Best Game of the Year

I am not the world’s greatest gamer. I think it’s fair you know that from the start. There was a large chunk of my life where I couldn’t even play games where you move a person around because it gave me motion sickness. As graphics have improved, I’ve moved closer to being in the loop but I’m still only a has-a-Switch-and-that-will-do sort of person. I have been to Breath of the Wild land and climbed up mountains to find korok seeds. I like Animal Crossing and I will get blue roses on my island eventually. I very much enjoy the odd mix of inviting people to tea ceremonies and watching your friends getting slaughtered my wizards that Fire Emblem: Three Houses offers. I find some sort of mindfulness playing as a third division German football team on FIFA.

But despite all that modern gaming technology can offer, it was a trip into the past that gave me the most joy this year. The 1994 Taito classic, Puzzle Bobble is available on the Switch for a couple of pounds and may be the best value-for-money purchase you can make on the system.

For those of you who don’t remember it, Puzzle Bobble is the oft-ripped off you-shoot-a-bubble-at-other-bubbles-and-if-you-put-three-together-they-burst game. It is not a complicated experience. You aim and shoot. But its ease hides complexities. Some levels are easy to complete but difficult to complete with a high score. Because, if you can pile a load of bubbles in the right place and then burst the bubbles they are stuck too you can score a lot of points.

Did I become obsessed with Puzzle Bobble? Did I spend a month or so trying to perfect the art of bursting coloured bubbles? My high score of 21,600,320, which is currently 10th on the online rankings implies that yes, I probably did. I regret nothing.

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