The rolling ball that is life, this time with monkeys.

Y’know that game Labyrinth?  It’s a square-shaped box, usually made of wood, set in which is a moveable platform with small walls forming a maze and holes.  The object is to maneuver a ball around the maze, avoiding the holes, to an end point.


Yeah I sucked at it. Obviously.

Even worse, I really sucked at game versions, which I remember from our Play 101 Awesome Games on One Disc! floppies that we had for our PC years and years and years ago.  One of them was sorta “3D” and the maze was set on different levels, so the ball could drop…and maybe there were even little elevators that would raise the ball….I don’t remember.  I just remember being horrible at the game.  I never managed to get very far – my ball would inevitably fall off the goddamned side of a wall because I couldn’t move my dumb fingers fast enough.  That and the keyboard controls sucked balls.  Ha. Ha. (sad)

In related news (I swear), when the Nintendo Gamecube was released in late 2001, only a few titles were available at the time, and the first game we got was Super Monkey Ball.

Super Monkey Ball cover art © Amusement Vision, Sega, Nintendo

Why we didn’t get Crazy Taxi or Luigi’s Mansion, I don’t know…I’m drumming up a faint memory that I convinced my husband to get the game because it was something we could play together.   And it had MONKEYS!  Very cute monkeys with cinnamon bun-shaped ears.  Cinnamon bun ears, people!  How is that not hella cute??!!

Did I just type “hella?”

Holy jeezus…how is this not CUTE?! (source)

Um…so monkeys, in balls.  Yeah.  Super Monkey Ball looked like fun.  And it was super simple…even a monkey could play it!  (Seriously, was there a commercial of a monkey playing this game?  There really should have been.)  In the game, you had to maneuver your little monkeys, which were trapped inside clear plastic balls, around a maze-like course to collect bananas and reach finish line.  At least, I’m assuming there were in plastic balls.  Glass…well, that seems dangerous…could you imagine the mess upon falling? I’m mean the shards, the fur, the blood…oh my god the blood…you poor, poor little cinnamon bun-eared monkeys…your happy faces forever twisted with that moment of death, mangled…tragic! *sob* so awful!…*sob* *sob*….you poor, cute little monkeys…! *SOB*…OH THE INHUMANITY OF TRAPPING MONKEYS INSIDE LITTLE GLASS BALLS FOR YOUR FUCKING AMUSEMENT! FOR SHAME!! *SNIFF SOB SNIFF*



So the Super Monkey Ball monkeys were there in their escapable plastic balls – two sided, like a pantyhose egg, except not an egg, a ball…stick with me people – trying to get from point A to point B.  The players viewed their monkeys from the a 3rd person point of view, and the game tended to follow the laws of physics.  Gravity made the ball drop and gaining momentum made the ball go faster.  The only part of the controller used was the analog stick to go forward, backward, left, and right.  As far as I recall, there was no jumping, no dodging, no ramming, no action violence of any kind (in single-player mode, that is).  The game was supposed to be simple, pure, relaxing fun.

Nothing says relaxing like…OH SHIT! 23 SECONDS! GO YOU STUPID MONKEY…GOOOOOO! (source)

Which brings me back to Labyrinth.  I sucked at it, and I don’t know why I thought the mechanics would be any different with virtual monkeys in virtual balls rolling along a virtual track.  I suu-uucked at Super Monkey Ball.  I tried, and I tried, and I tried to love it.  I mean, there really was nothing to hate about the game – unlike the demonic Cookie and Cream. The monkeys didn’t hate, they didn’t taunt, they didn’t cry out on anger at being thrown off the playing field.  They just came back for more abuse from a couple of middle-of-the-road gamers who should have just gotten Crazy Taxi.

I don’t care what PETA says. Monkeys in balls were born to do this. (source)

Again, I reiterate, why we thought Super Monkey Ball was a good idea is beyond me.  We were young, stupid, and maybe a little off-kilter.  Maybe we saw ourselves in those monkeys.  Trapped in the clear, rolling ball that was life. Forever rolling towards that ultimate and seemingly unreachable end point, occasionally falling, but always getting back on track.

hmmmm…THAT’S IT!

Super Monkey Ball was totally a metaphor for LIFE!


But, no, Super Monkey Ball was a video game, a fine video game that I stunk at.  And that forever, but not really, changed my perception of life and monkeys.


And now we know why these monkeys were made to roll around. Punishment for one too many trips to Burgercube. Which sounds disgusting. (source)


  1. That’s a game I almost got for the GameCube, then didn’t. I think I’d be bad at it, too. I am awful at that kind of stuff. That brings back horrible memories of making Mario run around in a ball in “Super Mario Galaxy”. I am awful at controlling balls! Mario would go down hills and get out of control and just go flying off. Stupid spherical objects!


    • I’m totally with you! The only character in a ball that I was ever able to control was Samus from the Metroid series. She was way more manageable than a monkey, for sure. And I had such control problems with Super Mario Galaxy as well. My short temper didn’t help much, nor did the fact that I found myself getting uncontrollably angry at a fake plumber. Just one of the reasons I never finished that game.


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