pop and chips

Some months back, I found out about a Japan-only game console that up until that point, I had never even heard of. I tend to pride myself, for lack of a better term, on knowing all about little-known systems. But it’s cool; I love to find out about new stuff.

The way I had found out about the system was how I find out about anything: mindlessly searching the internet for weeb shit. Thanks to the YouTube channel Retro Game BAR Gateau for all the good retro game videos, as well as videos of the guy’s sweet set-up. I have legitimately not had a drink in three years, but I would bend the rules of sobriety a little to kick back with something hard in a place like this:

Anyways. The system in question is the Epoch Super Cassette Vision. It only lasted a few years, and had around 30 games for it in total. In the short time I’ve known about the SCV, I have loved this little thing. Really, it only failed for the same reasons Sega’s SG-1000 did: the Nintendo Famicom was much more powerful on a tech level, and commanded a lot of market space. It wasn’t a failure because it sucked.

With all that said, I want to talk about one game in particular: Pop and Chips. Pop and Chips is the cutest game on the SCV by a mile. You could make the argument that the not as lewd as it sounds Milky Princess is cuter, but it also relies heavily on being fluent in Japanese, and I’m not yet.

Pop and Chips follows in line with a lot of other games in the “cute animal rescues smaller cute animals from nebulous bad guys” genre. It’s comparable to stuff like Flicky, Chack n’ Pop, or the also hilariously titled Nuts and Milk. You are what appears to be a sentient gacha capsule kicking boxes open to rescue the smaller gacha capsules that fly out of them. You have to deal with cool looking bean-guys in sunglasses and an even bigger bean with a crown that causes the screen to shake. There’s next to nothing about this game in the English-speaking world, so I have to make wild guesses as to what I’m seeing.

these guys look like minions, here

There’s also the ladders. If a ladder is hanging onto those rods, you can kick those left and right. Normally, you can use that to reach places (you know, like you would using a ladder). You can also violently murder enemies with them. Kick a ladder right into someone’s face, Joey Mercury style. Kick a ladder while an enemy is climbing it, and watch them fall face-first on the ground, because they are fucking dead now. Again, this fits perfectly into its genre of cute yet gruesome if you give it mild scrutiny. Kicking ladders, dropping solid blocks on people’s heads, do all sorts of sick murders in your quest to rescue baby gacha capsules. You can also hit them with a bug net, but that power-up lasts all of like two seconds, meaning that murder is truly the only way. That’s awesome.

Really, that’s all there is to Pop and Chips, but it still rules. Cute, simple, and fun as fuck. I mean, hey, it was 1985, and it was on a system with pretty restrictive hardware. “Basic” does not, or at least should not, mean “bad.” The type of simple game we don’t really get a whole lot of anymore. What a shame.

Besides, even if you get bored of attaining a new high score, there is a level editor included so you can make all the dumb shit you want. It’s kind of like Lode Runner that way. Lode Runner for people too stupid for Lode Runner, aka me.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like the newer games that come out today. But fuck me, dude, I really would like to see a return to this style. It’s been too long since the heyday of cartoon animals killing things in a cute way.

God Bless Pop and Chips, and God Bless the Super Cassette Vision.

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