Does Anybody Remember Mappy-Land?

Mappy-Land

It’s okay if you’ve never heard of Mappy-Land, which was originally released for the Famicom in 1986 (under the title MappÄ« Rando, published by Namco). An English version of the game made its way westward to the NES in 1989, where it was published by Taxan.

In this simple platformer, players take control of Mappy the mouse, who must collect stolen goods (and pieces of cheese) while dodging cats. It’s not the most innovative premise (the cat-and-mouse theme is maybe a bit too on the nose), but it does feature several trampolines and balloons to spice things up a bit. Also, Mappy is a cop for some reason, and the cats are called Meowkies. Still, it’s not extraordinarily memorable. And, having played it for an hour or so, I would also argue that it’s not very fun.

This mouse-centric platformer was developed by Developed by TOSE (who had also developed Ninja Kid), a company with a long habit of hiding in the shadows. They were mostly a “ghost” developer, doing work on games without official credit. In fact, according to Gamasutra, TOSE has worked on over 1,000 games since they were founded in 1979.

Mappy-Land wasn’t the first game in the series — it was actually a sequel to the 1983 arcade game Mappy. In fact, this ended up becoming a full-fledged franchise. There are nine Mappy games in total, including the Japan-only Mappy Kids, in which Mappy’s son Happy is trying to become a suitable husband.

The fame — if you could call it that — of Mappy hasn’t quite faded in the 21st century. A Mappy cartoon that spanned several episodes was released in 2013, and it’s especially bizarre (if you don’t believe me, you can watch 13 entire episodes below).

Seriously, this is not the direction I would have imagined for a cartoon version of Mappy, but honestly, I kind of dig it.

So while Mappy-Land (and the whole Mappy series) remains pretty obscure, the franchise pops up in random places now and again. Some of the Mappy games even get bundled in Namco retro game collections (including the Namco Classic Collection, Vol. 1, released in 1995). I guess we shouldn’t be surprised if this one comes back around.

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