up, briskly walked away in shame. That night in the hotel, we decided to relax and enjoy a movie together to salvage the day, and we unwisely allowed my brother to make the selection. We rounded out the evening by watching the Martin Scorsese remake of “Cape Fear”, grimacing together as a family as Robert De Niro bit off part of a woman’s face while raping her from behind. Precious memories, how they linger.

On the plus side, we went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant, and a Chinese man came out and loudly sang “Happy Birthday” to a girl named Courtney who was having a birthday party at a neighboring table, and instead of “Courtney” it sounded like he said “Codfish”, which provided the four of us no small amount of hilarity. When all attempts at amusement fail us, at least we can always openly mock the ridiculous accents of foreigners, and in the end that’s all that matters.

That’s it for tonight. I start my new job tomorrow. Please don’t ask me any questions about it, as I have no clue what tasks the job entails. I verified that money would periodically changed hands, and accepted the position. Have an enjoyable evening. Here’s Debbie Harry.



  1. Yeah, that’s Hulk Hogan punching a gibbon, whilst simultaneously picking Michael Clark Duncan’s nose, and taking a tetherball to the bean. THAT would be a cool game, too. I don’t know what you’d call it, though. Maybe ‘The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants’, although I think everything should be called that. Good luck on the job; I genuinely hope it’s not something too illegal (unless you can get some of those cool black market Levis I’ve always wanted).

  2. Hey- how’d it go?

  3. Aw man- I had Burger Time. I forgot about those hotdogs.

  4. butthorn Says:

    I have a magical desk that I can adjust by pushing buttons. The job is good so far!

  5. butthorn Says:

    Also, “The Wicker Man” remake was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a good long time.

  6. I think websites dedicated to an unreleased, unfinished NES game are what the intra-nets was made for.

    Cheetahmen 2 anyone?

  7. Talk about a throw back game!

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