Bugdom

Just like in Curse of the Azure Bonds, the best thing to do with slugs is step aside and let them pass.Bugdom, a 3D save-the-princess piece involving anthropomorphized insects, is a game I associate strongly with computer stores. Apparently it was included with certain models of iMac around the year 2000; as a result, it was frequently what I’d see on those candy-coated monitors in CompUSA as I passed by them on the way to the remaindered PC games. Eventually the game showed up among the remaindered PC games itself, although I don’t remember ever seeing it among the new PC games. Perhaps there was a stigma associated with being initially released on the Mac? Everyone knew that the PC was the computer system for games, after all, and that means that anything originating on a Mac must be, at best, a pseudo-game.

Or perhaps it was just the limited virtues of the game itself. There’s a clumsiness to the animation that reminds me of Rocko’s Quest, particularly when it comes to the protagonist’s attacks, which consist of kicking his stumpy little bug legs to greater than expected effect. I think it’s a better game on the whole than its surface goofiness suggests, but I do remember getting severely stuck about four levels in (out of 10) when I was trying it the first time. We’ll see if I fare any better today.

Aside from its ubiquity on iMacs, the one other major thing of note about it is the mouse controls. As long as you don’t mind never using some of the optional power-ups, you can play this game entirely from the mouse, a factor that probably helped its status as a demo piece: those iMac displays didn’t necessarily risk letting the customers touch a keyboard. But it doesn’t use one mouse button as the go-forward key, like Doom, or map cursor position to speed, like System Shock. Instead, mouse movement maps directly to avatar movement. If you want to use the mouse to move forward in a straight line, you’ll have to keep on picking up the mouse and moving it to the bottom of your mouse pad — or, if you’re using a trackball like me, repeatedly scrunch your fingers back. Now, before you’re too horrified, I should point out that there is a regular go-forward button on the keyboard, and playing the game at any length involves mostly using that. But strangely enough, I sometimes catch myself using just the mouse when I’m distracted. The rhythm of the move-scrunch-move-scrunch fits the relentless oom-pah of the background music on the first two levels, which in turn is suggestive of the busy trundling typical of beetles. Which is about all about the game that suggests insect locomotion, given that most of the bugs here walk on two legs.

3 Comments so far

  1. matt w on 30 Mar 2012

    Wow, Bugdom. I think it was one of two games installed on my iMac, and I played about one level. That’s a review. I think I just couldn’t deal with the controls or camera.

  2. mmg on 24 Oct 2012

    by the way, after i submitted that comment the page looked a little broken. maybe its missing some awaiting moderation data? Might want to check into it – nothing serious though

  3. mmg on 24 Oct 2012

    oops im sorry, delete the above comment. apparently it just didnt take the first time.

    but yea i was just saying this is the 3rd time this week this game has come up.. might be time to play it heh

Leave a reply