bob’s game is an interesting tale. The newest information is the death of the nD, but read on to learn more about the game.
[Last updated on 1/20/2016.]
Current status and summary (kept updated with this article)
“bob’s game” (with quotes) is an RPG. Within “bob’s game” is a puzzle game called bob’s game (without quotes). In the RPG, the puzzle game is created by a person called bob. The real person, the creator of these games in real life, is Robert Pelloni.
Currently, Robert is still struggling financially and hasn’t found investors for the game. He has listed both “bob’s game” (the RPG) and bob’s game (the stand-alone puzzle game) on Steam Greenlight.
See below for the history of “bob’s game.”
Act I: Creation
Bob created an RPG with an old school feel aptly called “Bob’s Game.” He created it 100% by himself and hoped to get it released on the Nintendo DS. He seemed to prefer Nintendo over other alternatives. At this point, everything seemed fairly normal, and some people were beginning to show interest in his game.
Act II: Protest
In an attempt to get an SDK for the Nintendo DS, Bob contacted Nintendo but was passed back and forth. He felt like he was being ignored by Nintendo and proceeded with a protest in December of 2008; Bob locked himself in his basement with the intent to stay there for 100 days. He had no contact with the outside world besides his phone and a live webcam. Eventually he began to get hostile towards Nintendo. He started posting contact information of Nintendo executives and making wild claims. He claimed he was better than many game developers combined by far and even listed them, including Nintendo’s own Shigeru Miyamoto. That seems like burning a bridge to me, but at this point, no one knew what Bob was thinking. He also claimed to be working with a DS flash cartridge producer with the intent of bundling Bob’s Game on the flash cart as a way of pressuring Nintendo.
Act III: Breaking point
Eventually, in January of 2009 after 30 days, he snapped before even making it through half of his 100 day protest, trashed his room, and left. Later he went to the Nintendo World Store in New York City, made a scene, and threw his business cards everywhere. He then either rewrote the game or more likely revealed that what we’ve seen of Bob and his creation of Bob’s Game represents the Bob and Bob’s Game inside of the real game, Bob’s Game. He differentiates by saying that he, Robert Pelloni, created Bob’s Game, a game about the evil Gantendo; the final boss, Bob; his game, Bob’s Game; and an antagonist, Yuu. Confusing.
Act IV: Revealing the truth
Soon after Pelloni received a formal rejection from Nintendo, he admitted in March of 2009 that his actions had all been viral marketing. Everything had been staged, and he even released a video showing how the video of him causing havoc at the Nintendo World Store were really filmed in his house.
Act V: The demo
This is the turning-point in the saga of Bob’s Game. Pelloni released a demo in the form of an .NDS file in March of 2009. To play it, gamers had to use either a homebrew flash card for DS or a DS emulator. The game featured a world that looked like classic RPGs but set in suburbia. In many ways, it was visually similar to Earthbound. As a game about games, Bob’s Game would, apparently, allow you to obtain different consoles and games in the game to explore the history of gaming. In the demo, you get to control Yuu and play Tetrid on the Gantendo GameToy. Tetrid is a lot like Tetris except rather than using tetrominoes (shapes consisting of four connected blocks), it uses shapes of three blocks. These don’t stack as neatly, making Tetrid much harder than Tetris. To beat it, you might have to take advantage of some exploits. Of course, I’m not talking about exploiting Bob’s Game; I mean you have to exploit Tetrid. It’s an interesting idea. The important thing to take away is that Bob’s Game had actual content and was surprisingly fun!
Act VI: The nD
Things took a weird turn again next. Pelloni revealed in March of 2011, two years after releasing the original Bob’s Game demo, that Bob’s Game would be a core title for a new project on which he was collaborating with others – the nD. The nD was an extremely low cost handheld console designed to play indie games. It looked like an SNES controller with a screen and was targeting mainly 2D games. The idea was that the console was cheap enough that developers could make a game for it and then give away the console with their games. Alternatively, people could get free nDs with various other purchases (movie tickets, for example). So what happened to the nD?
Act VII: Back at work?
As of this new year, 2013, the official nD site, http://www.the-nd.com, is redirecting to the official site of Bob’s Game, http://www.bobsgame.com. There’s no longer any mention of the nD on bobsgame.com either. I guess it failed and he doesn’t want anyone to notice.
There’s now what appears to be a webcam feed of his room again. Of course, we can’t really trust it anymore, can we? I’m not very optimistic that Bob’s Game will ever get a real release (or that it was ever really finished). However, the demo existed, and was actually fun. That’s something!
Act VIII: bob’s game -online- nDworld
On May 8, 2013, bobsgame.com has been updated with a Java game. Players first control Bob in his iconic room and later control Yuu, playing minigames on an nD in Bob’s interdimensional tournament. [Edit, 12/8/13: The minigame is a puzzle game involving falling blocks that shifts rulesets as your progress.] At the end of the demo, Bob teases “bob’s game -online- nDworld.” Then players are asked for their e-mail address to register for updates and are asked to purchase a “BobPass” to help with development. More information on this new phase is available on post, “A new phase of Bob’s Game.” I believe we can call “bob’s game” performance art as much as we can a video game at this point. In fact, notice that he always puts “bob’s game” in quotes? He might be telling us something.
Act IX: The bob’s game (from inside bob’s game) for OUYA and PC Kickstarter
On November 25, 2013, a little over six months since the “bob’s game -online- nDworld” Java demo, bobsgame.com began redirecting to a Kickstarter project. He hopes to raise $6,667 to release the puzzle game with the changing rules from his previous online demo. He’s referring to this puzzle game as the bob’s game (from inside “bob’s game”). I pledged to it. For more information on this phase, check my post, bob’s game from bob’s game for OUYA Kickstarter.
Update from 12/16/13: Unfortunately, the Kickstarter was unsuccessful. Pelloni did, however, answer my questions in a reddit AMA. See the questions and answers here.
Update from 2/5/14: The bob’s game minigame (from inside bob’s game) was released on OUYA. In addition, Robert posted a FAQ on his site that explained some history behind the development, but he’s removed it and asked that it not be shared. More information can be found here.
Act X: The full “bob’s game” Kickstarter
Robert Pelloni just started raising funds on Kickstarter for the full version of bob’s game. It seems like we could be very close to an actual release! He once again has quite a bit of information about his and the game’s history available at bobsgame.com.
You can read more about all this on my post, The full bob’s game now on Kickstarter.
Update from 5/23/14: The Kickstarter succeeded yesterday!
Update from 5/23/15: It’s been one year since the Kickstarter completed. He went missing, it seemed he was working, he had given up and was going to reimburse backers, the game was back on track, and now it’s been just shy of three months from an update. Read more about it in my new post, b0b’s game Kickstarted: one year later.
Update from 1/20/16: Twenty months after the Kickstarter completed, Robert has made a second update to the Kickstarter – and the first since the Kickstarter completed. He’s had financial troubles and hasn’t been able to find investors. “bob’s game” (the RPG) is now listed on Steam Greenlight here, and bob’s game (the puzzle game) is listed on Steam Greenlight here. You can read more about this is my latest post, “bob’s game” Kickstarter updates after twenty months.