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2/13: Burnin' Rubber!

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The Man in Blak

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VIDEO GAMES, SELECTED AT RANDOM

 

Bump 'n Jump

(NES - 1988)

 

Once the late 80's hit and coin-op developers started to realize that the Nintendo Entertainment System had finally re-established the video game console as a viable force in the home electronics market, dozens of arcade ports started to roll into the Nintendo catalogue. 1988 was a particularly fruitful year for console ports on the NES: Contra, Bubble Bobble, Double Dragon, Bionic Commando, Legendary Wings, Salamander (released in America as Life Force), Gunsmoke, Paperboy, Jackal, and Bump 'n Jump.

 

Poor, poor Bump 'n Jump. Some thugs have snatched your girlfriend and you have a jumping car. Er, jeep. Off we go into stage after stage of race car derring-do, bumping other cars off of the road and jumping over huge, inexplicable rivers and bridges. I would suspect that the inclusion of multiple streams and rivers was, perhaps, an allusion to the future dangers of global warming but, then again, they have bushes planted in the middle of the road that detonate your car upon impact. Arcade games make my head hurt sometimes.

 

That's not to say that Bump 'n Jump isn't fun. You certainly don't see many "racing platformers" out there in the annals of gaming history. But it just doesn't go anywhere or really grow as the game goes on - bump some cars around, jump when the big exclamation point comes up at the top of the screen, maybe pick up some gas cans, and then move on to the next stage. It's a quarter muncher in the very sense of the word and, on the NES, that doesn't amount for much value at all.

 

One side point, as it relates to the original arcade release in 1982. Bump 'n Jump was originally developed by Data East, but it was licensed for distribution to Bally/Midway, the historic Chicago-based coin-op manufacturer. Shortly thereafter, Midway would answer with their own variation of the theme one year later, trading out the cartoony art and "Jumpin' John" for a steering wheel control, guns, and the Peter Gunn theme in Spy Hunter, one of the most absurdly successful arcade games of all time.

 

Anyway, Bump 'n Jump - it's worth a novelty play but, ultimately, it pales in comparison to the other titles on the NES at the time.

 

**1/2

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