Ice Climber: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


Ice Climber was released by Nintendo in 1984. During this period, more games were being released directly to home gaming consoles rather than arcade machines for financial reasons. After it became apparent that Ice Climber was a big hit, Nintendo started to develop subsequent ports for the title. In addition, Ice Climber eventually made its way to the arcade.

Historically, Ice Climber is one of the best performing video game titles ever created by Nintendo, which sold approximately 1 million units at its height. Various changes were made to the US version of the game for cultural reasons, including changing enemies from seals to snowmen.

Kenji Miki created the designs for Ice Climber, and Akito Nakatsuka composed all music to the game. Originally, Ice Climber appeared on the Nintendo Famicon and the Nintendo Entertainment System. Afterward, it was ported to the Game Boy Advance, PC-88 and various arcade platforms. A sequel to the title named Vs. Ice Climber was released by Nintendo.

Either one or two people can play Ice Climber at the same time.


Game Play Overview

Controlling a character (Popo or Nana) that resembles an Eskimo, players use a small ice mallet to break layers of ice. Blocks of ice can be broken both under and overhead. The objective of Ice Climber is to reach the top of each mountain. Numbers, which are written on the side of the mountain, ascend as the player goes higher.

Some platforms feature a floating cloud that can be used by players to reach higher platforms. These clouds cannot be broken and they do not cause players any harm.

In total, there are eight platforms made up ice within each mountain. The arcade version of Ice Climber contains approximately 24 levels, but this can vary from version to version. When a player gets to the top layer, also known as the bonus round, he or she can use the mallet against eggplants and other vegetables. Within each bonus round, there is a 40 second time limit.

When the top of the bonus round is reached, a flying bird will go by. You must time your jump.

Enemies are numerous in Ice Climber, but they all do similar things. Some versions of the game feature snowmen, while others include seals. Called Topi, either snowmen or seals work against players by replacing previously broken layers with new chunks of ice.

Birds attack players and polar bears cause lower platforms in the game to disappear. Coming directly in contact with any of these enemies will cause you to lose a turn.

Special Features

The bonus round, which takes place at the end part of each level, allows players to earn bonus points. First, players can collect special vegetable icons that add to their scores. If completed in less than 40 seconds, players also earn a time bonus.


Popo - This is player one which controls a boy wearing a blue Eskimo outfit.

Nana - This is player two which controls a girl wearing a pink Eskimo outfit.

Nitmalleter – This is a small, mountain-dwelling bird that swoops down from icy caves on the levels' edges. Nitmalleters can cross over multiple ice layers.
Ice – This is the main component in Ice Climber, making up platforms and layers. Break the ice in order to go up and down levels. Some ice blocks can be broken with the player’s ice mallet while other can’t.

Topi – A white abominable snowman moves up or down multiple platforms, in an effort to thwart players’ efforts. Capable of filling in gaps in ice platforms previously made by players, these enemies can make progressing in the game quite difficult. Hit them with a block of ice to stop them.

Vegetables – Collecting a vegetable will earn you more points. Most vegetables are featured during the bonus round.

Polar bears – These enemies rarely appear in the game, unless players routinely take an extended amount of time to clear levels. When they do appear, however, polar bears can quickly put an end to things by slamming the ground and making platforms disappear.

Clouds – These floating structures allow players to move to upper levels when ice block platforms are placed far away. In other words, you can jump on an ice platform to reach layers that would otherwise be unreachable.

Birds – Large birds await players at the top of each mountain. Be careful as you try to reach their claws. Touching any other part of these birds will cause you to lose a life.

How to Play Ice Climber

In Ice Climbers, players can move in all four basic directions and use the action key to swing the ice mallet. Starting from the lowest platform on the mountain, the objective is to move upward until you get to the peak. Along the way, enemies will come out and try to prevent you from clearing platforms.

Ice platforms can be broken up with the ice mallet. Once opening is created jump through it to the next platform.

Hints and Tips
- The bonus round is the only area in which players can earn additional points. Focus on collecting as many vegetables as possible, but also keep your eye on the clock. Make it to the topmost platform while you still have at least a few seconds left before the stage ends.

- Unbreakable ice blocks are always marked with a small X. When you see them, walk past and do not waste time trying to break them.


We hope you enjoyed the video and the information shared on this classic arcade game.

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