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Bird Week (バード・ウィーク) - Famicom (1986)

by Nick Zverloff - January 5, 2012

Cover

Developed by Lenar, the awkwardly titled Bird Week has a very strange concept. You live the life of a bird named Mommy and feed your baby birds so that they can get the strength to leave the nest. Gameplay consists of avoiding hazards such as evil flying squirrels or giant black birds. You clear levels by catching butterflies in your beak and feeding them to your hungry offspring. If you take too long to feed one of your birdlings, it dies, gains a halo and flies upward, presumably to baby bird heaven. Nature sure is harsh! However, the cruelty is lessened by the fact that it's immediately replaced by a new bird.

While most birds would be defenseless against many of the perils in Bird Week, Mommy is smart enough to know how to defeat them. She can lift up a giant mushroom with her very weak looking talons and drop it on enemies to kill them. While it's fun to drop mushrooms on squirrels, if you take too long, the baby birds will starve, putting pressure in an otherwise incredibly easy game. There are also snails that you can pick up to stop time, which makes sense in an adventure-game-lateral-thinking kind of way.

There are 36 levels, but there are really 999, as the game loops until it crashes. All of them play the same, save for minor backdrop changes that occur every so often to represet the change in seasons (though winter is strangely missing). A few slightly different enemies come up here and there, and later on you have to feed more baby birds, but it's not enough to dramatically alter the gameplay beyond the first level. Every so often there's a bonus game, but it's over before you know it. Once you've seen one level, you've seen them all, so playing the game to completion would be a task reserved only for people with far too much time on their hands. It's not like there's even any clever scoring mechanics or difficulty spikes to keep things interesting.

While there are worse games for the Famicom (far, far, far, worse), Bird Week is easily one of the most inane and repetitive. Given its simplicity it's clearly meant for kids, but it's the sort that talks down to them by assuming they just like cute birds. It doesn't help that most levels use the same theme song that only lasts about fifteen seconds and loops over and over maddeningly. The controls are also pretty stiff and unresponsive, though that was pretty normal for most early NES games.

Incidentally, "Bird Week" (usually known as "aichou shuukan") is an official designation in Japan, beginning on May 10th, to celebrate the the local official bird. The developer, Lenar, ended up making more games, including a strategy game involving Napoleon called Napoleon Senki and a cartoonish wild west Super Famicom RPG called Gunple: Gunman's Proof before quietly folding.

Bird Week (Famicom)

Quick Info:

Developer:

  • Lenar

Publisher:

  • Toshiba EMI

Genre:

Themes:


Bird Week (Famicom)

Bird Week (Famicom)

Bird Week (Famicom)


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