Bob's Game, One of the Strangest Stories in Indie Gaming, is Back

By Jason Schreier on at

In 2008, a man named Robert Pelloni made headlines with an ambitious claim: he'd spent thousands of hours working on an indie role-playing game called Bob's Game, and he wanted to release it for Nintendo DS.

In the months and years to come, Pelloni made headlines for less savoury reasons. First he said he would lock himself in a room for 100 days to protest Nintendo's decision to deny him a DS development kit; then he created a video of himself and a few friends putting Bob's Game posters all over the Nintendo World Store in New York City. Later, Pelloni claimed that all of his actions were part of a fake viral marketing plan, and as his statements and videos got stranger and stranger, it became difficult to sort out reality.

It was a bizarre story, and though Pelloni resurfaced a couple of times in the following years—in 2011 he claimed to be making his own console—the disappearance of Bob's Game left a lot of people wondering what had happened, and if this story would ever find an ending.

Now, Pelloni's back again. He's got a Kickstarter for Bob's Game, and it sure is something. A brief excerpt:

"bob's game" is a game about a puzzle game called 'bob's game,' developed within the game by the virtual "bob" character, the "final boss" of the game. It is a hybrid between Zelda, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, and Earthbound, with massively multiplayer elements.

The 'bob's game' puzzle game inside the "bob's game" RPG is a puzzle game in which you can build your own puzzle games, including all existing types! It is the greatest puzzle game ever made, and the only puzzle game objectively better than Tetris.

"bob's game," however, is far more than just a game. It is a living work of art, a decade-long art project that spans websites, consoles, videos, music, books, alternate realities, and real-life events. It is a product of the heart. It is a lifelong aspiration and a true tour de force masterpiece. (The work an apprentice makes to become a master.)

Unsurprisingly, it's still hard to tell whether this is all sincere, an elaborate piece of performance art, or some combination of the two. But hey, maybe gaming's always needed an Andy Kaufman.