Let's appreciate... BUBBLE BOBBLE series!

Love Bubble Bobble. My first experience with the series was playing Bub & Bob for Mac as a young kid. It had different music than Bubble Bobble and I don't think it was an official port, but otherwise it was the same game AFAIK.
So, like, was anything released on PS2 other than super bust a move? i was playing bust a move 4 on DC with the wife last week and i wanted to check if there was anything more bubble bobble than bust a move on the ps2

Ninja Dom

Would you all agree that this was the inspiration behind Bubble Bobble?

Bubble Bobble for me is a classic game for me. I first played it as a kid in the arcade. Anybody got the story on how the original team lost the source code??
Somewhere on her hard drive, my second-to-last roommate has a recording of me, drunk, singing "Suck my dick, and suck my dick, and suck my fuckin' dick" to the background music of Bubble Bobble for NES while I struggled to play it. She went in another room so I couldn't hear her laughing, she just set her phone down on a bookshelf when she left and I had no idea she was recording me. Game is way fuckin' harder than I remember it being when I played it in second grade.


Without a doubt one of the smartest and best games ever.

I wish Taito would do more with their legacy titles. I have both their arcade compilations for PS2 and it's kind of a crime that they haven't done anything similar since.
Bubble Symphony, Bubble Memories, and Parasol Stars are all under-recognized and a ton of fun, and the 4-player WiiWare version of Bubble Bobble had some pretty great exclusive stages in 4-player mode, as well as several additional DLC sets of 100 stages.

Big Bubble Bobble fans owe it to themselves to also check out late Bubble Bobble creator Fukio Mitsuji's cute freelance Game Gear action puzzler for Tengen, Popils/Magical Puzzle Popils.

Does anybody know:

1. Were there EVER any versions of Rainbow Islands with 2-player simultaneous gameplay? Every time I think that a version of the game did, I go back and check, and it's always only 2-player alternating.

2. What exactly *is* happening in the ending of the original Bubble Bobble? Sure, you turn back human, sure, Bub and Bob rescue their Princess Girlfriends, but it turns out that Super Drunk/Grumple Gromit was Mama and Papa all along, and PS your parents are human again and PS your parents are gigantic and PS did you know that you were also rescuing your parents


Bubble Bobble was the first arcade game I played where someone showed me that there were cheat codes. Starting with super fast and long range bubbles felt good to my young self. ;) Full of secrets and music as sweet as sugar (but much better for you) this game was perfect for the arcades. I feel like every time I think of a game I would like to play again these days, I just wish someone would port it to the Switch.


Without a doubt one of the smartest and best games ever.

I wish Taito would do more with their legacy titles. I have both their arcade compilations for PS2 and it's kind of a crime that they haven't done anything similar since.

Taito deals squarely with mobile/social games these days, unfortunately. It's up to other publishers/developers to license their games/series, they won't release anything to home hardware on their own.

1. Were there EVER any versions of Rainbow Islands with 2-player simultaneous gameplay? Every time I think that a version of the game did, I go back and check, and it's always only 2-player alternating.

The WiiWare/XBLA version has local two-player co-op, as well as an online mode where you race to the top of a stage. (The PSP version has a similar race mode as well, IIRC.)
Great OP man.

I fell in love with the Bubble Bobble series when I first rented the game at a video store when I was younger. I had so much fun playing co-op with my brother and also my friends. It convinced me enough to buy the damn thing and most my exes that I went out with absolutely love this game. It really is the perfect date game.

Puzzle Bobble is also one of my favorite puzzle games. I used to sink a lot of quarters in the first ever game of the series at the arcades.

I wasn't really familiar with Rainbow Islands until I bought the game bundles with the Bubble Bobble arcade game in a Playstation release disc. It's pretty cool, definitely doesn't exceed the two other games I mentioned but still okay with me.

I wish I could play Parasol Stars. I was hoping that had a Virtual Console release. Alas, no such luck.

EDIT: Yeah Bubble Bobble Revolution for the DS was indeed had an erroneous bug. I believe you couldn't get pass stage 30 or something like that because the boss never showed up. It really frustrated me when I played it. Can't believe it was released in that condition.


Amazing job OP.

I remember getting a demo for the Spectrum (might have been of the cover of A.C.E magazine) and playing the first 5 levels over and over until I could afford the game.

Years later I played it regularly in an arcade in Fleetwood.

Great game and amazing music.


Just posting to say that this thread made me realize I read it Bubble Bubble for 25 years.................
fantastic OT - ive never spent too much time with the rainbow ones but enjoyed where i did. Bubble Bobble 1 is top 10 NES for me, was always curious how 2 went

2 player antics are reduced to playing each stage one after each other, as opposed to simultaneous play however.
Bubble Bobble is in my top 5, and I have a ton of them. I used to play all kinds of ports (C64, Atari, NES) but I eventually got the Amiga version as my first original game (I started out with a bunch of copied floppies). It was messy as you had to disable the 1MB memory expansion to get it to work.

Actually, from what I've heard in a feature in Retro Gamer, all the computer ports were made pretty much by playing the arcade and recreating it, meaning that things the creator couldn't find didn't make it in. And since the game has a TON of obscure rules to decide drops and powerups, no version is the same. Apparently the NES version was the only one that Taito did themselves (Sega ported the game for themselves since Taito weren't allowed by Nintendo to be a third party).

The NES version was great for adding the 20 extra stages and having password feature, but it wasn't perfect.

I also played Rainbow Islands a bunch (it was included with my Bubble Bobble) but never got too far in it. Also had Parasol Stars on Amiga and didn't know how uncommon that was.

I remember picking up the collection for PSone but didn't really enjoy it, I think it was also a weird port.

In 2001, I picked up a Saturn with Bubble Symphony. It was a decent game overall but a bit messy and gaudy. Parasol Stars actually works better as a sequel. I keep forgetting to have a look at Bubble Memories.

Bubble Bobble: Old & New was notable for being the first "complete" portable Bubble Bobble, and it was awesome. I did have to buy it twice, as the first copy turned out to be a bootleg (thanks, Ebay).

Bubble Bobble Plus / Neo was okay but once again there was something faintly off with the controls. It's actually a recurring thing. Bubble Bobble is EXTREMELY detailed with its gameplay, and every single change can be devastating. How bubbles move around the stage, how easily they break, what part of your character actually breaks the bubble, what platforms you can jump through, the exact collision detection of each platform, etc etc etc. This makes some stages nearly impossible in the ports.

Which brings me back to the arcade version. I finally got an arcade cabinet (for Virtua Fighter 3), then rewired it for Jamma, then got an original Bubble Bobble PCB with an adapter (since Bubble Bobble itself was pre-Jamma), so I can play the original. And it IS the best version by far.

And finally, the Arcade Archives version for PS4. It seems to me to be 100% arcade perfect, at least everything feels that way after a few playthroughs. Since getting a cab and a $200+ PCB is out of the question for most people, that's the version I would recommend.

(Side note: these plushies were released by Gaya Entertainment a few years ago, and they are AWESOME!)


Props, what an OP.

NES Bubble Bobble was my first favorite game- before I even owned an NES of my own. I had no idea about the 200 levels on SMS, that's awesome.


Ahhh great thread. I remember playing the first game in an arcade in Fife, but I'm sure it was called 'Bobble Bobble'. Was this actually a clone or some regional variant maybe?

For the home versions I had the first game on C64. What a great port, I remember it getting a Gold Medal award in Zzap! 64 magazine and going into town every Saturday and hassling the guy for it.

I had moved on to the Amiga by the time Rainbow Islands came out and although it seems simple, man that game has so much hidden depth. Eg killing enemies without dying gives you increasingly greater rewards and dropping rainbows on the enemies produces different coloured diamonds. But get this - the colour of the diamond depends where the enemy lands on the screen! Somehow I figured this out on my own back in the day (no internet you see). I'm sure that collecting them in order left to right gave you access to bonus rooms, or maybe this was to unlock the hidden islands (can't remember)?

Picked up the Saturn port years later but was disappointed to find that none of the above tricks seemed to work, is this because it was a shitty port or was that stuff actually added to the Amiga version by Graftgold?

Parasol Stars was also a great port and the only way to play in the UK without importing a PC Engine. My memory is a bit hazy on this one however, I seem to remember some of the bosses being ridiculously hard.

Lastly, is it 'Pon' or 'Pop'?

The amiga port was godly, in or household it ruled, me mum and sister were complete addicts

Down to pixel counting on where to kill the enemies to get the perfect rainbow gem score roygbiv on each level - the special warp stages and extra gems for doing everything right.. no online or print magazine guide to help, just figuring it out ourselves because the game design was good

Even one missed jewel and it was restart the level time!

I had always assumed that the arcade version has this much depth - never played it though so can't say

The depth and polish in this game was definitely coming from Taito - there is no way the programmer that did the conversion for ocean software added that - although he did an amazing job that's for sure

I agree I've played other home console versions over the years and none of them had all this, or the precise clean controls the Amiga version had

I would love so much a proper version of rainbow islands on any system :-(


IMO the BB theme is more iconic than even SMB. Love that game since I first played it on an Atari 520 back in the day.
Never played the arcade though, even actively looked for it on the last two trips to Tokyo (you would think it is somewhere in Taito Hey, but no).


listen to the mad man
Great thread, looking forward to subsequent installments in the series. I was scrolling down looking for Rainbow Islands and delighted to see it rightfully got its own full section. Bub and Bob are classic video game characters, and both Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands have excellent core mechanics!
I was more familiar with Rainbow Islands back when it came out for the Amiga in the early 90's, and didn't actually realise till some time later that Bubble Bobble existed. You can definitely see the connections, but it's clear they wanted to shake the formula up a bit.

I don't think there was ever a 2 player simultaneous Rainbow Islands originally (aside from the mentioned PSP and WiiWare versions) but I wonder if they had originally planned to include it. The fact that the screen only scrolls vertically, and second player would need to keep moving to catch up with the other player to stop from dying would have been a great additional hook. I wonder, also, if Rainbow Islands was inspired by Nintendo's Ice Climber in this respect?

The other Taito platform games (New Zealand Story / FairyLand Story / Don Doko Don (and 2) / Liquid Kids) are also classics, but I thought I'd leave em out of the OP, just to keep it Bubble Bobble focused. Maybe I'll do another thread later with the other Taito classics to keep everyone up to date! :)


I played the crap out of the NES one as a kid. I still occasionally find myself whistling the tune today.

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I had it on Sega master system and despite looking it up on internet I wasnt able to understand the whole candle thing. Basically the game goes dark after 100 levels and you can only see the enemies not the level. Super fucking annoying

Edit: I built a mame cabinet with original monitor and this games marquee thing. It was awesome, put so many hour on it


Neo Member
What an excellent thread, Glad to see several people appreciating Parasol Stars - to me it's the best in the whole series and it's a crying shame that, outside of a Wii VC release in Japan, it's not garnered the attention that Bubble Bobble ) and, to a lesser extent, Rainbow Islands did.

Also I'm probably absolutely in the minority that has a preference for Bubby and Bobby as humans, probably because of Parasol Stars being my favourite (and having a huge fondness for Rainbow Islands). Loved that Bubble Symphony had an option to use them as playable characters.

I'm also probably in the minority (although not the only one, looking at this thread) of people who don't really care for the original Bubble Bobble. Maybe because I never played it growing up, but I just find it boring. Love Bubble Symphony, love the (original) sequels, but the original does nothing for me.

That being said, I love the theme this series has on secrets, because there is an absurd amount in every game, like the rainbow diamonds in Rainbow Islands opening secret levels, and the hidden collectibles and getting the good ending in Parasol Stars. Some people probably find these things annoying but I think it adds to the games.

Also love Puzzle Bobble, probably my favourite puzzle game series, which I own several versions of. Probably my favourite is Puzzle Bobble 2 but I'm generally happy playing any of them.

Shout out to New Zealand Story and Liquid Kids too. I just love Taito in general, hahahah.


I had it on Sega master system and despite looking it up on internet I wasnt able to understand the whole candle thing. Basically the game goes dark after 100 levels and you can only see the enemies not the level. Super fucking annoying

It should be emphasized for those who haven't played that version: Final Bubble Bobble for SMS isn't just the arcade game with extra levels, they added more secrets, more items, minibosses and so on that made it a little more adventure-y.


Wow this is an amazing OP. Looking forward to more, Skullomania!

Learned a bit about this series from Retronauts, however not before I played the shit out of Bubble Bobble on the NES with my cousin growing up.

This makes me really want a Switch release (I'm sure that's been said about a million games by now...) but really, any kind of definitive collection on any system would be great! Never got to touch the arcade games.

Don't forget the classic Madhatter song about Bubble Bobble, "AFS"
Dude wtf this song is garbage; do not link this shit on the internet. Fuck.


Bubble Bobble actually spun off into its own unique puzzle game series entitled PUZZLE BOBBLE / BUST-A-MOVE. There are a whole iteration of those games out there, which we are going to have to save for another thread later in the year, because they have branched off into a completely unique series all of their very own...but I'm just making a note of them here, so people don't think I've forgotten about them :)

Bust-A-Move - I sank hundreds of hours into that on my 3DO. I had no idea it was a Johnny-come-lately spinoff game. :eek: I'd seen Bubble Bobble available on other consoles, and assumed it was just an alternate title; no mistaking those two dinosaurs on the cover.

Continue series history, please :D


Played the original and RI on the Amiga. Best games of the decade.

Didnt bother again till 1995 when I saw an arcade cab of Bubble Symphony. Couldnt believe how good it looked.As if I were watching a cartoon. Seeing an 8bit title converted to 32bit was shocking.

Other games like Snow Bros and Tumble Pop were more popular than Symphony though.

Played Bubble Memories much later on arcades but wasnt as impressed as with Symphony.

Got hooked to Puzzle Bobble in the late 90s. PB4 on arcades and DC was my favorite.

Bubble Bobble showed how mascot games could succeed long before the mascot era.

Yeah, I meant I'm not sure if the emulation's any good as I haven't played it. Hamster's work is far from flawless and they're not always able to fix all their issues.

MAME emulation now is more accurate as they managed to trigger the same items appearing like in the original


There is a competent version of Rainbow Islands for the pc engine super CD-Rom and that has an exclusive ending song! It's getting quite pricey nowadays too.

Love the original Bubble Bobble arcade game and remember buying it on commodore 64 and amiga but they lacked the graphics and gameplay fidelity of consoles.
It should be emphasized for those who haven't played that version: Final Bubble Bobble for SMS isn't just the arcade game with extra levels, they added more secrets, more items, minibosses and so on that made it a little more adventure-y.

Aha, you are right - I didn't realise how much extra stuff they put in there, but I just took a quick look at Let's Play, and there's a lot of additional minibosses and the like ;)


I have good memories of trying to 1CC this game (the arcade original of course) in 2p mode with my GF but we could never get beyond stage 40 or so. We knew about hidden doors to look out for and tried to distribute the power ups and extend letters well between us, going for big combos where possible.

But man, the game is daunting.


Wonderful thread, OP. I played Bubble Bobble a lot throughout the years. I'm not sure if I ever beat one, but I always had fun trying.


Amiga player here. Loved the BB/RI/PS series.

Play BB from time to time, but need to get me a good version of RI and PS to play. Haven't touched them in decades.
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