It's like Qix
, except it's....not.
Probably one of Namco's most obscure games, Libble Rabble was released in 1983, and was the game Toru Iwatani designed after Puck Man was finished. It's a pretty unique and fun game, and Iwatani's personal favorite, that never got released in the United States but still found minor success in Japan, although at the time it was overshadowed by both Mappy and the brilliant Phozon. It ended up playing a foundational part in Namco's current "everything old is new again" attitude with the bulk of its' back catalog.
Gameplay uses the "two joystick no button" setup that was popular in arcades at the time. One joystick controls Libble, a red arrow, and the other controls Rabble, a blue arrow. A line connects the both of them, and you use the line to draw boxes around your foes to corral them, which are cute little walking mushrooms and large furballs that in another time would have been Pokemon. But they aren't. They're villians. So you progress through levels (here they're referred to as seasons) by capturing all the furballs, the mushrooms are all for bonus points. The only other thing stopping you from your goal are the "cutters", blue overgrown tadpoles that go from one edge of the board to the other, and if they cross your path your line is cut and you have to start all over again. There's some other insanity about collecting fruit and treasure chests. But it's a mystery as far as to what they have to do with anything.
The game itself was originally only ported to the MSX and X68000, and in late 1993 was ported to the Super Famicom, complete with full dip switches and sound tests. It got a second wind due to its' budget price and Iwatani's personal approval in advertising. It inspired Namco to start production on two arcade reissue collections, which in turn inspired a 4 volume Game Boy Color collection, which then inspired the 8 volume Playstation collection that we all know and love, which will hopefully one day inspire a 15 DVD Playstation 2 collection of every damn Namco home and arcade game ever. One can only hope.
Pole Position II --- Gaplus