Taito - 1986
Machine: ZX Spectrum, Arcade, Apple II, and many others
Being the prequel to Rainbow Islands, this featured our heroes, Bub and Bob, who have both been turned into dragons that can spit out bubbles. I think you're supposed to rescue a couple of girls, but they become less and less important as the insanity of your quest begins to sink in. To progress through the hundred odd screens, each screen needs to be cleared of monsters. This is done by firing bubbles at the baddies, who are instantly captured within the spherical death traps. To finally dispatch the baddy, the bubble needs to be burst. I'm not even going to pretend that it's easy as it sounds. Luckily there are plenty of power-ups to collect, including water and fire modifications to sweep your foes aside. You can also collect different coloured letters to spell out 'EXTRA' which gives you a much needed extra life.
The game works best with two players, although it is not necessarily an harmonious experience. Once, my sister and I got ridiculously far, up to around level 80 or so... but it really is a very difficult game. One of the game's chief elements of genius is the way it turns both human players against each other: I remember my sister and I promising each other NOT TO BE GREEDY with regards to the power-ups and prizes on offer. It never worked, we always ended up destroying ourselves. It's quite easy to see why Bubble Bobble is one of the greatest money makers in arcades: it demands to be played and its difficulty is such that every time you play, you will get just that bit further... To top it all off, there's even a bizarre sub-culture surrounding the little guys: you can even get Bubble Bobble skins for The Sims! As with many Taito games, the music is great. The Bubble Bobble music will haunt you forever more.
Bubbaray 04 Oct '02
Bubble Trouble - A detailed article about the game.
Wikipedia's Bubble Bobble page - Lots of great information.