I don’t have much interest in modern games. It makes me sad that the hobby I love is growing more and more uninteresting to me. My heart and soul when it comes to gaming lies in the past, within the realm of 8 and 16-bits. Since I spend a lot of time thinking about the past, I decided it might be fun to come up with a list of the top 10 blasts from gaming’s past.
Disclaimer: The characters on this list had to have been created in the retro era of gaming and unfortunately been forgotten by most gamers.
10) Pierre le Chef – Out To Lunch (SNES)
Who?: Pierre le Chef is a regular everyday French chef who needs to protect his career by capturing escaped ingredients that have been released by his arch-rival, Le Chef Noir.
Why I Like The Character: I just love the way he looks. He is very simple looking but he has some skills that go far beyond being a culinary master. His capture tools include:
- A wooden spoon used to stun ingredients.
- A bag of flour which is a projectile used to stun his targets.
- Hot Sauce that gives him flame breath.
- A net used to capture stunned ingredients.
Besides, when was the last time you played as a chef in a game?
Number of Games: 1
9) Rattle and Roll – Snake, Rattle and Roll (NES)
Who?: Rattle and Roll are a pair of snakes who eat things to get heavier so that they can open a door and get to the next level.
Why I Like The Characters: These guys are a couple of happy looking snakes who are just trying to make it to the next stage. I love that other than using their tongues, they are practically defenseless not like real life snakes. Lastly, these snakes live in a world populated by kick ass 1950′s style music, which is immensely catchy.
Number of Games: 1
8) Sir Arthur – Ghosts ‘n Goblins (NES)
Why I Like The Character: Arthur’s games are notoriously hard and part of me misses when games didn’t hold your hand so much. The other main reason I like Arthur is that even when he is at his weakest, which means literally being caught with his pants down and wearing nothing more than boxers, he still fights. He doesn’t even wear boots. Think of how tough it must be running around on rocks all day with no boots, now that is one tough knight.
Number of Games: 6
7) Bomberman – Bomberman (NES)
Who?: Bomberman, he is a man who plants bombs to make his way to the end of a level. Did I mention he uses bombs?
Why I Like The Character: OK, technically he still exists today, but his heyday is long gone and he more or less exists to make a quick buck for the company that currently holds the license. His look is iconic; a white helmet (which resembles a bomb) a blue outfit, with white pants and pink mitts and boots. There are many different colored Bombermen and women, but my favorite has always been the original white one. He is also kind of chubby so that is kind of awesome too. Oh, did I mention he likes bombs?
Number of Games: 70+
Fun fact: Bomberman has appeared in multiple spin-offs including a sports-style of game collection, 2 racing games; one where he drives a kart and one where he rides an animal that resembles a kangaroo, and even a puzzle game. Nothing compares however to the edgy “reboot” of Bomberman: Act Zero which modernizes Bomberman’s look from chubby, cartoony Bomberman to tall, killer cyborgs who use bombs. First rule of Bomberman: We don’t talk about Act Zero.
6) Master Higgins – Adventure Island (NES)
Who?: Master Higgins is a young man who is on a quest to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend. Isn’t that original?
Why I Like The Character: He has crazy hair and wears a cap, which is funny because I swear he is a caveman. He is a classic character who regains health by picking up various fruit or milk, which never really happens nowadays. Master Higgins can also ride a skateboard and when he does he wears a helmet. Safety first kids.
Number of Games: 8
5) Lost Vikings – Lost Vikings (SNES)
Who?: The Vikings three; Erik the Swift, Baleog the Fierce and Olaf the Stout. They just want to go home.
Why I Like The Characters: What I like the most about these three is that they each have an ability that the others don’t. Erik the Swift is the only one who has learned to jump and run. Baleog the Fierce can defeat enemies up close using his sword or far away using arrows from his never-ending quiver. Olaf the Stout is a big dopey guy who carries a big heavy shield that can be used to protect the others, be used as a platform for Eric the red to jump off of to get up higher and strangely, can also be used to glide short distances. Separately they won’t be able to get past the first level, but together they’ll be able to make their way back home. Besides who doesn’t want to play as Vikings?
Number of Games: 2
Fun Fact: They have made a number of cameos in other games made by Blizzard, but most notably they have appeared in World of Warcraft as NPC’s.
4) Little Nemo – Little Nemo Dream Master (NES)
Who?: Little Nemo is a child who is able to control his own dreams. Most interesting is that the game he appears in is based on an animated film by the name of “Little Nemo – Adventures in Slumberland” which itself is based upon a comic strip called “Little Nemo in Slumberland.”
Why I Like The Character: Not only do you get to control yourself in a dream, but you are the hero who will save Slumberland so that people everywhere can continue to have dreams. Nemo can take a certain number of hits before losing a life and he can jump, but his main ability is to use candy, which lets Nemo gain certain animal’s powers. Over the years I have tossed many a piece of candy at animals and I’ve yet to gain any of their powers. Maybe I’m using the wrong candy.
Number of Games: 1
3) Pocky and Rocky (SNES)
Who?: A girl named Pocky is tending a shrine one night is visited by a Tanooki named Rocky. His whole clan has suddenly gone insane and he requires her help to figure out what caused it.
Why I Like The Characters: 1) You play as a young girl who is not girly at all. 2) You play as a Tanooki in a non-Mario game. They are heavily based upon Japanese folklore and while they play similar, they do have separate attack styles that make them better suited for certain situations. Lastly they appear in a series of games that allow simultaneous Co-Op play, which is always fun.
Number of Games: 3
Fun fact: The game Heavenly Guardian for PS2 and Wii is a spiritual successor to the Pocky and Rocky series.
2) Kickle Cubicle- Kickle Cubicle (Arcade)
Who?: You play as a guy named Kickle Cubicle. You wake up one day finding that your homeland has been turned to ice by an evil Wizard. Only you are unaffected and it is up to you to reverse the spell and save the imprisoned people. Classic hero 101, right there.
Why I Like The Character: I like that his coloring make him look like a snowman and that in a world turned to ice, his special ability is also ice-type in nature which is kind of odd. I feel that Kickle could have easily made the jump to different game genres or maybe even a sequel, but sadly that wasn’t the case. My main reason for liking Kickle is because he stars in one of my most favorite puzzle games of all time.
Number of Games: 1
1) Bub and Bob – Bubble Bobble (Arcade)
Who?: Twin brothers who are transformed into dragons who have the power to blow bubbles. They are tasked with rescuing their respective girlfriends, something only Mario still has to deal with in today’s gaming world.
Why I Like The Characters: Wow what’s not to like? They are cute and chubby bubble blowing dragons. They trap their foes in bubbles and then pop the bobbles to kill them. They make the best noise ever when they jump or when they blow a bubble and they star in a game that I still play to this very day. In fact it was recently remade on XBLA as Bubble Bobble Neo and Wiiware as Bubble Bobble Plus!
Number of Games: 15+
Fun Fact: Rainbow Islands is also within the Bubble Bobble universe, but features the main characters as humans who have the power of rainbows instead of bubbles.
So while this list is far from complete it does feature characters that are near and dear to my heart and whom I feel faded away before their time, but who knows they just may come back again someday. On the flip side though some companies just don’t know when to let a character rest and keep milking them to hopefully help them reclaim their golden days. Sonic, I’m looking directly at you when I say this.
[Written by contributor Shane Peltzer]