Thursday, October 17, 2013

Game #16: ZOOP! (Guest Post by Jessica Emsley)

Oh hi, I'm Clint's sister and I don't know how to video game, but I know how to take screenshots, so LET'S DO THIS THING.

I started this project about three weeks ago before getting distracted by the internet, but I'm finally back on the... wagon?... and now we're gonna finish it exactly how we started: Slightly inebriated and out of good TV.

I'm starting at the very end of the Z's, for symmetry!  For science!  For LOVE but no mostly just symmetry.  The name of the game is Zoop, an original Game Boy game.  Those are things I know!

It's either a puzzle game, or I'm wildly misinterpreting sensory input again.  But I’m pretty sure it's a puzzle game.

SO, you see above: An intro screen! Yeeaahhhhh! Check out that font, and all those dots! These things probably matter to someone?!

oh, the hookmanity
AND THEN A BLIMP HOLY SNAP THIS IS EXCITING but no really, that's a super adorable logo and I applaud them.  I'm sure if I were Clint I'd be like, "Look, it's Hookstone!  I'm now quite excited about this game, as Hookstone are the creators of both Zelda, and non-stick baking pans!"  But I have no idea who Hookstone is, so it's just a blimp to me.  Guys, IT'S ALL JUST BLIMPS TO ME.

Okay so these are the buttons I can hit on the menu that I see!
Am I videogaming right?!?!!!?!???!?!?
The music is actually pretty good!  It's kinda jazzy, a little bit funkified--hey, did anyone ever play Caesar's Palace?  It's on the Game Boy, so if you don't know what that is, surely Clint will play it some time, like mid-2015 maybe?!  Anyway it was about as atmospheric as a gambling game on the Gameboy could be, and I think a big part of that was the music, which was all, “boop boop deep deep whoppa whoppa binnnnngggg” etc.  

But no, mostly the music is just bluesy and jazzy, like a badly digitized 1920s speakeasy, and I like it okay!!!

Alright let’s get to it now.  I choose "level" because "continual' sounds like it will take longer than the 30 seconds I allotted for play time today.

Okay, guys, it looks like I am a stripy square in the middle of a box, and I can move around on the little dots.  Hooray!

When I hit A or B, I slam face-first into these patterned bricks.  (I tried to get an action shot of this but I suck.)

Check me out, little rectangle, I'm about to face you. And by 'face' you,

See?  Now I'm the color of the one dude I just slaughtered, but a dude with my former pattern has replaced him!

Predictably, if I'm the same color as a stack of 2 or more dudes in a row, they go *poof*!  BE GONE, PATTERNED DEMONS!

If there are no blocks underneath the ones I just Poofed (some might say “Zooped” but those people don’t know anything), I destroy them all and keep my current pattern.  If there's a block beneath the stack I Poofed, I become the color of that block.  Pretty simple!

The controls are, um, good I guess?  My little dude moves quickly and precisely, and I can face-slam a rectangle from as far away as I want, as long as my arrow is pointed in their direction.  And that's it!  It's just Poofing blocks with my face-slam!  And this super simple concept is actually, ugh, really hard.

I’m gonna take a moment to explain that I am truly awful at video games.  I mean, just.  HILARIOUSLY awful.  So don’t take my statement that Zoop is “hard” as anything other than the laughable opinion of a mental toddler.  I mean, I’m the kind of girl who sometimes can't beat a Kirby boss, sooooooo.

At first it seems too slow, with one block appearing every thirty seconds or some shiz and me getting hella bored and distracted.

Q: How many YouTube videos can I watch before I have to hit another button?

But it turns out the line between "nothing to do" and "oh frigs I'm 'bout to die" is pretty thin.

A: ha ha sorry about the sarcasm guys you can stop reproducing any time now

As soon as a brick hits my square boundary, it sets off a scary "you're totally frigged" alarm. I think I have something like 10 seconds to fix this, but I end up going into panic mode, flailing like an idiot, and eventually exploding.

This is what happens in you let a rectangle touch your square, kids.  Also don’t do drugs
Oh, okay, here's another thing--you see those things in the lower left?  The Mustaches, as I call them?  Yeah I have no freaking idea what they are.  They appear amidst the stacks of blocks, and as soon as I face-ram them, I collect them.

Thing is, they don’t seem to do anything?  I’ve hit every button imaginable (which is 4 buttons, guys, there's only 4, it would have been quite hard to miss any) and they just... sit there?!

So obviously they're just lives, right guys?  Of course!  Lives!  EXCEPT I DIE INSTANTLY REGARDLESS OF MY MUSTACHE COLLECTION.

never trust a game with a mustache
It's a mystery for the ages, folks.  Or a mystery for someone who isn’t too lazy to look up the rules.  Team work!

BREAKING NEWS: I got un-lazy and looked it up.  Turns out you have to collect 5 “spring pieces” to clear the level.  I was wondering what triggered a level to clear!  I thought it was just because I asked real hard?! 

(Ha ha you guys, seriously, who would give me access to a video game blog)

There are other items, however, that do real stuff!  Like if I face-ram a lightning bolt, I turn into a lightning bolt!

The lightning bolt appears to destroy blocks in a certain radius around the point you Poof, but not… a lot?  This would probably matter more if I could get to an actual hard part of the game.  Instead, I keep dying almost immediately.  I never get past level 4, which appears to mean "not really much faster than level 1," and yet now that I'm thinking about it, it only has 4 levels?  So, uh. Maybe the game is meant to only last 2 minutes?

flag heart diamond is so much better than B0O
Now that I’ve established that I’m a straight-up failure at this game, let’s throw it on "Stage 7” just for funsies.  Too lazy to take an extra screenshot, so I'll just explain: I got to choose a level AND a stage at the beginning, and I picked “loser stage” and “baby level.”  The number in the lower right indicates one or the other, and I never bothered to figure out which.  SO!  Maybe stage 7 is structured differently??


Okay, so the lower-right number is the stage. Good to know!  ...Kinda?

Stage 7 is only different in the sense that (A) it's crazy flippin fast (what are the difficulty levels for if the stage is what changes the speed?!) and (B) that weird malformed paper starfish is an item I collected, and it seems to destroy any adjacent tiles of the same pattern.  Which is, you know, probably kinda helpful?

Honestly, this game is an enjoyable, non-torturous (read: non-Dalmation-y) experience.  It's a simple puzzle game, but I can imagine the strategy getting complex--especially at higher levels, when technical strategy and time management compete for slots in your brain-space.  I didn't get to the point where I was thinking several moves ahead and stacking blocks in an organized way, or… any other strategies one might have?  I was basically just running around my little square, hitting A a lot and trying not to die.  But given several years of practice and experience, I might make it to level 6!  And it’s entertaining enough to try, soooo yeah I don’t know how to end blog entries *POOF*

(y’all got Zoop’d)

Want more of Jessica's writing, but also like things that are not Game Boys? Then you can find her on Twitter as @CrackMonk where she's both hilarious and pithy. Radical.


  1. This game had a weird amount of publicity when it first came out. It had a big multisystem release and (according to wikipedia) Blockbuster had a free SNES rental promotion of it. I guess trying to catch some of the old Tetris/KLAX magic?

    1. I feel like it did a better job than most Tetris ripoffs at the time--it had a unique-ish concept and manages to fairly successfully tow that line between too simplistic and overly complex that made Tetris so beautiful. But, yeah, not really as addictive, imo.

      I miss renting SNES games. It was a gamble every time. Can I blow on it enough to make it work? Oh shit it worked for a second, jiggle it! No! NO DON'T TOUCH IT EVERYONE STAY AWAY FROM THE SYSTEM AND DON'T PULL ON YOUR CONTROLLERS THIS IS A VERY DELICATE SITUATION HERE, now let's play some goddamn Mario Kart.