When I first saw this game at Galloping Ghost, I thought it was of some relation to Sega’s similarly named Up ‘n’ Down. Naming aside, and the fact that these are both car games not withstanding, these two games are not related. Well, they are both fun to play, so there’s that!
In Bump ‘n’ Jump your goal is to rack of the most points by bumping into smaller cars to destroy them, jumping on top of bigger cars to destroy them, and also doing some fast maneuvering to avoid obstacles and clear road dangers. Being an older arcade game, there isn’t much in terms of what you can do besides those things, and do them well you’d better, otherwise you’re coughing up more quarters.
Simplicity is the name of the game. There’s a sort of groove you get in while playing, moving left and right at a moments notice. Knowing when to jump over or onto a car is satisfying too, especially as the difficulty picks up in later stages. Speaking of later stages, when you start finding yourself driving over water ways and bridges, I got strong Spy Hunter vibes. Looking online, it seems I’m not the only one, as the games have been compared quite a lot.
Aside from looking like Spy Hunter, visually Bump ‘n’ Jump is colorful, but dated. Expect visuals on par with the NES, seeing as this game is already 40 years old that was as good as it got. I do want to give special attention to the game’s sleek arcade cabinet. It’s actually the thing that caught my eye first, with it’s orange shell and bright overlays. The artwork on the machine did exactly what it was intended to do: attract players to play it.
I know arcades are a dying breed, and you could very safely argue they’re already dead. But for me I still love seeing stuff like this. Games that I didn’t otherwise know of out in the wild, in a machine that looks well taken care of. It makes me think back to when I was younger and would play arcade games with my family and friends. It makes me think of the simpler times when a quarter could get you a — Wait, this is starting to sound like a “back in my day” spiel.
To avoid that, let’s just leave with the game’s ports. You can play the arcade version of Bump ‘n’ Jump as part of the Data East Arcade Classics compilation on the Nintendo Wii, where it is listed with its Japanese title Burnin’ Rubber.
*Played at Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfiled, IL 2019