On the very first year of this blog, Chip and Laura compiled a list of pumpkins that appear in video games. Keeping in the tradition of so many horror movie franchises, GIMMGP has decided to release a remastered post, now with 30% more spooky squash! We hope you enjoy this gathering of gourds in gaming.
We can start with the NES oddity, Monster Party! In the first level of the game, our hero Mark comes across a pumpkin-headed ghost who spits smaller pumpkins from its mouth. Even more odd is the fact that this boss was originally an ape-man riding on horseback. Since it was a bit risky to feature such a blatant parody of Planet of the Apes, the simian rider was replaced with a pumpkin ghost. You can read all about the various changes to Monster Party at The Cutting Room Floor.
Super Mario Land 2 featured good ol’ Mario traveling to six different worlds to retrieve coins which will open a door to the palace where his Princess Daisy is being held. One of these areas is the Pumpkin Zone, which is filled with spirits, slashers, and a wicked witch as the final boss.
Thanks to the efforts of Disney and Hot Topic, The Nightmare Before Christmas saw quite a revival during the early 2000s. Along with piles of other merchandise flooding stores, a pair of video games was released in 2005. While there were plenty of pumpkin decorations and sprites in the Game Boy Advance title, it was the PlayStation 2/Xbox game The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge that allowed players to take control of The Pumpkin King. Developed by Capcom, this game featured combat similar to Devil May Cry, where players could switch between different forms for Jack Skellington: Santa Jack (who battles with booby-trap presents) and The Pumpkin King (who sets his foes aflame with lantern magic).
Even robot pumpkins exist! A mid-boss in Mega Man 7, this cyber-pumpkin (adorably known as Van Pookin) has three gourd-geous layers that protect a tiny seed-spitting pumpkin robot core. A fun secret in this level, if you only shoot the eyes on the outside of the pumpkin, he will bust through the floor, allowing Mega Man to face his brother, Proto Man.
Mega Man isn’t the only robot fighting mechanical pumpkins. The 1993 arcade game Ninja Baseball Bat Man features a variety of odd robot ninjas, including some pumpkin-headed foes. Although this game was extremely popular in Japan during its initial release, Ninja Baseball Bat Man had a rather limited run in North America. Since then, this strange and wonderful beat ’em up has become a cult hit in emulation circles.
Ogre Battle was an interesting strategy game for the Super Nintendo. One of the bosses you fought was the witch Deneb, who commanded pumpkin-men to do her bidding. After defeating her, Deneb would offer to join your party, providing you with the ability to produce pumpkin soldiers who would gladly throw their gourds at your command.
A bit of a tribute to the attack of the pumpkin-men from Ogre Battle, Quina, the blue mage/weird clown maid in Final Fantasy IX, could learn the attack Pumpkin Head. This attack was rather strong, but very risky, as the damage it would inflict was equal to the difference in your max health versus your current health.
Continuing with the pumpkins in role-playing games theme, the developers over at Atlus have featured the character of Pyro Jack in several of their series. This little spectre has shown up in the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei games as an enemy who can be convinced to join your team as a fire-based familiar. Pyro Jack also starred in his own title…
Jack Brothers on the now (very) defunct Virtual Boy gaming system! Three goblin brothers Jack Lantern, Jack Frost, and Jack Skelton had to conquer several puzzle based levels on Halloween Night.
Silhouette Mirage was an obscure Sony PlayStation title from Treasure Games. In this game, the heroine Shyna has to shoot her way through two equally dangerous races, the Silhouettes and Mirages, with the basic enemy for the Silhouettes being little green pumpkin men. Like so many other Treasure titles, Silhouette Mirage is cute, fun, and deceptively difficult.
There are several pumpkins to be had in the wonderful PlayStation action-RPG Legend of Mana! One of the missions in the game culminates with a battle against an evil little doppleganger witch in an enchanted pumpkin patch. A victory in this fight unlocks a new piece of produce to cultivate in your garden in the game: the Bumpkin!
Even Link has faced his share of orange gourds. The boss Pumpkin Head appeared in Oracle of Ages for the Game Boy Color. Link would have to knock his gourd off and then throw the pumpkin at the dungeon walls to smash this poor creature’s head.
Not all pumpkins in the Zelda series are sinister. In Twilight Princess for the Wii, Link collects an Ordon Pumpkin as an ingredient for a very tasty looking pumpkin soup. Be warned, this soup is prepared by a yeti, so expect some stray hairs in the broth.
When Ness and Paula enter the cursed town of Threed, they are accosted by several spooky foes. Violent ghosts, possessed dolls, and shambling zombies are all wandering the streets, looking for humans to terrorize. Marching right along with these monsters is the Trick or Treat Kid, a maniacal little ghoul that will spit pumpkin seeds at our heroes, which deal a surprising amount of damage.
Most of Castlevania’s entries into the world of the third dimension have been… lacking. Castlevania: Lament of Innocence was forgettable, save for a hidden character that unlocked once you beat the game twice: Little Pumpkin! An enchanted pumpkin toy who decided to join the fight against Dracula, this hero is seemingly harmless, yet…
He can unleash a super-powerful attack known as the Grand Pumpkin, where giant pumpkin spirits rise from the ground and destroy his enemies with seasonal magic.
Little Big Planet is a great reason to own a PlayStation 3, as it provides hours of super fun co-op play. One of Chip and Laura’s favorite things to do in this game is dress the little Sack Boy (and Girl!) in silly costumes. Sure enough, a jack o’ lantern mask was provided for Halloween fun!
When Street Fighter II released for home consoles in 1992, a glut of other fighting games soon followed. Many of these games were pretty basic imitations of the Capcom classic, but there were some titles that stood out, such as Clay Fighter. This goofy game featured digitized clay characters who were brought to life with the magic of stop motion photography. The aesthetic of Clay Fighter was appropriately silly, featuring punny characters like the pumpkin ghost Ickybod Clay.
My friend Grant would be sad if I didn’t include the pumpkin transformation from Banjo-Kazooie for the Nintendo 64. In the Mad Monster Mansion area, our hero Banjo the Bear is shrunk down into a pumpkin in order to sneak through the hedge maze and small corridors. He even got to keep his little blue backpack, adorable!
Well, there you have it boils and ghouls! A list of digital jack o’ lanterns to light your way back home on this Halloween weekend. Be safe, have fun, and make sure to dress as your favorite video game characters!