Bubbles - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Bubbles (1982)

Bubbles! Another classic arcade title released by William’s Electronics in 1982. The company was totally on a roll with their games. Each and every release seemed to be a classic between ’82 and ’83. Joust, Moon Patrol, Sinistar and Robotron: 2084 to name a few. Christopher Tupa certainly picked one of my favorite arcade games for his latest Retro Arcade Art project. However, depending on if you go by the fans of classic arcade titles on the internet. It certainly seems that CTupa and myself might be in the minority when it comes to our love of Bubbles!

When Bubbles was being developed, a simple goal was in mind. According to co-creator John Kotlarik: “What I was trying to do with Bubbles was come up with a non-violent, clean game (no pun intended)”.

One would be hard pressed in fact to argue that an anthropomorphic soap bubble isn’t a clean cut gaming icon, right?
Bubbles - Title Screen

Furthermore, Kotlarik as well as William’s Tim Murpy and the legendary Python Anghelo were succesful in injecting personality into the soapy protagonist. Including of course the adding of non-violent nature to Bubbles gameplay. I mean what is the main goal of the game but the cleaning of a dirty kitchen sink?
Bubbles - Bubbles Face

While unlike the standard titles from the Golden Age of arcade games. The Player has no ability to fire a projectile at their enemies nor even any way to truly defend themselves from threats. The Player merely has an 8 way joystick to help navigate past those foes and other deadly obstacles.

In Bubbles the Player starts off as a tiny bubble. Insignificant perhaps but passing over – cleaning – the equally tiny ants and grime will help the Player to grow in size. Eventually forming that smiling face you can see in the image above. Which also allows the the protagonist to make contact with the likes of scrub brushes and sponges without losing a life. Instead of sadly popping – the bubble will bounce back and lose some of it’s size.
Bubbles - Razors

Of course hazards such as the razor blades will always cost a Player a life. Which in turn begs the question of whose sink you cleaning. Maybe Hannibal Lecter?

With Bubbles you must also contend with a pesky roach infestation. The Player is only able to safely touch these foes if they’ve picked up a broom. Which is done by scooping up the cleaning ladies that appear during the stage.
Bubbles - Cleaning Woman

Finishing a level requires the Player to grow in size enough to obtain that smiling face. In which case the center of the drain flashes green. Allowing a Player to skip to the next level. On the other hand if all objects that provide points have managed to slip down the drain or even been cleaned up by those brushes. The Player loses a life and has to replay that stage again.

I mentioned what seems to be a dislike of Bubbles at the beginning of the post. It might very well in fact be a small but vocal group. But of those Players that remember the game that I questioned last week. I will say again – CTupa and myself seem to be a small few who have a fondess for the game.

By the way the first time I played the game myself was at that fabled Showbiz Pizza of my youth. Having said that though, ours wasn’t lucky enough to have one of the beautiful Duramold cabinets. Besides the unique cabinet the control panel also offered different control panel artwork.

Bubbles - Duramold Cabinet - Bubbles Tribute
Friends, this image is courtesy of the Bubbles Tribute page.

Bubbles - Duramold Controls

With a little knowledge of Bubbles under your belt. How about watching the game in action?

[Via] Old Classic Retro Gaming

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

I hope you won’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art Project as well!
Retro Arcade Art - Christoper Tupa

VicSage

Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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