Thursday, March 10, 2011

Smart Guy Gets The Girl: A Look Back At Lolo

1989 was an interesting year for video games. The Sega Genesis was introduced into American gaming lexicon, the second Mega Man game was getting good reviews, and a little guy named Lolo was proving that smart guys can get the girl in the end.

In Adventures of Lolo, you play as Lolo, a little round blue thing that must rescue Lala, which is a little round pink thing from King Egger, which is a dragon type thing. Like a Nintendo rep said when this game came out, "Lolo is designed to let a kid use their imagination". Now the whole "rescue the damsel in distress" has been done to death by this point in gaming history, but the folks at Hal America did it in an interesting way this time.

In Adventures of Lolo, you guide Lolo through 50 brain teasing puzzles before you can set Lala free. How do you know if you've solved a puzzle? Well, in each room are little white boxes with hearts inside called "heart framers" all Lolo has to do is outwit the enemies in each room and collect all of the heart framers in each room. This opens the door leading to the next room. Lolo has to remain alert, though, since most of the enemies he will face on his quest can instantly kill him. There are ways Lolo can screw up a puzzle irreparably, and when that happens, Players can simply press select and have Lolo kill himself. It may sound all kinds of messed up, but considering that Lolo has 5 lives and those lives reset at the start of every level, you get ample chance to call the occasional "mulligan".

Considering how different Adventures of Lolo was to everything else on the NES at the time, it was a bit of a shock that it became as popular as it was. How popular was it? So popular that two sequels were released on the NES as well as a Game Boy version. The first game in the trilogy was released on the Virtual Console service on June 8, 2007, and copies of all three NES games as well as the Game Boy game can be found on ebay.

It has always amazed me how creative some members of the video game development community can be. The Adventures of Lolo series is a prime example of that creativity in that it was the first time a game's hero has been able to be that while only using his intelligence to conquer his foes.

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