Throwback: Noby Noby Boy

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Some of my favorite gaming memories come from pretty strange places, but none stranger than the world of Noby Noby Boy. This PlayStation 3 gem came from the wonderful mind of Keita Takahashi, best known for his work on Katamari Damaci. In Noby Noby Boy players control Boy, a four-legged creature who can stretch and consume the inhabitants of the game’s small, randomly generated worlds. Each world is based on a different planet, with new worlds unlocking as all of the players worldwide stretch. The idea here is that everyone is working together, albeit separately, to reach a common goal.

The goal is to circle the solar system, which players completed in nearly 6 years and 10 months after the games release in February 2009 (with the help of some score multipliers from the developers). While having a long term goal was a novel concept, playing the game wasn’t all that fun. Simply, there wasn’t much to do in Noby Noby Boy until, that is, you bring in some friends.

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My friends, people who play games but probably wouldn’t consider themselves to be “gamers”, fell in love with Noby Noby Boy’s completely absurd premise. We would try to tangle our Boys together, see who could have the bigger Boy and ultimately eat the smaller one. I was completely shocked to see them gravitate to such a strange game that I had bought on a whim. Perhaps it was the simple controls or the pastel color palette, or that it was a rare local multiplayer game. My friends grew fond of Boy and open ended gameplay, often asking to play the game when they were over without my prompting.

To this day, I’m still asked about that game. “What was it called, the one where you eat and poop things?” and “why did you buy that?” But, people often bring up the fond memories and laughter we all shared while playing Noby Noby Boy.

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Dan Berlin

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