Bubble Bobble, now there's a classic. A cutesy platform game with itty-bitty dinosaurs that spewed forth bubbles to trap the enemy and then popped them, the title was an addictive little blighter that had an equally addictive theme tune. Created by Fukio Mitsuji, Bubble Bobble is soon to get a new lease of life in retro collection bonanza Taito Legends (out October 14 on PS2, Xbox and PC and featuring a total of 29 titles) and we recently caught up with Mitsuji-san for a chat - join us as we take a walk down memory lane with Fukio Mitsuji and discover his opinions on the videogame scene present and future....
Why is Bubble Bobble fun, what makes/made it popular?
Mitsuji-san: My original concept was to create a game which is both thrilling and exhilarating. Bubbles are an intuitive visual cue to convey a fun element and popping them all at once triggers thrills and exhilaration.
You had to play co-operatively in order to reach the true ending. So compared to other titles, co-operative gameplay is a more crucial part. As a result, many players challenged the game by teaming up with other players. Also, couples were seen playing the game together.
Is it surprising that Bubble Bobble's popularity has endured? Why has it endured?
Mitsuji-san: I think it's because of their cute character design and unique ability to shoot bubbles.
Certain parties reckon videogames have become overly complex. Is that something you'd agree with? Do you think games are easier or harder these days?
Mitsuji-san: I think videogames have become more and more complex these days. As far as difficulty level is concerned, the developers are running out of new ideas and many games now share identical game design. Since many players' skills are already tuned to a specific game design, newer games tend to become harder. So, in order to gain wider audiences, the creators must come up with a fresh idea and easy-to-grasp game design. In other words, simple yet deep gameplay elements. Game creators must come up with them. And I would like to see more creators focus on fresh game designs.
What do you think of the direction in which videogames have gone since Bubble Bobble's debut?
Mitsuji-san: These days, games have become driven by technology and tend to rely too much on sounds and visuals. I think we should look back and think about the essence of videogames.
Do you reckon there's still room for innovation in videogame development then?
Mitsuji-san: Of course. There are an infinite number of new game ideas. Many people think that we have ran out of possible new game ideas, but I don't think so. Just as many objects are left alone on this planet, there are many new ideas waiting to be discovered. It is a matter of realizing it.
So what excites you about the videogame industry currently?
Mitsuji-san: There are too many people to name, but I respect every creator because they work hard day and night.
How do you envisage the next generation of consoles affecting the gaming experience?
Mitsuji-san: Next-generation consoles should not drive the games. Game ideas should.
Finally, if you had the opportunity to instantly create your dream game, what would that game be?
Mitsuji-san: There are many things I want to tell you now, but I choose not to. I look forward to people reading this creating fun and inspiring games, and becoming next-generation creators. Good luck!