Lost In Translation/Bubble Bobble

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This page is a stub for arcade games that are part of the Lost In Translation series using information based on MAME (version 0.113u2).
For an example of preferred content and layout please refer to Out Run or The Ninja Warriors.

Bubble Bobble
Bubble Bobble marquee.
Bubble Bobble title screen.
Bubble Bobble control panel.
Manufacturer Taito Corporation
Released 1986
2-way Joystick
2 Button(s)
Main CPU (2x) Z80 (@ 6.000 MHz)
Z80 (@ 3.000 MHz)
M6801 (@ 1.000 MHz)
Sound CPU Mono
YM2203 (@ 3.000 MHz)
YM3526 (@ 3.000 MHz)
Raster (Horizontal)
256 x 224 pixels
59.00 Hz
256 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 21 ROMs
561,411 bytes (548.25 KiB)
MAME ID bublbobl · boblbobl · bubbobr1 · bublbob1 · bublbobr · missb2 · sboblbob

About The Game

Bubble Bobble is a 1 or 2 player game, where the players take on the role of Bub and Bob, 2 cute dinosaurs who must battle through 100 platform-packed levels and rescue their girlfriends. Bub and Bob are armed only with the ability to make bubbles, in which the game's many enemies can be trapped and killed. The bubbles can also be used as temporary platforms, to help the dinosaurs reach previously inaccessible areas of a level.

The game's simple-yet-involving game-play saw Bubble Bobble become an instant classic. Its 2-player co-operative mode, coupled with the incredible amount of hidden secrets and potential for strategic play - unheard of in the platform genre - would set the standard by which all other platform games were judged.

Additional Technical Information

Players : 2

Control : 2-way joystick

Buttons : 2

=> [1] Bubble, [2] Jump


Released in August 1986.

Licensed to Romstar for US manufacture and distribution (October 1986).

This was one of the first games to feature multiple endings.

The title of this game, Bubble Bobble, is a cross between the words 'bubble' and the name of the heroes : Bub and Bob.

The enemies are named (Round number of initial appearance applies to 'Normal' mode. For information on 'Super' mode, see Updates below) :

  • 'Zen-Chan' [aka 'Bubble Buster', 'Benzo'] - First appears in Round 1
  • 'Mighta' [aka 'Stoner', 'Boris'] - First appears in Round 6
  • 'Monsta' [aka 'Beluga', 'Blubba'] - First appears in Round 10
  • 'PulPul' [aka 'Hullaballoon', 'Boaboa'] - First appears in Round 20
  • 'Banebou' [aka 'Coiley', 'Bonnie-bo'] - First appears in Round 30
  • 'Hidegonsu' [aka 'Incendo'] - First appears in round 40
  • 'Drunk' [aka 'Willy Whistle', 'Bonner'] - First appears in Round 50
  • 'Invader' [aka 'Super Socket'] - First appears in Round 60
  • 'Super Drunk' [aka 'Grumple Gromit'] - the boss character whom Bub and Bob fight in the final round
  • 'Skel-Monsta' [aka 'Baron Von Blubba'] - Appears when you take too much time in a round
  • 'Rascal' [aka 'Rubblen'] - Appears when you linger too long in a secret room

In 1996, Taito announced that they lost the original source code program to Bubble Bobble following a reorganization - when it came to the recent ports and sequels, they had to work from program disassembly, playing the game and (mainly) the various home computer ports.

The game forbids the initials 'SEX' on the high score table. If you try, it gets changed to 'H.!', but go to the Tips and Tricks section for more information about 'SEX' :-)

Tom Gault holds the official record for this game with 5,823,600 points on March 4, 1988.

Some bootlegs of this game are known as "Bobble Bobble", "Miss Bubble II" and "Super Bobble Bobble".

Alfa Records released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Taito Game Music - 28XA-110) on 25/01/1987

NES cover band The Advantage cover two songs from Bubble Bobble on their self-titled debut album released on April 6, 2004.


Revision 1 :

  • Software version : 0.018
  • First world release.

Revision 2 :

  • Software version : 1.0
  • US release.

Revision 3 :

  • Software version 5.1
  • US release (11/1986).
  • Added mode selection at the beginning of the game (Normal or Super mode).

In Super mode :

  • The rooms are all in different colors.
  • All 'Zen-Chan' are replaced by 'Hidegonsu' and vice-versa.
  • All 'Mighta' are replaced by 'Drunk' and vice-versa.
  • All 'Monsta' are replaced by 'PulPul' and vice-versa.
  • The only monster that remains unchanged is 'Banebou'.
  • 'Invader' does not appear at all in Super mode ('Hidegonsu' takes its place).


Bursting a bubble : 10 points.

Killing one monster : 1,000 points.

Killing two monsters at once : 2,000 points.

Killing three monsters at once : 4,000 points.

Points double for each extra monster killed at any one time.

Normal Fruit : 700 points.

Bonus Score Items (popcorn, burger etc) : 500 - 4,000 points.

Tips and tricks

Bubble Bobble is a game heavily relying on game-play and precise technique rather than graphics, and it features a series of special techniques and tricks a player can perform to maximize his or her score, make some rounds of the game easier or faster to finish or just to be able to survive or even finish a round. Some of these techniques have special nicknames, which may differ from player to player and from country to country.

Kissing Monsters

Or just kissing means killing a monster by blowing a bubble at almost contact distance : the monster will be instantly bubbled and the bubble will be instantly popped, giving the visual effect of the player killing a monster with a 'kiss'. Some players flip their joysticks in the opposite direction after pressing the bubble buttons, giving more chances of an 'instant pop' and changing flight direction for the dead monster. This technique is useful in stages where monsters move too fast, bubbles last for too short of a time or it's otherwise hard to bubble them normally. Of course good timing is required for this technique to work.

Riding Bubbles

Means keeping the jump button pressed when dropping on a bubble: if done correctly, instead of popping the bubble, your dragon will instead jump on it, possibly continuously, enabling him to 'ride' bubbles in order to reach otherwise unreachable areas. Some stages can't be finished without this technique.


Is a step up from riding bubbles. It means standing at half a bubble distance from a wall, jumping and blowing a bubble almost simultaneously, jumping up from that bubble and blowing another bubble and so on. This is necessary if the air current pushes down bubbles but you need to climb up. Having the rapid-bubbling power-up (the yellow candy) makes climbing a lot easier, especially if you got the running shoes already.

Bubbling Oneself Through

Means 'riding a bubble' through the opening at the top of a stage or even just through the ceiling of a stage in order to appear at the lower part, like some flying monsters can do. This technique is required to finish some stages or to get unstuck from some places, or just to save time.

Blowing Against The Wall

Means blowing bubbles against wall at contact distance : the bubbles will pop immediately thus giving the player 10 points per bubble pop. This can be used to either increase a player's score, or to set a player's score to a specific amount, in order to do other tricks.

Two Equal Digits

Means using the 'blowing against the wall' technique or other score-adjusting techniques in order to make the two penultimate (100s and 10s places) digits of at least one player equal, e.g., 456770, before the last enemy bubble is burst. If done correctly and the score is not modified when this occurs, then all remaining non-special bubbles on screen will be turned to 700-point bonuses, whose appearance depends on the digit picked. E.g., 7 gives Chocolate Ice Creams, 3 gives Hamburgers, and so on.

Note : this trick is easier to do with two players (one player adjusts his score and the other bursts the bubbles), but it can also be done with only one player, although calculating exactly how much (and if) one's score will be modified when bursting the last enemy bubbles can be extremely complex, if not unpredictable, especially if there are very large and clustered bubble bunches.

Note : Rounds with numbers ending with 5 and 0 up to and including level 50 generate bonuses from bubbles automatically, though, and some rounds (including round 1) do it by default.

Internal Counters

An interesting (and exploitable) part of bubble bobble is that powerups are not entirely random. As with the two digit trick, many internal counters in this game decide which special powers are available for collection. For example, rapid bubble shooting (a sweet in yellow wrapping), fast moving bubbles (a blue sweet), or fast moving bubbles (a blue sweet) appear shortly after either Bub or Bob jumps 51 times, pops 51 bubbles, or blows 51 bubbles. Also, running around a lot causes the speed powerup (red shoe) to appear. Keeping this is mind, it is possible to gain all powerups with relative ease. Although there are many more counters that control various aspects of the game, one of particular interest is the letters forming the word EXTEND. Getting all 7 letters will end the current level and award the player with an extra life 'NICE 1P!' - these letters have a greater chance of appearing when more enemies are defeated simultaneously. Also, gathering three of the same letter causes candy canes to appear which in turn lead to a special big item at the end of the level!

Unlimited Run And Rapid Fire

At the main title screen, press Left, Jump, Left, 1P, Left, Fire, Left, 1P. If this is done correctly there will be a message in the bottom left corner of the title screen a red POWER UP!.

Original Bubble Bobble

At the title screen press Shoot, Jump, Shoot, Jump, Shoot, Jump, Right, 1P. It will say at the bottom of screen ORIGINAL GAME. The game will give the PORTALS in some screens, if you can get in them you will get LOADS of diamonds.

The 'Super Bubble Bobble' Code

This will change the Bubble Bobble logo in 'Super Bubble bobble' and the game will change under several points of view : different platform colors, different order for monster appearances (See 'Updates' above)... The code that must be entered at the title screen to access Super Bubble Bobble is displayed at the end of the credits after you beat the game in 2 players, normal mode. The message is coded, but it hints you to enter the secret room in level 20 to get the key for decoding. If you do so, you enter the secret room, on the base of which there is an inscription. The first line is the coding of the alphabet, the other lines are coded advices to beat the final boss. The decoded 'secret message' is : SJBLRJSR (Start - Jump - Bubble - Left - Right - Jump - Start - Right)

A little more trivia on Super Bubble Bobble : if you beat the game in Super mode, two players, you will discover that the final boss is your mother and father that were controlled by some unknown evil. By defeating the boss you free them and your girlfriends, and are reverted back to your original human form (the one you play "Rainbow Island" with...)

Decoded Advice In Secret Rooms

  • Room in level 20 : IF YOU WANT TO BECOME THE OLD FIGURE, USE THE POWER OF YOUR FRIENDSHIP, AND FIGHT WITH ME! (hint to play in two player mode to defeat the final boss and see the real ending)
  • Room in level 30 : I ENCLOSE THESE MAGICAL MEDICINE HERE, BECAUSE THOSE ARE MY WORST FEARS... (hint to use the lighting bubble to beat the boss)
  • Room in level 40 : IF YOU WANT TO GET BACK YOUR LOVE OF TRUTH, YOU MUST HELP EACH OTHER UNTILL THE LAST... (hint to end the game in two player mode to see the real endings)

Secret Tombs

Make it to level 20 without dying and a door appears -- it leads to a 'secret tomb', a level full of diamonds. There are secret tombs at levels 20 and 30, also. Make it to level 50 without dying and a strange, bee-hive-shaped door appears; enter it and you warp to level 70. DON'T kill the drunks on level 50, or the door disappears; bubble them and wait! Btw, with two players, only one of the players must survive unharmed to get the secret door.

Paffing A Skel

Skel, also known as 'Baron Von Blubba', is that nasty white monster that comes after you when you've taken too long; with two players, two Skels will appear. If one player is killed by HIS Skel, then he can collide with his partner's Skel 'WHILE HE IS STILL FLICKERING'. If the player's icon is still flickering, the other player's Skel will disappear (poof!), with no harm to the once-slain character.

Full Ending Sequence

Beat the game in 2 Player in Super mode and you'll get the full end sequence.

High Score Codes

After getting a high score, enter your initials as :

  • 'SEX' - Pitch fork-flying cakes/vegetables/etc across the screen, turn enemies into 6k diamonds.
  • 'TAK' - Octopus-turns bubbles into X's at end of level.
  • 'STR' - Flamingo-turns bubbles into smiling turds at end of level.
  • 'KTT' - Beer-turns bubbles into pizzas at end of level, what a perfect match !!!
  • '...' - Knife-flying cakes/vegetables/etc across the screen, turn enemies into 6k diamonds.
  • 'I.F', 'MTJ', 'NSO', 'KIM', 'YSH' - Coke can-flying sunflowers across the screen, turn enemies into 6k diamonds.


  1. Bubble Bobble (1986)
  2. Rainbow Islands - The Story of Bubble Bobble 2 (1987)
  3. Final Bubble Bobble (1988, Sega Master System)
  4. Parasol Stars - The Story of Bubble Bobble III (1991, NEC PC-Engine)
  5. Bubble Bobble Part 2 (1993, Nintendo Famicom)
  6. Bubble Bobble II (1994)
  7. Bubble Memories - The Story of Bubble Bobble III (1995)
  8. Rainbow Islands - Putty's Party (2000, Bandai Wonderswan)
  9. Bubble Bobble Revolution (2005, Nintendo DS)
  10. New Rainbow Islands (2005, Nintendo DS)
  11. Bubble Bobble Evolution (2006, Sony PSP)
  12. Bubble Bobble Double Shot (2007, Nintendo DS)


Game Design & Character
Fukio Mitsuji (MTJ)
Software Programmers
Ichiro Fujisue (ICH)
Nishiyori (NSO)
Sound Creator
Tadashi Kimijima (KIM)
Yoshida (YSH)
Fujimoto (KTU)
Seigo Sakamoto (SAK)

Cabinet and Artwork


Box art(?) for the Firebird port of Bubble Bobble.
Nintendo Famicom (1988)
Sega Master System (1988)
Nintendo Game Boy (1990)
Sega Game Gear (1994)
Sega Saturn (1996, "Bubble Bobble & Rainbow Island")
Sony PlayStation (1996, Bubble Bobble featuring Rainbow Island")
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2002, "Bubble Bobble Old & New")
Sony PlayStation 2 (2005, "Taito Memories Vol. 1")
Sony PlayStation 2 (2005, "Taito Legends")
Microsoft XBOX (2005, "Taito Legends")
FM Towns Marty
Commodore C64 (1987)
Apple II (1987)
Atari ST (1987)
Commodore Amiga ("Bubble Bobble", 1988, Firebird)
Amstrad CPC (1987)
Sharp X68000 (1989)
PC [MS-DOS, 5.25] (1989)
Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1991)
PC [MS-DOS, CD-ROM] (1996, "Bubble Bobble & Rainbow Island")
PC [MS Windows] (2005, "Taito Legends")
Nokia N-Gage (2004, "Taito Memories")

Soundtrack Releases

Album Name Catalogue No. Released Publisher Comments
Zuntata Rare Selection vol.5 Hot Menu ZTTL-0036[1] 1999-02-20 Zuntata Records CD version.
Taito Game Music 28XA-110[2] 1987-01-25 Alfa Records CD version.
Input 64: Commodore C64 Game-Music 1984 - 1989 [Public Beta] LADO-17080-2[3] 2001-03-05 L'Age D'Or CD version.
Game Music Now & Then SCDC-00292~3[4] 2003-12-17 Scitron Digital Content 2 CD version.
Taito Game Music SCDC-00156[5] 2002-03-06 Scitron Digital Content Inc. CD version.
Taito Game Music ALC-22908[6] 1987-01-25 Alfa Records Cassette version.
Taito Game Music ALR-22908[7] 1987-01-25 Alfa Records Vinyl version.
Output64 - Delete All Data - Input64 Remixed 3/X N/A[8] 2001-01-01 N/A CD version.
Input 64: A Collection of Commodore 64 Game Music LADO 17080-2[9] 2001-01-01 L'Age D'Or CD version.
Arcade Ambiance 1986 N/A[10] 2004-08-27 Andy Hofle Digital download only.
Input 64: A Collection of Commodore 64 Game Music LADO 17080-1[11] 2001-01-01 L'Age D'Or Double vinyl version.
Output64 - Delete All Data - Input64 Remixed 2/X N/A[12] 2001-01-01 N/A Vinyl version.

Sound Comparison

Platform Song Titles Sound Source
Arcade "Title & Extend" "Introduction & Main Theme" "Extend & Bonus Music" "Hurry & Main Theme (Faster)" "Skull Monsuke Appears" "Secret Room" M1 v0.7.8a6

Platform Song Titles (Continued...) Sound Source
Arcade "False Ending" "Super Drunk" "All Clear" "Halley's Comet" "Real Ending" "Name Regist" "Game Over" M1 v0.7.8a6

External Links


The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.