Bubble Bobble is an authentic classic arcade game, and is the yardstick by which cute games are measured. The theme is quite simple; you play one of two cute little dragons (Bub is green, Bob is blue). You leap around various screens trapping monsters in bubbles, then bursting the bubbles to banish the monsters from that screen. There is also plenty of fruit, jewel and lolly collecting to be done, as is typical of cutesy games. Your ultimate goal is to rescue your girlfriends, who are on the 100th level. Unfortunately I can't complete level 95 8-(. This game also has positively oodles of hidden secret features, in common with its sequels (Rainbow Islands, then Parasol Stars, then some other games which I haven't played). Colorful, smooth graphics with LOTS of sprites onscreen, sweet music & adorable characters make this a definite "family game".
One site for the Bubble Bobbler to visit is Gareth Hall's. Besides containing a wealth of information on the Bubble Bobble series, this site also contains links to other similar shrines to this classic game.
There are several versions of the Bubble Bobble arcade board. In addition to the genuine Taito article, there are at least four pirated clones; one with 56 pins and three with 44 pins. The board I have is identified by the model number "639-06" and it is one of the 44-pin variants which has had the title graphics hacked to read "Bobble Bobble". It also has a 12-pin power connector, but that connector is redundant because all the power lines run to the 44-way edge connector. My board was made in 1986, according to its warranty sticker. The board has two Zilog Z-80Bs and a Zilog Z-80A, with sound coming from a Yamaha YM2203 synth chip. All the parts are off-the-shelf; owners of other versions of this board tell me that they use some custom chips. MacMAME now supports Bubble Bobble, and it's definitely a recommended download! Go to John Stiles' Emulation on the Macintosh site to find current links to MacMAME.
My board was a real pain to find pinouts for. It is similar to the 44-pin board mentioned on spies.com, but it isn't identical; the polarity of the speaker wires is different, the power supplies are different, and the board mentioned on spies.com seems to require -5V, which my board doesn't.
Bubble Bobble uses a horizontal low-res monitor, one or two 4-switch joysticks with two buttons (only left and right are used; you can leave up and down disconnected), and it has the pinout detailed below. The board does not require a -5V rail, but there are components connected to it; one can surmise that other games were built on the same CPU board. It couldn't hurt to connect the -5V line, in case you ever come across one of these other boards. Many of the pins marked NC in fact look as if they run to input buffers, and they are probably player up/down and other buttons, which Bubble Bobble doesn't use. This pinout is based on the archived pinout from firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks also to Gareth Hall for other information.
Note: The speaker should be connected between Speaker+ and ground. Also note that there is no separate video ground.
DIP Switch Bank A
DIP Switch Bank B