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Ice Climber is a vertical scrolling Platform Game originally released by Nintendo in 1984 for the Famicom in Japan, and was later converted into an arcade title in the "Vs." series (as with many early Famicom/NES titles). It was released in North America a year later as a launch title for the NES.
Players control characters dressed in stereotypical-eskimo gear: player one is the blue-clad Popo, while player two is the pink-clad Nana. The general goal of each level is to climb up several layers of ice to reach the top of a mountain. Each player carries a wooden mallet which they use to knock ice into or hit enemies, club openings in the levels, and collect power-ups. Like eggplants... Just roll with it.
Enemies include sun-glasses wearing Polar Bears, Topis (depicted as seals in Japan and yetis anywhere where seal clubbing isn't considered politically correct), the bird-like Nitpickers, falling icicles, and vultures.
The game would likely be largely forgotten without the huge boost of publicity generated when Nana and Popo were The Unexpected inclusions in the Super Smash Brothers series, starting with the second game. Uniquely, while the two characters act as a team, generally the player is only able to control one at a time while the AI copies his movements. One can be defeated, but not the other, but a single Ice Climber is at a severe handicap.
Other media to reference Ice Climber include the Wario Ware series (where it is the basis of several micro-games) and later iterations of the Kirby series (where Kirby's ice power-up gives him a parka exactly the same as Popo's). They also tend to appear in fan-works related to Smash such as There Will Be Brawl.
Oh, and to be clear, while the game's title is the singular "Ice Climber", the characters are referred to as the plural "Ice Climbers", commonly mistaken for the actual title of the game, even by Nintendo press releases.
This work shows examples of the following tropes (put all references to Super Smash Bros here):
- An Ice Suit
- Cross Cultural Kerfuffle: Presumably why the seals were changed to yetis outside of Japan.
- Drop the Hammer
- Everythings Better With Eggplants: They are the first kind of vegetable you can find in the bonus round.
- Everything's Worse with Bears: Waiting too long to get to climb to a higher layer will cause a polar bear to appear and stomp the screen upward, which risks you of losing a life should you be near the bottom of the screen.
- Hitbox Dissonance: When players are jumping.
- To explain. In different platformers, you have to be right on top of a platform when you're trying to land on it. In this game, to get to higher levels, you typically have to slightly overlap a higher platform as you're jumping up in order to land on it.
- Jump Physics: Besides the above Hitbox Dissonance, the Ice Climber can't control their direction of jumping so well once they're in the air. It's tricky, but you can also harm Nitpickers this way by having their mallets hit them as they jump.
- Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: Takes a form of surfaces of diagonal lines.
- It's All Upstairs From Here
- Nintendo Hard
- One-Hit-Point Wonder
- Only One Name: Popo and Nana. Much like serveral other Nintendo protagonists.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy
- Rise to the Challenge: As you climbed up a mountain, the screen scrolls up to follow you. No matter what is currently at the bottom, you will die if you fall off the screen.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The entirety of the game, though only the higher layers of each level have icy floors that lower your traction, which can lead to you falling down to the previous layer if you're not careful.
- Shrug of God: Are they siblings? Friends? Lovers? Word of God is that it's up to the players mind.