I first discovered The Glob not way back in 1982 when it was released, but rather in 2016 when I visited Funspot arcade in New Hampshire. I stepped up to this mysterious cabinet I had never even heard of before, let alone seen, plunked in a quarter and JIMINY F’ING CHRISTMAS ON TOAST WHAT IN THE SCREAMING HELLFIRE IS EVEN GOING ON WITH THIS GAME?!?!
It’s absolutely batshit. That’s the only way I can describe it, is utterly batshit cray-cray. And it instantly became one of my favorite classic games. EVER.
So you’re this blue blob, er, Glob, right? His name is Toby. Sure. You have to collect all the food on the screen. Got it. There are enemies to avoid — little gators, monkeys, pigs, rabbits. Doesn’t sound overly unusual, it’s pretty in-line with the games of the day, right? So, to traverse between levels on the screen, there are elevators. Okay. You have two action buttons: Call Elevator and Energize. The Call button makes a little extension come out of your head to push the round buttons on the screen, which brings the nearest elevator to your level, and the Energize button makes you jump up and stick to the ceiling. Um…so you’re a blob but you can push elevator buttons and…the animals are out to get you, so you stick to the ceiling and either let them pass under you, or drop on top of them and squish ’em…this is rapidly approaching weirdness.
The animation is super fluid as Toby hops left and right, and quivers as he pushes the buttons and sticks upside down to the ceiling. There’s an energy bar that is used up when you stick to the ceiling, but it doesn’t seem that actually running out is much of a hazard. Once you collect all the food (sometimes it’s fruit, sometimes it’s vegetables, sometimes it’s…ham), you clear the level and move on to the next one, which practically doubles in speed.
And this is my favorite thing about the game. It’s the fastest, most frantic thing I’ve ever played. The speed doesn’t increase gradually like, say, Pac-Man does, easing you into greater challenges with measured restraint. No, by level 5, there is not enough coffee in the world to keep up with this situation. Any game that you’ve ever termed a “twitch game” has got nothing on The Glob.
And it’s so much fun!
There’s just so much going on — between the weird themes, to the insane speed, to the weird sound effects, and background music that I can only describe as a teeny-tiny theme song — that it becomes an overwhelmingly crazy experience that you really kind of have to play for yourself…or, watch this video I made at Funspot!
The other thing that appeals to me is the mystery of this game. Online research brings up some interesting and convoluted history of a number of somehow interlinked companies such as Eagle, Glak, Magic Electronics (the company that made the Glob conversion kits — The Glob was primarily made as a conversion for Namco/Midway games like Galaxian and Pac-Man, but not as a dedicated cabinet), Epos Corporation (who developed the game), and Cardinal Amusements. There’s a good two-part history lesson on these companies here and here, but I’m having trouble digging up anything more on Epos themselves, or the personnel actually responsible for the design and execution of The Glob.
The promotional flyer seen above contains the blurb, “Best game at the Oct. show in Tokyo.” Who showed it there? Magic? Epos? Was Epos a Japanese company?
There were actually two follow-ups, Super Glob and Beastie Feastie (many sources online say they’re all the same game, but playing each of them reveals that they are definitely not). The sequels, however, play at a much slower pace, and therefore honestly don’t grab my attention nearly as much as the hyperactive original Glob.
The Glob is such an interesting and fun game, and it deserves more attention. As I mentioned, playing it for the first time in 2016, I became VERY enamored with it. For as many games as I experienced back in the early-to-mid-1980s — and there were plenty around back then — none of the arcades near me, or that I visited out of town, ever had The Glob. So never having seen it in person or read about it in gaming mags, learning about it by just walking up to it was kind of a shock, which made it all the more appealing to me! There’s nothing like being faced with a gaming experience you’ve never had before, and having it turn out to be a new favorite.
I really wish there had been a home conversion at some point — I’m kind of surprised that Coleco didn’t grab it back in the day, what with their licensing of somewhat obscure arcade games to port to Colecovision (I mean, games like Pepper II, Looping, and Slither weren’t exactly setting the arcade scene on fire back then, but Coleco bought ’em up and put ’em out on their console anyway). The Glob would have been a perfect fit! In fact, if any homebrewers are interested in taking a stab at a Colecovision or Atari 2600 port of The Glob, get ahold of me — I would be willing to get involved.
Find a machine or play it on MAME, but dude, seriously — play The Glob. I’m obsessed.