Madballs Return!

Posted by Ryan (1263 posts) -
Even though we've long since reached the point where pop-culture recycling--both in specific cases and in broader trends--has become the norm, there are still rare occasions where some piece of fleeting, completely disposable pop-culture ephemera gets dragged back up that leaves me completely baffled. Take, for example, today's announcement from independent developer Playbrains that it's releasing an Xbox Live Arcade game this summer based on Madballs. That's right. Madballs.

If you're too young to remember, or your atrophied old brain refuses to cough up any recollection, Madballs were balls... that were mad. They were basically a cross between Garbage Pail Kids and Nerf, and they were popular for an intense 45 seconds in the mid-80s. Just as bizarre as this forced Madballs revival is the nature of the game itself, which is being touted as an "arena based 3D shooter" and looks more than a little bit like the kind of dual-joystick shooter of which there is no shortage on XBLA. Playbrains promises 16-player multiplayer, 4-player coop, level customization, and avatar support, though I can't get over the fact that you'll play as a Madball with a freaking gun bolted on the side.

If this is the kind of deep-diving that we're now doing for cheap, vaguely recognizable intellectual properties to slap onto games, what's next? A Wacky WallWalker color-matching puzzle game? A Weeble kart racer? A Shrinky Dinks first-person shooter? I'm going to stop now, as I fear I might be giving the wrong people bad ideas. Check out some screenshots and the full press release below for additional details on the awkwardly titled Madballs in Babo: Invasion.
OTTAWA, CANADA- May 28, 2009 Playbrains, an independent game development studio specializing in the digital download arena, are proud to announce that their debut console title, Madballs in Babo Invasion, will be releasing on Xbox LIVE(R) Arcade in Summer of 2009.

A gameplay rich, feature laden 'casually hardcore' action shooter, Madballs in Babo: Invasion (MiBI) is that rarest of gaming commodities; a genuinely unique title. Featuring the recently re-released Madballs (tm) characters, Oculus Orbus(tm) and Horn Head(tm), from the popular 1980's toys best remembered for their outrageously bad looks and graphically colorful names. MiBI is an arena based 3D shooter where players are able to design their own combat maps almost instantaneously by placing a combination of map tiles to create a never before seen map before gameplay starts. Truly, no two games are ever the same. And with up to 16 player Multiplayer support, MiBI will boast the highest number of players over Xbox LIVE Arcade upon its release.

Offering players a satisfying and immersive experience in both single-player and multiplayer, Madballs in Babo:Invasion has a plethora of features and game modes such as 4 player online co-op along with, never-before-seen in an Xbox LIVE Arcade title, being able to incorporate your Xbox LIVE Avatar into multiplayer combat via the 'Avatar Attack' mode. Yes, Xbox LIVE Arcade combat just got personal.

Much more on this groundbreaking game will be revealed in greater depth leading up to its release in the Summer of 2009, including additional information on the following features; 

·Single Player - Hours of repeatable gameplay through 10 epic levels 

·2-4 Player Online Co-op - challenge individual campaign levels with your friends or play the whole campaign in 'Enduro' mode 

·16 Player Multiplayer - 21 maps to match all game sizes 

·'Invasion' Mode - the signature mode of the game, players take turns placing map tiles to create a unique multiplayer map prior to each match 

·'Avatar Attack' - Multiplayer combat with your Xbox LIVE Avatar 

·Classes - 10 character classes (each with 2 special abilities) over two warring factions, with each faction having 5 unique weapons each with two distinct firing modes 

·Madballs Characters - Oculus Orbus(tm) and Horn Head(tm) from the infamous 80's toy craze as in-game characters 

·5 Archetypes - Assault, Heavy, Runner, Flyer, Support 

·Deployables - active (rocket turrets) or passive (healing towers) can be placed in Invasion mode 

·Unlocks and Secrets - 50 unlocks and 50 Secrets to find during campaign gameplay 

·Action - emphasis on fast-paced, visceral action that is easy to pick and play, yet offers a real strategic challenge for hardcore gamers
#1 Posted by Ryan (1263 posts) -
Even though we've long since reached the point where pop-culture recycling--both in specific cases and in broader trends--has become the norm, there are still rare occasions where some piece of fleeting, completely disposable pop-culture ephemera gets dragged back up that leaves me completely baffled. Take, for example, today's announcement from independent developer Playbrains that it's releasing an Xbox Live Arcade game this summer based on Madballs. That's right. Madballs.

If you're too young to remember, or your atrophied old brain refuses to cough up any recollection, Madballs were balls... that were mad. They were basically a cross between Garbage Pail Kids and Nerf, and they were popular for an intense 45 seconds in the mid-80s. Just as bizarre as this forced Madballs revival is the nature of the game itself, which is being touted as an "arena based 3D shooter" and looks more than a little bit like the kind of dual-joystick shooter of which there is no shortage on XBLA. Playbrains promises 16-player multiplayer, 4-player coop, level customization, and avatar support, though I can't get over the fact that you'll play as a Madball with a freaking gun bolted on the side.

If this is the kind of deep-diving that we're now doing for cheap, vaguely recognizable intellectual properties to slap onto games, what's next? A Wacky WallWalker color-matching puzzle game? A Weeble kart racer? A Shrinky Dinks first-person shooter? I'm going to stop now, as I fear I might be giving the wrong people bad ideas. Check out some screenshots and the full press release below for additional details on the awkwardly titled Madballs in Babo: Invasion.
OTTAWA, CANADA- May 28, 2009 Playbrains, an independent game development studio specializing in the digital download arena, are proud to announce that their debut console title, Madballs in Babo Invasion, will be releasing on Xbox LIVE(R) Arcade in Summer of 2009.

A gameplay rich, feature laden 'casually hardcore' action shooter, Madballs in Babo: Invasion (MiBI) is that rarest of gaming commodities; a genuinely unique title. Featuring the recently re-released Madballs (tm) characters, Oculus Orbus(tm) and Horn Head(tm), from the popular 1980's toys best remembered for their outrageously bad looks and graphically colorful names. MiBI is an arena based 3D shooter where players are able to design their own combat maps almost instantaneously by placing a combination of map tiles to create a never before seen map before gameplay starts. Truly, no two games are ever the same. And with up to 16 player Multiplayer support, MiBI will boast the highest number of players over Xbox LIVE Arcade upon its release.

Offering players a satisfying and immersive experience in both single-player and multiplayer, Madballs in Babo:Invasion has a plethora of features and game modes such as 4 player online co-op along with, never-before-seen in an Xbox LIVE Arcade title, being able to incorporate your Xbox LIVE Avatar into multiplayer combat via the 'Avatar Attack' mode. Yes, Xbox LIVE Arcade combat just got personal.

Much more on this groundbreaking game will be revealed in greater depth leading up to its release in the Summer of 2009, including additional information on the following features; 

·Single Player - Hours of repeatable gameplay through 10 epic levels 

·2-4 Player Online Co-op - challenge individual campaign levels with your friends or play the whole campaign in 'Enduro' mode 

·16 Player Multiplayer - 21 maps to match all game sizes 

·'Invasion' Mode - the signature mode of the game, players take turns placing map tiles to create a unique multiplayer map prior to each match 

·'Avatar Attack' - Multiplayer combat with your Xbox LIVE Avatar 

·Classes - 10 character classes (each with 2 special abilities) over two warring factions, with each faction having 5 unique weapons each with two distinct firing modes 

·Madballs Characters - Oculus Orbus(tm) and Horn Head(tm) from the infamous 80's toy craze as in-game characters 

·5 Archetypes - Assault, Heavy, Runner, Flyer, Support 

·Deployables - active (rocket turrets) or passive (healing towers) can be placed in Invasion mode 

·Unlocks and Secrets - 50 unlocks and 50 Secrets to find during campaign gameplay 

·Action - emphasis on fast-paced, visceral action that is easy to pick and play, yet offers a real strategic challenge for hardcore gamers
#2 Posted by galerian (56 posts) -

Never heard of it before.  Graphics is ok though

#3 Edited by TheKidNixon (1564 posts) -

You hear that sound? That's the bottom of the barrel. Its being scraped.

#4 Posted by ThePelinal (101 posts) -
"A gameplay rich, feature laden 'casually hardcore' action shooter, Madballs in Babo: Invasion (MiBI) is that rarest of gaming commodities; a genuinely unique title."

That entire sentence makes me sad.  Also, I remember Madballs!
#5 Posted by Double0hFor (410 posts) -

yay Canadian content! :D

#6 Posted by stephengotlost (703 posts) -

This game looks like balls.

Hur, hur.

#7 Posted by Coltonio7 (3156 posts) -

There are characters?

My favourite is Reddy.

#8 Posted by DawnShinto (104 posts) -

Hope this game have ball-busting action....eh.

#9 Posted by buzz_clik (7024 posts) -

Uh... I think I've still got two Madballs stashed at my parents house. I had Oculus Orbus and Slobulus. Oh, and a Dust Brain head-popping figurine.

Dear lord, was I that into them?

Moderator
#10 Posted by rargy (437 posts) -

I think i have a Madballs comic book somewhere..

#11 Posted by deaux (233 posts) -

"Yes, Xbox LIVE Arcade combat just got personal"  Yes indeed!
Thank you, Ryan, for posting the entire press release.  Frightening.
The game's existence is awful, but the design approach actually seems sound, if uninventive.

#12 Posted by Oy (280 posts) -

I used to have a few MadBalls.  Definitely the baseball guy.  Not sure who else I had.  I might buy this, sadly.

#13 Posted by artofwar420 (6309 posts) -

LOOKS cool, but we'll see.

#14 Posted by Baggykins (846 posts) -

seems.... weird..

#15 Posted by Joshua (26 posts) -

These guy's are ruining out childhood love of funny looking balls.  =(

#16 Posted by Getz (3154 posts) -
#17 Posted by Jtan21 (147 posts) -

They should call it Madballs: Balls Invasion. And maybe have a sequel: Madballs 2: More Ballsy.

#18 Posted by Dimsey (964 posts) -

HELL YEAH, Madballs! I use to love the Madballs. I think I've still got a couple of episodes on tape somewhere along with My Pet Monster. YAY NOSTALGIA.

#19 Edited by deaux (233 posts) -

They should re-draw and re-release the Madballs game for the C64, because apparently there was one.

#20 Posted by DrForrester57 (11 posts) -

Wow.  I can't believe that I forgot Madballs existed until just now.

#21 Posted by Death_Unicorn (2838 posts) -

Let's play with some balls!

#22 Posted by dantebk (218 posts) -

I remember every single toy Ryan's referencing EXCEPT Madballs.  What the hell are these things? 

I actually got this press release in my Inbox earlier and completely disregarded it because, y'know, it was called Madballs.  Here's a protip:  Don't put anything *balls in your subject if you want people to read your e-mail.

Seriously, what the f**k?  Were these from the makers of Mudgum?

#23 Posted by dantebk (218 posts) -

Never mind.  Just looked up Madballs on Wikipedia.  I totally remember these now.  Goddamnit.

I'm pretty sure I blocked these things out for a reason.  Thanks for nothing Playbrains. 

#24 Edited by dQuarters (178 posts) -
... Army Antz! I'd buy that for a dollar.

Remember the Marvel Comics' take on Madballs? ... I don't :(
#25 Posted by vhold (446 posts) -

Madballs are the earliest full-spectrum attempt at manufactured popularity I personally remember being inflicted upon me.  Simultaneous release of toys, cartoon, stickers, coloring books, etc.  They  seemed popular, but I don't remember anybody actually really liking them that much.

#26 Posted by Lilja (128 posts) -

First Babo game had no Madballs. That gamewas pure ownage. A really fun LAN game.
This looks like it will be awesome too.

#27 Posted by simian (868 posts) -

I'm personally holding out or a 3rd person squad based tactical FPS based on Battle Beasts.

#28 Posted by Kohe321 (3533 posts) -

So you're saying these are balls that are mad?

#29 Posted by DolemiteWarrior (1 posts) -

What's next ? Boglins?

#30 Posted by HDCase (36 posts) -

"Hours of repeatable gameplay"

You can play the game again, but why would you want to?

#31 Posted by Noxat (14 posts) -

Oh HELL yeah!  Woo Oculus Orbus is one of the in-game characters, that was my favorite!

#32 Edited by the_tim (10 posts) -

I was looking at the screenshots and thinking "this looks awfully similar to BaboViolent" (an excellent game, btw).  Then I read some more of the text and noticed that "Babo" is in this game's name...  So it looks like maybe this is just some strange branding being put on the next-gen edition of BaboViolent, a game that has been around for quite some time.

#33 Posted by Dnky666 (35 posts) -

Invasion? Have Madballs not caught the vibe. We're done with invading places. Still North Korea better watch themselves or face the wrath of a US/UK backed platoon of.......Garbage Pail Kids!!!!!

#34 Posted by Media_Master (3283 posts) -

I don't want to understand it

#35 Posted by Notuom (1 posts) -

As some people here noticed, this game is pretty much the sequel to BaboViolent 2, which is a free and awesome game which I played quite a bit. Won't go too in-depth about it  but basically, "Madballs in: Babo: Invasion" started out as "Babo: Invasion" and later on the Madballs (2 out of 12 characters, btw) were added. And the story, though it's simple, has nothing to do with Madballs. The Madballs are merely in the game, but the game is not about them. So no need to make a big fuss out of it and say they're recycling pop-culture into a game.

You should all check out the official site ( http://www.playbrains.com/babo/ ), look at all the features and see some gameplay footage. I, myself, can't wait for this game's release (on Steam, I don't have a 360). It looks like it's gonna be pure fast-paced online multiplayer fun. It's simple yet it has many gameplay aspects that are ingenious and that add to the fun. And come on, how could playing as balls with guns who's goal is to make other balls with guns explode not be fun?

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