Jerry Boy is a Nintendo Super Famicom platforming game that was released in September 1991 in Japan, and later that same year in the US, renamed Smartball. It is not a very well-known game (but it deserves to be!): The gaming press in Japan gave it decent reviews, with high scores and some raves. I don't remember what the US press wrote, but Super Play Magazine in the UK passed it off as "A run-of-the-mill platform game with only its blob-shaped hero to distinguish it from the crowd. Very average." They gave it a score of 54%, while rewarding a game like Dinosaurs ("Dyna Wars", actually) with a score of 83% in the same issue, lavishing praise on a game which I consider less imaginative and more run-of-the-mill than Jerry Boy.

So, what's so special about Jerry Boy, then? Well, not a lot, but it is fun to play. It brought the simplicity and playability of 8-bit Famicom games onto the 16-bit Super Famicom, at a time when its contemporaries were trying to become more complex and stylish (which is good in itself, but lacks the essence of what made the 8-bit era so fun.) I have written a short review of Jerry Boy below for those not familiar with the game.

But anyway, I still haven't introduced what this tribute site is all about:

I had wanted for a while to make a page collecting all the information about Jerry Boy that was peripheral to the game itself. There is already a very nice Japanese site with all the information about characters, enemies, levels, gameplay, and so on. Want a walkthrough in English? Go to GameFAQs.

No, this site is not about the gameplay, but rather the history of the game: when it was first conceived, the changes that were made to it throughout development, and the people that made it. Over the years, I have seen pictures of a very early (and quite different) Jelly Bean, and even have managed to find an early audio clip of its music, a historical record of its development, and an interview with its creators. I hope eventually to put all these media on this site, since I find them really interesting!

So for now, have fun browsing around the site, and please let me know if you like it!



Believe it or not, and don't let the title fool you, but Jerry Boy is a great game. I remember first seeing this game back in the December 1990 issue of EGM, under the title "Jelly Bean". In that incarnation, you played a little jelly bean with eyes, travelling across a photorealistic grassy landscape. The game eventually came out in Japan as Jerry Boy, and had graphics and terrain that were now more cartoony.

Jerry Boy is a platform adventure game from Epic/Sony. It is geared towards younger players, but I still found this highly enjoyable. The plotline is fairly straightforward. You're a young prince named Jerry who is betrothed to the princess Emi. A mysterious wizard comes along with the help of your brother, Tom, kidnaps the princess and turns you into a jellylike character.

As the jelly boy, you are pretty weak. Your only lines of defence are in flattening or stretching your body to hit enemies, and in finding objects like balls to throw at them. You can also run by holding down the Y button. You can further stick to walls and ceilings by holding down the Y button as you jump towards them.

The world of Jerry Boy is pretty standard platformer fare, with all the requisite types of terrain. You advance through each level along a filmstrip map, and you can revisit previously-completed levels. Each level is a romp up and down hills, jumping between plaforms, and squeezing through pipes. There are many enemies that come in your way, but they're easy to dispatch. Scattered around each level are a number of plants that open up to reveal balls, power-ups, one-ups, seeds, and jumping enhancers. Finally, there are 5 letters that spell JERRY in each level. Picking them all up will net you a couple of one-ups.

In between every few levels, you come across an area where you can talk to people and carry the story along. These range from towns in the earlier levels, to an angel village, the insides of a whale, and an igloo village. Knowledge of Japanese is not essential in this game, as there is nowhere to get stuck. You don't have to talk to anybody, but talking to some people earns an extra life. The game is full of nice little touches like these, which lends it an air of gentleness, if such a thing is possible in an action game.

The graphics in Jerry Boy are bright and effective. They're not lush like the levels in Donkey Kong Country or Yoshi's Island, but they do the job just fine. Each level has its own group of landmarks and features. The enemy characters are also nicely done. They fall mostly into the "cute and cuddly" category, which might put off some gamers; but I think they're all adorable and still somewhat threatening.
The music is similarly effective. While not being the best music ever heard on the SNES/SFC, it still conveys the mood of each level perfectly. The first level music starts right away with a calypso bop, and the other level songs are alternately moody, ethereal, cute, or driving, to suit the theme of each level. The title and ending songs are suitably both epic in style. I definitely recommend getting the SPC music files for some easy listening game music.

In short, Jerry Boy is a cute little game that might have been unfairly overlooked when it came out in the early Nineties. As you can probably tell from the number of lives in the images above, it's not the most difficult of games. However, every element of the game manages to bring a smile to my face when I play it. Jerry Boy was released in America for the SNES system as Smartball, but unfortunately Sony removed the entire storyline from the game, as well as all the towns (and whale and angel village...) that you could visit in the Japanese version. So, Jerry Boy is a better and more enriching game than its U.S. conversion, even if the American cartridge is easier to find nowadays. I'm glad was able to get a cart of Jerry Boy! Keep an eye out for it!