Inside the Guide: Barbie

Welcome to Inside the Guide, a column where you get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at writing guides on how to beat videogames. Before I get started with the column this month, I'd like to briefl

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Welcome to Inside the Guide, a column where you get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at writing guides on how to beat videogames.

Before I get started with the column this month, I’d like to briefly talk about my friend Marianne. Last month, I mentioned that she stood me up on our anti-Valentine’s Day pity party. In the interest of being fair, I have asked her to make an official statement explaining why she didn’t come to my room to play Twilight Princess, like she promised.

Marianne’s Official Statement

No, I’m not going to give you a statement. You’ll just take it out of context and make me look stupid.

Ah, do you feel that? It’s obvious that Marianne loves me. And speaking of beautiful women, this month I’m going to talk about my three-part guide for Barbie for the NES.


Part One: The Shopping Mall

barbie1Barbie goes head-to-head with ghosts.

I decided to write a guide for this game because I thought Hey, it’s a Barbie game. How hard can it be?

Answer: Pretty hard. The control scheme for this game is kind of complicated, and hard to figure out, especially when you don’t have the manual. I still don’t quite understand it, although I know that it does have something to do with pressing the B button. I think.

barbie2At the end of the level, Swedish Barbie gets a dress from a toucan. I don’t know why.

Aside from the levels where you have to use the controls, the levels of “The Shopping Mall” are ridiculously easy. They consist of going to the right, but timing it so you don’t get hit by the water from the water fountain. You have to do this for over twenty different water fountains. Easy? Yes. Simple to explain how to beat? Yes. Boring? Totally.


Part Two: The Ocean

barbie3Barbie’s a mermaid!

Why did I split this guide up into three parts, you ask? Simple. Near the end of this level, I had another problem with the game’s controls. I ended up completely stuck, and couldn’t beat the game. But I had already written the first third of the guide, and I didn’t feel like throwing out my entire guide. So I cleaned up the instructions on the first third of the game, and submitted them as an mini-guide.

A few months later, I chanced on someone else’s instructions, which explained the problem with the game’s controls. So I went back, beat the game, and finished off my guide.

barbie4Spelling the word “Barbie” with starfish was a nice touch.

This left me in a neat little pickle, however. I already had the mini-guide on the shopping mall part posted, and it’d be really redundant to have that alongside a full guide for the game. So instead, I split the rest of my full guide into two mini-guides, and pretended that I had wanted to do mini-guides all along.

Wow, this column is just full of fascinating insights into the world of writing guides for videogames, isn’t it?


Part Three: The Soda Shop

barbie5She’s wearing a poodle skirt now.

The third, and arguably best, level of the game has Barbie dressed up like Sandra Dee from Grease.

Rant about Grease: What the HELL is up with the ending of that movie? Sandy learns that Danny is basically a schmuck who cares more about his car than he does about her. So what does she do? She decides to get his attention by changing her looks and personality and basically becoming a sell-out. What kind of message is that? You’ll be popular if you do exactly what everyone wants you to? What the hell! I wanted to see an ending where Danny gets exactly what he deserves: Castration.

Oh, and then they get into a car and it flies off into the sky? Huh? The car can FLY now? Who was drunk when they came up with that idea? Seriously, people! Grease has an absolutely horrible ending!

Where was I? Oh yeah, the guide. Sorry, but I’m not up to talking about the guide right now. I’m still too mad about Grease. I’m going to go mellow out by listening to the Barbie Girl song now, OK?

barbie6This level has a surprisingly original level design: You have to jump from note to note until you reach the end of the song.


So that’s Inside the Guide for this month. What a strange journey it’s been: official statements from Marianne, difficult controls, stories about mini-guides and a rant about Grease. It’ll be hard for me to top this next month, but I’ll try! See you then, folks!

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About the Contributor


From 2007 to 2016

Michael Gray is a staff writer for GameCola, who focuses on adventure games, videos and writing videogame walkthroughs.

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