Why I am genuinely rooting for the Bubsy reboot


Remember, he’s a trained purr-fessional

In what seems like the most bizarre announcement in recent memory, Bubsy is back. This idea was met with basically the entire Internet exclaiming “Really? who asked for this?” Our own Joel Peterson wrote many words explaining why the game better suck, or else!The announcement video even has over 500 thumbs down votes.

Well, I for one am fully behind this new Bubsy game. I’ll explain why, but be forewarned that it gets a little personal.

Before I begin, I want to just let everyone know that I am aware of how not-so-great the Bubsy games are, with Bubsy3Dbeing the worst offender. I am in no way saying that this bobcat deserved a reboot, or that the original games are worth revisiting — he probably didn’t and they definitely aren’t. I dorecommend the Arcane Kids’ Bubsy Visits the James Turell Retrospectiveas well as checking out Bubsy’s Twitter page, though.

That being said, Bubsy and his early adventures meana lot to me.

This story starts way back into my childhood. Until the fifth grade, I lived in what was considered a more “high class” trailer park. Don’t picture the kind of trailer park that Shawn Hunter lived in on “Boy Meets World.” Our house was nicer than that, and it wasn’t on wheels. That being said, there were many houses in the neighborhood and each one was only one floor; new houses could be built in very little time. Anyway, I was lucky enough to grow up with a small, solid group of friends from the neighborhood. Lots of playing outside and then ducking in for videogames during our free time.

My best friend at the time, let’s call him Alan, was a few years older than me. I didn’t realize it completely when I was younger, but Alan also had an intellectual disability. Again, I was quite young, but at some point, my mother did give me talk about how Alan was different and that he may be older, but might not act like it. Didn’t matter to me, Alan was cool and we had the same interests in just about everything.

The Sega Genesis was our go-to form of entertainment. We would play anything we could get our hands on, but our absolute favorite games were Shining Force IIand Bubsy 2. We would name characters in Shining Forceafter ourselves, our friends and our family and cheer at the screen for them to land critical hits or dodge at opportune moments. I can even remember calling my older brother and asking him if he knew “how” to land critical hits (I was convinced there was a way). To this day, Shining Force IIis one of my favorite games of all time because of the memories associated with it. Oh and the fact that it’s still an amazingstrategy game.

And then there’s Bubsy. Man, I can vividly remember Alan repeating just about all of Bubsy’s many catchphrases. “That’s it!,” “Is there a doctor in the house?!,” “I win! I win!,”and of course “Bubsy Bubsy Bubsy Bubsy bobcaaaaaat!”After every death, we’d wait in anticipation to hear which line he’d spout, then one or both of us would repeat it while laughing. Alan was quite good at imitating the Bubsy voice, if I recall correctly.

As I was young and stupid, I didn’t even realize how mediocre-at-best the Bubsygames were. We played them, the sequel in particular, to death. Eventually, the N64 came out and our Genesis playing started to die down in favor of games like Clayfighter 63 1/3(a joke that went right over my head), and Duke Nukem 64. We would still randomly recite Bubsy lines when playing around, and would occasionallyboot up the Genesis to revisit those strange worlds.

But I wish I could say that all of our experiences were that happy-go-lucky. You know how you still hang on to those awful memories from your childhood, decades later? Well for me, a handful revolve around Alan. There was the one time when the “older kids” dared Alan to get close to and smell some dog poop, and then smooshed his face into it as he got closer, me just standing to the side doing nothing. All of the talk in schools today about being an “upstander instead of a bystander” always remind me of this day — just typing this out makes me feel awful. Why the hell didn’t I do something? Alan’s grossed-out reaction is burned into my brain to this very day.

Or there was the time I traded Alan some dinky Pokemon card for his holographic Poliwrath card. Okay that’s not nearly as bad as the previous event, but I knewwhat I was doing and still makes my heart sink when I think about it. There are a couple other less severe instances of this that continue to rattle around in my brain from time to time, just to make sure I feel extra negative about my self.

Perhaps it was fate then, that I now teach special education classes. It was never my goal — I graduated with a History/Education degree with nary a thought of Special Education. After seeing the poor job market (for history teachers especially), I decided to go an alternate route and work towards a Students with Disabilities degree. I’ve been teaching these classes for over four years now, and it has significantly changed my life.

I see students every day that remind me of Alan, and it’s my luxury to make 43 minutes of their day the best that I possibly can. It can certainly be stressful, especially for those students who struggle the most, but the reward at the end is easily worth all of the long nights and reworded primary sources. I wish I could say that all my students got along as well as Alan and I did but, at the very least, I have the opportunity to teach them to respect each others’ differences and the social skills to adapt.

Alan recently re-connected with me on Facebook; I haven’t seen or spoken to him since my family moved away almost 20 years ago. We chatted over Messenger and it turns out that he’s also working in a school as a custodian while working towards a veterinary assistant degree. It felt great to chat with him again and see all of his photos, even if those previous negative memories came rushing back all at once alongside the (much more numerous) positive ones.

And, somehow, among those positive memories is Bubsy the goddamn bobcat. While most people look at that exclamation point t-shirt and throw up a tiny bit in their mouths, I get a rush of nostalgia that reminds me of all the great times I shared with Alan. If it was fate that put me on the path towards teaching students just like my old best friend, then it was the same fate that announced a Bubsy remake the same year we re-connect on Facebook.

I’m not delusional enough to hope that the new Bubsygame blows other platformers out of the water. Based on the pedigree of the developers and the source material they’re working with, I expect a perfectly mediocre game. All they really need to focus on is making Bubsy the same character he was all those years ago. Give me quotable lines, puns, and sound effects that are so bad, they’re great. Give me a world that makes little thematic sense and only serves to make things weirder and fuel new Bubsy one-liners.

I don’t want the new Bubsygame to be good for me; I’m going to play through it regardless. In fact, I’m very disappointed that the Purrfect Edition is only available for PS4 since I don’t own one but I want all those goodies! I want this to be the kind of game that can create new memories for other young best friends out there to look back on in 20 years. At the very least, Alan and I are anxiously awaiting October 31, 2017. Maybe we’ll get together for old times’ sake.