The No One Can Stop the Bobsled franchise is a series of computer games by SledSoft which began with the release of the first No One Can Stop the Bobsled game in 1981.
The original game was a simple affair which involved positioning badly drawn, blocky objects representing the common outsider's view of Switzerland in the path of a careening bobsled intent on destroying a town. After the twenty seconds to position the initial obstacles (blocky cows, blocky milkmaids, blocky chalets, etc.), the bobsled starts its run. The player can only slightly reduce the bobsled's speed by putting more and more obstacles down. Points are awarded for every reduction in bobsled speed. Like all early games, the player cannot ever win. The bobsled's acceleration exceeds the speed at which the player can pick up yodelling goatherds with the crosshairs and deposit them on the side of the mountain. Eventually the maniacal sled reaches maximum speed, at which point an animation of the town being destroyed plays.
The animation is quite bad. The bobsled hits one of the buildings with a digital crunching noise, the screen shakes, and then, one at a time, the top half of the houses shear off unrealistically. This goes on for a torturous three or four minutes.
It sold well though. A simple game with a clear objective and an easy play method meant it was going to be popular with people who found Space Invaders to be too violent (attempting to save a town from reckless bobsleds by throwing crudely drawn milkmaids and cows in front of the careening sled is apparently non-violent), and early interactive fiction to be too intellectual (let's face it, some people are never going to consider typing an intellectual exercise). As with any successful computer game, there were going to be sequels.
No One Can Stop the Bobsled 2: Bobsled Rampage was a lot better. That wasn't difficult. All SledSoft had to do was simply change the game to allow people to score more points based on the order that the now randomly generated obstacles were destroyed by the bobsled. By switching the game around to make the focus on swiftly sacrificing stereotypical Swiss stuff to the speeding sled, the game became even more popular. An ongoing series was the natural result.
Now, it's important to note here that SledSoft consisted of - and still is - just one person. This meant that to supply the demand for further relentless bobsled action it was far easier to slightly tweak things with each iteration. The graphical quality didn't so much steadily improve as stagger onwards drunkenly, and then reach a new level of quality by tripping over the last step. From there it was constant graphical changes, which due to their rushed nature were clearly just re-done images over the same old badly-animated obstacles. Bobsled enthusiasts insist these are unique games, and not merely graphical remakes.
The line petered out and died in the early 90's because frankly, there's only so many times the same game can be remade with slightly improved graphics quality, slightly improved sound quality, and a new and even more ridiculous setting. Dwindling sales indicated that more and more people were reaching the limit of their interest in unstoppable bobsleds. However, in the late 90's the fan community started making their own versions of No One Can Stop the Bobsled. Despite the fact they looked suspiciously like SkiFree clones, the sad truth is that even No One Can Stop the Bobsled has more depth than SkiFree. Not to mention less yeti.
After seeing the outpouring of affection for this seminal series of games, the president and sole employee of SledSoft realised that their games were actually popular and that there was real demand for a new No One Can Stop the Bobsled game. So, come 2006, a new entry in the Bobsled series was released, timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the original game.
Let's make one thing clear: No One Can Stop the Bobsled 25th Anniversary Edition is not really up to the standard a connoisseur would expect of modern games. Of course, this may be unfair: modern games are at a stage where things like plot are important. The plot to this game is a bit light: There's a bobsled no one can stop, but you have to try anyway. Characterisation consists largely of the fact that the bobsled is unstoppable. Drama? Well, while an unstoppable, city crushing, albeit normal sized, bobsled might be dramatic to some (rumours of a film thankfully proved to be false), it's not really up to the standard people expect today. As for suspense... there is no suspense. Everyone who buys it knows the titular bobsled is unstoppable.
Of course, some people still complained that it was impossible to stop the bobsled and demanded a refund. Apparently SledSoft's lawyers simply pointed out the frequent statements in the marketing campaign to the effect that it was not possible to stop the bobsled. There are hacks for the modern game which make the bobsled stoppable, but this is frowned on by the No One Can Stop the Bobsled community.
The game has nice graphics. The player can witness the bobsled destroying obstacles in split-screen while they place victims in the other half of the display. The action replay feature is quite well done, as is the ability to re-edit the bobsled run into a video. The sound effects are what one would expect. The music is surprisingly good for a game about a bobsled that smashes things to bits. Oh, and there's plenty of gore and debris flying everywhere. This is probably the key selling point. The stand out feature is that people can add extra objects through the obstacle creator. It's like someone looked at the core elements of modern gaming and said "I think people just want to see stuff get destroyed" and made a game that does exactly that. Naturally it sold well to the lowest common denominator, and there are rumoured plans for a new series of No One Can Stop the Bobsled games.
Unfortunately they're going to be remakes of the old games. While there will be no remake of No One Can Stop the Bobsled 3: Duckpond Deathrace (known as "Duckpond Disaster" in the No One Can Stop the Bobsled fan community - due to a bug the only obstacles the player can place are duckponds), the other games are set to return. This includes the ludicrous seventh game in the series, subtitled Bobsleds Ahoy! (being set in the Caribbean during the age of piracy makes slightly more sense if one knows the original version of Sid Meier's Pirates! was released six months before Bobsleds Ahoy!).
Currently, other proposed remakes from the SledSoft back catalogue are: Sled by Dawn, Bobsled Through Time (the most ambitious of the original games, which featured Egyptian, Aztec, Medieval and Feudal Japan themed stages), and Bobsled Takes Manhattan.
The No One Can Stop the Bobsled Series
1981 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled
1982 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled 2: Bobsled Rampage
1983 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled 3: Duckpond Deathrace
1983 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled 4: Bobsled Takes Manhattan
1984 - Bobsled Head-to-Head
1986 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled 6: Back to the Bobsled
1987 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled 7: Bobsleds Ahoy!
1988 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled VIII: Sled by Dawn
1989 - The Bobsled is Back!
1990 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled 10
1991 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled 11: Tenth Anniversary Edition
1992 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled: Christmas Edition
1993 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled 8: Bobsled Through Time (misnumbered)
1993 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled Deluxe Collector's Edition (contains all 13 original No One Can Stop the Bobsled games)
No One Can Stop the Bobsled: The Next Generation
2006 - No One Can Stop the Bobsled 25th Anniversary Edition