I haven’t done a game “review” in a long time, so I figured I’d reflect on one of the most memorable video games of my childhood: Poy Poy, a game on the Playstation.
Having only owned the Japanese version of the game, I have never known it by its real name and have always just called it the “Rock-throwing game”, but out of plain curiosity, I recently looked up the name.
For me, Poy Poy was the first game in which I learned to button smash – to mindlessly press buttons on the controller and hope something worked. Adding to this effect, everything was in Japanese from the instructions to the characters to the different gloves you could equip. It was basically guess and test for me, having no knowledge of the Japanese language at the time. Looking back, most of it was in Katakana so if I played it today, I’d be able to decipher the majority of the items.
There was something so gruesomely violent and yet enticing about throwing rocks at each other. It was so pointless that it was fun. Whenever my brother or I got bored playing one of the more quality Playstation games such as Final Fantasy or Digimon, we’d retire and play Poy Poy for the heck of it. The feeling of competition and randomness that arose from battling each other in the arena of object-throwing was exhilarating. It was so ridiculous that we would laugh at times – especially on the park map which was dark and often had a roaming dinosaur on the map. Ah, that was always both my favourite and least favourite.
My best friend would sometimes come over and we’d throw rocks at each other for hours, not really understanding the point of the game as it was completely in Japanese. In reality, the game would be terrifying: throwing a rock three times your size would not only be impossible but superhuman-like. I loved the polygon-shaped people and their wacky hairstyles. I loved how there were jelly bean like things you could collect and have no idea what it would do – mostly due to the fact that again, the game was in Japanese and we had no clue what we were doing.
In the end, I guess Poy Poy served as an experience to show that no matter what language a game is in, you can enjoy it. There are, of course, limits on this as it would be completely unpleasant to play a role-playing game without understanding the story, but for something like this, it worked out for the best. I’m sure if the game was in English and I understood how to play, I would’ve had a completely different experience, but the fact that it was in a language foreign to me urged me to not only indulge in Japanese culture, but to have fun without worrying too much about strategy or what not.
Poy Poy, for me, will always be that one game that leaves me grinning in the thought of it. It was never popular and it was rare to find anyone who had even heard of it, but it was special – something unique that will forever be a small chip of the video game world.
As I was unable to find a decent video of Poy Poy, I present to you one from Poy Poy 2, which is equally awesome and um…updated.