the mascot is a disconnection from the real or natural, that creates a new solitary connection that simply relates back to itself (classic deterritorialization/reterritorialization for you sickos). there’s no cultural legacy of mario that doesn’t just relate back to mario and symbolic interpretations of nintendo. may mario relate to mario and the symbolic health to nintendo, and whatever. this is the desperation that hangs around every new mario game.

“the king is in his bedchamber. is he sick? we all wait with bated breath… unbelievable… ! IGN has given Mario Forever a perfect 10/10! the king yet lives! may his empire reign forever!”

so, every mascot is a failure. a failure to represent, to connect, to live. in the place of the straightforward identification, which has previously defined participatory storytelling, now there is a road sign. mascots point out, right out down the superhighway, leading right up to corporate headquarters. mascots draw attention to the success—or not—of the work at the expense of something emotive, something human. mascots are advertising, so the interpretive question they pose is as simple and condensed as possible. is this profitable? and you answer… maybe!

now here we have bubsy, a failure among failures. to fail at being a failure… that would imply a schoolyard double negative, you know, a success that comes from the heroic rejection of hegemony. that is definitely not the case. bubsy, the art object, not the guy, is the aesthetic personification of loser, the energy of an entrepreneur who is forced to teach because they couldn’t cut it, and hilariously they give their students the same bad advice. whatever, it’s gambling either way.

buby’s negation only twists and fucks with the process of reconnection. bubsy’s roadsign leads straight into the desert. we’re talking just deterritorialization, baby.

this is truly what’s funny about playing bubsy. it’s not a bad game. no seriously, you chucklefucks, it’s not a bad game, it’s just hard. I’m a demiurge for failures. I’m confident comparing bubsy to Superfrog, Rocky Rodent, and Zool, the rogue’s gallery of sonic-failures, and it’s the only one that makes you feel lost in a giant superstructure, it’s the only one that understands the juice behind Sonic the Hedgehog is disorientation.

designer michael berlyn claims to have played sonic 1 for 98 hours before making bubsy. I believe him, I don’t think that’s hype. bubsy is a studied intensification of that game. yes, you can’t pick up and play it. you gotta have patience with the game. take your time to explore the different routes. find the one that works for you. bubsy is not about “going fast” like a fucking generic downstream comic book videogame power fantasy, but merely having the ability. it’s one of your tools, use it or don’t. bubsy instead has a staccato-like rhythm to it, your jump feels like a triplet, always coming in controlled multiples, and there’s this percussive quality to it, as you improvise and stay in the air and figure out where this asshole is allowed to exist.

the difficulty cinches the pathetique of bubsy. he’s just not cool or heroic. I fuck with that. I’m plain sick of heroics. my favorite moment of the game is bubsy walking back on screen, after dying in a horrible, stupid way, because you can only die in horrible, stupid ways in platformers. his body looks like a corny cartoon accordion and he just quips, “what, and give up show business?”

bubsy comparing platforming to shit-shoveling briefly got me to misrecognize the game as playbor. I became aware of the electricity in my room, like one becomes aware of their breathing. it then became a little eerie to recognize bubsy’s complaints and desire to renegotiate the terms of his labor. one of bubsy’s only character traits is the fact that he’s proletarianized. he’s proletarianized and his creators and everyone just fucking hates him. what can possibly go wrong?

Reviewed on Aug 04, 2023


1 Comment


8 months ago

Baudrillard? Is that you?