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Monday, November 4, 2013

NES Replay: Stack-Up

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1985
byzantine - adj. - Overly complex or intricate.

inscrutable - adj. - Impossible to understand or interpret; impenetrable; mysterious.

I just wanted to make sure we're all on the same page before I start talking about the byzantine and inscrutable Stack-Up. Stack-Up was the second and final game that used R.O.B. as a peripheral, and it proves without a doubt that R.O.B. was unnecessary. After Stack-Up, I'm fairly certain that Nintendo had every remaining R.O.B. unit dragged out back and shot, just to be safe.

The point of Stack-Up is to get R.O.B. to stack three blocks in the right order. You control him by using the scientist from Gyromite, who's named Hector. Hector walks around on a 5x5 board. The rows and columns are labeled with "left", "right," "up," "down," and other commands that can be sent to R.O.B. Each space is a button that can either be turned off or on. Hector has to get all of the buttons in the row to light up by walking along the row or column. Once that's done, the corresponding move is sent to R.O.B.


Meanwhile, two little critters try and stop your progress. One of the enemies walks in a row, lighting up the blocks on its own and can therefore send unwanted commands to R.O.B. The other enemy walks at random. If you touch either of the enemies, you get zapped and the game pauses for a few seconds while you're returned to the side of the board. The game ends when one of the blocks is dropped.

At the same time, Rock and Diana ran off together for Hilton Head BUT Slate knows about it so he sends Sylvia to disrupt their plans but what Slate DOESN'T know is that Sylvia is plotting against Slate by using his connection to James against him. Will Rock and Diana find freedom? Will Slate find out about Sylvia's treachery? Or will Lisa and James close the business deal, freezing out Slate and leaving him destitute? Find out next time!

I get what Nintendo was trying to do, but Lord almighty, what a way to do it.

That was the problem with R.O.B. in the first place. While it was a cool idea to have a plastic robot included with your video game system, it wasn't enough. They needed games that could work with him, and the limited technology of the time along with poor game design principles combined to make R.O.B. a disaster.

Nowadays, R.O.B. has achieved video game sainthood. He's in games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl and is fondly remembered as a footnote in the history of the NES. It's worth remembering, though, that saints usually achieved sainthood by dying horribly to prove a point. In that sense, R.O.B. matches the description of a saint perfectly.

Final Rating: