• Bubble Trouble


  • Arcade


  • David Wareing and Alex Metcalf


  • Ambrosia Software

Release Date:

  • October 1996


  • Mac

Systems Used:

  • SheepShaver via MacBook

On Wikipedia:

My historic family computers, let me show you them...er, tell you about them. As alluded to, I've had Macs growing up. The first were a pair of black and white compact Macs, namely a Macintosh Plus and Macintosh Classic. The second was a color computer, a Performa 550. This had predominantly kids games (remember, I was young in the mid-1990s) but also a few fond classics from that era, like Spectre or SimCity 2000 (which I've written about but haven't updated yet as of this writing), then a Mac clone from Power Computing, a PowerWave. A troublesome machine, that (we'll explore more of that and its sad fate when we do a special on Yoot Tower) but which it had fond memories and that was probably the best remembered in terms of "classic Mac gaming". A comparatively huge CRT monitor (I remember finding the receipt for the computer and monitor at my grandpa's old house years later, the price was shockingly high, even without accounting for inflation) So, why does Bubble Trouble get special mention? Simple...it's the only Ambrosia title from that era that appears to work 100% correctly in SheepShaver. The others...Barrack, Apeiron, and Harry the Handsome Executive all either failed to work or work correctly. There might've been one or two more from that group that I'm leaving out, but in terms of historic interest, all of them meant something at one time (HtHH has its own story, but please—we'll get to that later).

Blinky, Remington Eel, Chompers the Piranha, and Normal the Shark.
Not seen: the starfish, which will give you much grief later on.
(Official Screenshot)

So, now that we've gotten through the cruft, what do we have left? Not much, really...just a surprisingly fun arcade game that involves pushing bubbles to squish fish that want to do the same to you. Like Lemmings it still holds up quite well. In August 2014 I managed to play it once again and racked up a rather high score that I wasn't able to do before. They released a version called Bubble Trouble X that was Carbonized (and later, that became Universal) and features a level editor. It also makes it easier to rack up bonuses and takes out a rarely used "better music" feature, which adds an alternate "level one" music. However, they didn't also redraw some of the graphics, which are dithered 256-color ones.

How about a hypnotizing GIF to
stare at instead of this review?

I knew that many Ambrosia games were basically enhanced arcade games (Apeiron is basically Centipede) but it wasn't until this review was being written that I found out BT takes from a rather obscure arcade game called Pengo except it was ice instead of bubbles. Hm.

January 9 2016