I wasn’t sure what to expect from Bob’s Game. When I first heard about the game that Robert Pelloni spent five years making, I was impressed and interested to see what the finished product would look like. Then, the viral campaign kicked in with the self-imposed isolated sit-in and the demonstration at the Nintendo World store, and I lost interest in the whole endeavor. When I heard the demo was released, I decided to give Bob’s Game one more chance.
Pelloni recently released demo one for Bob’s Game – an .nds file that is compatible not only with the GBA/DS emulator no$gba and most DS homebrew devices. The brief demo is available for free via the Bob’s Game site and gives everyone the chance to play through the game’s introduction, as seen in one of Pelloni’s many YouTube videos.
Players begin the demo as young Yuu, who’s just moved into a new neighborhood with his family. Finished with his unpacking, he heads to ask permission to explore his new environment. His mother gives him a fetch quest instead, requesting Yuu obtain batteries.
When I loaded Bob’s Game up in no$gba, I was greeted by humorous fake loading screens, including an outrageous warning method, a fake license screen and an opening screen asking me to press A, B and then C. This quickly sets the tone for the entire demo, as the characters’ conversations are littered with witty asides and dialogue.
Controls are fairly simple, using the D pad or assigned directional keys to control Yuu, the A button to examine things and holding down the B button to make Yuu run. Oddly enough, there is even touch screen support. A mini-map appears on the bottom screen, and if you tap on a location, Yuu will run there. In the cluttered house, this seemed like a useless feature, but it was a very handy addition once Yuu got outside and needed to get to distant locations.
The characters and surroundings have an old-school look to them – for some reason they reminded me of Live A Live. There’s quite a bit of detail here, even though characters and items may seem small. I thought it was a nice touch that practically every box in Yuu’s home has something inside of it, and Yuu can search them.
The Gontendo Gametoy really steals the show. In an attempt to make friends, Yuu is given a Gametoy and sent out to play with another kid from the neighborhood. Players are then launched into Tetrid, a mini-game which feels like a full game.
Tetrid infuriated me to no end, yet I couldn’t help returning to play it over and over. It’s clearly inspired by Tetris – you must complete lines with blocks to eliminate them, earn points and beat the game. Except in Tetrid, the shapes aren’t the traditional blocks we’re all familiar with. Instead, there are blocks missing, creating new shapes that you have to work with. Just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of Tetrid, the game speeds up, the background and blocks start changing color and the in-game screen starts shifting from left to right.
Although the Bob’s Game demo is somewhat brief, it was enough to thoroughly impress me and win me over, even though I didn’t agree with the marketing approach. After all, both no$gba and the demo are free, so you aren’t losing anything if you take a chance.