Every now and again, a video game comes along that’s such a big hit that it creates its own, oftentimes oddly specific, genre. Super Mario Bros. begat a plethora of titles where characters run from left to right and jump on platforms. Street Fighter created a wave of games in which martial artists always settle their battles in best two out of three fashion, even if many of them are supposedly fighting to the death. And from Tetris, the category of “arranging things as they fall from the sky” was born.
Most of the puzzle games attempting to cash in on Tetris’ success, such as Columns, Dr. Mario, and Baku Baku Animal, didn’t make anywhere near as much of a splash. The lone exception is Puyo Puyo, originally from developer Compile. Puyo Puyo has been going strong for over 20 years, and its current caretaker, Sega, has plans to kick things up another notch, according to some cryptic messages from the franchise’s official Twitter account.
In Puyo Puyo, colorful blobs called puyos fall in pairs from the top of the screen. Arranging four identically-colored puyos in a row causes them to disappear and reform in your opponent’s playfield, and whoever’s field fills with puyos first, loses.
The key to victory is arranging for multiple rows of puyos to disappear in chain reactions. Since its debut in 1991, Puyo Puyo has been consistently popular, owing to its fast-paced, competitive gameplay, plus its cast of charismatic characters including earnest heroine Arle and Japanese tea enthusiast (and skeleton) Skeleton T.
▼ How does he wink without eyelids?
▼ The complete cast
At one point, the series had such a large following that there were multiple stores selling nothing but Puyo Puyo merchandise in Hiroshima Prefecture. As time went on though, the video game industry became too capital-intensive for a small software house like Compile. The company was dissolved in 2003, with the rights to Puyo Puyo going to Sega, which had previously published a version of the game with redrawn graphics for its Genesis console in North America under the title Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine.
Sega has taken good care of its ward, maintaining Puyo Puyo’s fan base while paying proper respect on both its 15th and 20th anniversaries.
And it looks like bigger things are in store for the puzzle franchise in the months to come. On September 9, a series of mysterious tweets was sent out from the official Puyo Puyo account, beginning at 12:44 with:
“We’ve got a shocking announcement this week! They won’t let me say too much right now, though.”
This was followed minutes later with a reference to Famitsu, Japan’s premiere video gaming magazine:
“Tokyo being chosen as the host city for the 2020 Olympics was big news, but we’ve got something just as big! Check out this week’s Famitsu!”
More specific details started coming at 5:06 p.m.
“On September 12, we’ll be making an announcement about Puyo Puyo. You can see it in the new issue of Famitsu, and also on the Puyo Puyo Portal Site. This is something we’ve been dreaming about since our student days.”
It’s that last line that has people thinking that whatever the announcement is, it must be something bigger than just a spruced up, 22nd anniversary edition of Puyo Puyo. Has Sega become jealous of Capcom’s Hollywood success with its series of Resident Evil films? Apparently not, according to yet another message from the Puyo Puyo Twitter account.
“Don’t worry, there’re no plans for a live-action Puyo Puyo. We’ve got something even more amazing coming up.”
A subsequent tweet quashed speculation about the possibility of a Puyo Puyo anime series, which would have been a natural progression for a popular video game franchise. Yet another ruled out a musical, thus denying fans the chance to see multiple puyos rolling around on the stage making their distinctive squishy sound as they fuse together.
So just what is the announcement? While the news won’t be officially released until tomorrow, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the recently leaked rumor of a sweet Puyo Puyo/Tetris crossover title, coming in 2014 for Sony’s PS Vita and Playstation 4, as well as Nintendo’s 3DS and Wii U, turn out to be true.
Source: Hachima Kikou
Related: Puyo Puyo Portal Site , Puyo Puyo Twitter Account
Top image: PRCM
Insert images: VC Sega , Puyo Nexus , Nico Video