Driving games come in one of two forms, typically:
- The traditional (or, semi-traditional) racing game where you are either a professional competitive racer (a la Gran Turismo) or a street racer (a la Need for Speed), or…
- A battle-style racer in the vein of Mario Kart and/or Diddy Kong Racing
There isn’t a whole of variety despite how fun the games may be. You can add cops, blue shells, fancy add-ons and whatever else you please, but you’re still getting the same basic experience when it boils down to it.
But if we look back for a change, instead of forward, we’ll find a gem of a driving game that has long since been forgotten–a driving game so simple that its name tells you all you need to know–and that game is Bump N’ Jump.
I’ll be honest with you, folks, I don’t actually remember how I came to own Bump N’ Jump.
I was given my first NES when I was four-years-old, and all I know is that it came with a handful of games that, to this day, I’ll never forget. Games like Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, Blaster Master, the original Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade and Bump N’ Jump.
Odds are, as weird as it may be to realize this now, my parents probably bought it for themselves, seeing as this is one game my mother, of all people, remembers quite fondly.
See? Sometimes parents aren’t entirely clueless.
Bump N’ Jump was originally a Japanese arcade game called Burnin’ Rubber, created in 1982, and didn’t make it to the U.S. on the NES system until six years later in ’88.
Regardless, despite having been ported several times before its NES debut, the gameplay never changed. Some might call this a lack of innovation seeing as six years could have been plenty of time for new additions or a sequel–but I, on the other hand, recognize it for what it is, pure genius.
The reason Bump N’ Jump stood the test of time and travel so well is because it was so deceivingly simple that you couldn’t put it down–even when it made you want to cry.
Controls? Well, it’s a top-down racer, so you use the d-pad to move forward, backward, left and right, bumping enemy vehicles off the road, and when the screen prompts you with a giant exclamation mark you press “A” to jump. Bump and jump–and avoid going off road and crashing into enemy debris while collecting enough fuel so as not to run out, but that’s not part of the title.
Other than that, there isn’t much to review when it comes to Bump N’ Jump. No, it isn’t a particularly deep experience like a Zelda or a Final Fantasy, but it does what it does competently and it’s fun–what else really matters?
Why You Should Play It
Bump N’ Jump will forever be one of my favorite games because, as said before, it is insanely simple and, like most games of its era, ridiculously challenging.
The game sports bright colors, a fun mechanic, the silliness you expect from such a silly sounding game and a soundtrack that is pretty darn clever and creatively maximizes the chiptunes it has at its disposal.
Odds are if you manage to find a copy of this classic and sit down to play it for a few minutes, you’ll find yourself still swearing at that missed jump several hours later.