Sting Like A Bee: Bees in Games

World Honey Bee Day is August 20th! Last Fall, we dealt with a major wasp infestation on our patio and basically had to wait until Winter before we could even attempt to do anything about it. So far, we’re in the clear!

More recently, one of my friends just got into beekeeping, and she has been sending me constant updates of her journey with the hive. This lead to us having a conversation about bees we’ve seen in video games, and thus, a new blog post was born!

Without further ado, please enjoy the Top Ten Bees in video games!

10. Bee Enemy
Back to the Future
(NES, 1989)

Back to the Future NES image showing bee enemy
“Of course when Biff and his crew grab him or the bees start to attack you will find yourself losing precious seconds.” – BttF NES Manual

Remember that one part in the first Back to the Future film where Marty can’t seem to shake an annoying buzzy intruder? Me neither. But, the 1989 video game counterpart, clearly taking place in an alternate reality, wanted to make sure that you never forgot it.

This pesky bee enemy will forever remain on your screen until it utterly destroys you or you smash it with a bowling ball (as one does). For such a fantastic film series, it’s amazing how badly they were able to ruin the game. Great Scott!

9. Another Bee Enemy
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
(NES, 1988)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde NES image depicting bee enemy
“A legend is an old man with a cane known for what he used to do. I’m still doing it.” – Miles Davis

The bee of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is special in that it is the only enemy in the entire game (when playing as Jekyll) that is able to be defeated by your cane. What does it net you? Nothing.

Perhaps this game is a giant lesson in restraint. Even when everyone in the world is shooting at you with slingshots or trying to blow you up with bombs, hitting people is wrong. Defending yourself from stings, however, is perfectly okay with me.

8. The Hudson Bee
Adventure Island
(NES, 1987)

Screenshot of Adventure Island showing Hudson Bee
Sweet bee, G.

Oh, man! You’ve run out of lives and been sent all the way back to that dreaded title screen. Surely, there will be an option to continue from where you left off. But, wait. You didn’t collect the hidden bee item first? THEN START OVER!

Hudson Bee from Adventure Island instruction manual
From the Adventure Island NES manual.

I love that even after you find the item, there’s still technically no option to continue on the title screen. You have to dive into ye olde instruction manual to learn the proper controller command to carry on with your adventure.

In a game as hard as Adventure Island, the Hudson Bee is essential. I’ve never seen any other game do something like this!

7. Hornet “Costume”
Little Nemo: The Dream Master
(NES, 1990)

Hornet/bee costume from Little Nemo: The Dream Master
“I can’t stop going once I’ve started. It stings!”

Of all the creatures that Nemo can “become” in Little Nemo: The Dream Master, the hornet is by far the best. Though, the process is a little sketchy…

After feeding a helpless hornet three pieces of candy, the insect will become drowsy and fall asleep. This is Nemo’s chance to strike. Without hesitation, he leaps toward his prey and uses a strange mystical power to MERGE himself with the incapacitated creature. A cloud of smoke appears.

While the transformation may seem instantaneous to us, time slows down for our “hero.” Little by little, the insides of the creature melt away leaving just a hollow shell of the once-living animal. Now inside, Nemo stretches the skin around his body to fit perfectly with his form. The nerves of the dead merge with the nerves of the living so Nemo can control his new physique as if it were his own. His wings flap. His stinger stings. The cloud of smoke clears. Nemo is now the hornet.

At least, that’s how I like to imagine it…

6. Hornet Man
Mega Man 9
(Wii, 2008)

Hornet Man from Mega Man 9
Hornet Man was almost the first female robot master and would have been named Honey Woman.

When Capcom revealed that a retro-styled Mega Man 9 was coming to the Wii shop almost 12 years after the release of Mega Man 8, I was hyped. Amongst a colorful array of new robot masters stands Hornet Man, a bee-themed baddie who launches aggressive anthophila from his honey-comb chest.

A fun fact about this guy is that he was actually a robot suggestion for Mega Man 2 way back in 1988. It only took them 20 years to finally get him in a game!

5. Golden Bee
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
(SNES, 1991)

Golden bee of Link to the Past
I’ve got the golden tick…er….bee!

Also known as the “good” bee, this sparkling little fellow can become a helpful ally if caught. He lives, of all places, in an Ice Cave in the southeast corner of the map and can be freed from his fairy statue prison by smashing into it with the Pegasus Boots.

Once released from a bottle, the golden bee will go on a rage-induced tirade against any of Link’s enemies, showing them no mercy. Octoroks, tektites, and leevers, too – no one is safe.

For bosses, however, only Mothula is vulnerable to G. Bee’s attacks. Apparently, wax moths in real life can cause the destruction of bee colonies, so it’s no surprise that our golden friend would retaliate in this way. Bee aggressive – got to bee aggressive!

4. King Zing
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
(SNES, 1995)

We’ve had Godzilla vs Mecha Ghidorah, Gamera vs Gyaos, and Rodan vs Mothra, Kong vs the T-Rex. Now, feast your eyes on Zing vs Squawks!

While there’s no such thing as a “king bee” in the real world, King Zing defies the common laws of nature by claiming his royalty and guarding a Kremling-themed amusement park. His battle differs from his (supposed) spouse’s fight in the first game in that it’s one of the first in the series to be fought using an animal buddy. His appearance is also teased in an earlier level, Rambi Rumble (perhaps a nod to “Bumble B Rumble” in DKC 1), where he chases down the Kongs in their rhino form through a giant hive-like area. In the end, the Zing gets zonked.

3. Honey B.
(N64, 2000)

Honey B from Banjo-Tooie
Named after my favorite Steam Powered Giraffe song, no doubt.

This “Mistress of the Honey” is not the “Mistress of the Jiggies” because “that would have made your quest too easy!” Residing in her hive at the Isle o’ Hags, Honey B. can grant you some extra health in exchange for Honeycomb Pieces.

When the dynamic bear and bird duo meet her for the first time, Kazooie mistakes her for being a wasp. After being corrected by the bee and called out for her rudeness by Banjo, Kazooie then calls her “hornet girl.” Might we have a possible match for Mega Man 9‘s Hornet Man???

2. Capital B
Yooka-Laylee and The Impossible Lair
(Various, 2019)

Capital B from Yooka-Laylee and The Impossible Lair
I’m the Capital B, I don’t need no hype. The Capital B means I’m ’bout that life.

Making a return from his original appearance in Yooka-Laylee, Capital B is back once again to antagonize the chameleon and bat pair who were inspired by the characters from the previous entry. This time, the bee boss is making a mess of the Royal Stingdom by utilizing his newest “Hivemind” machine, and he has kidnapped the Royal Beetallion Guards. At the request of Queen Phoebee, Yooka and Laylee set out to recover the bees and take on the aforementioned “Impossible Lair” to defeat the destructive drone.

This game was originally titled Yooka-Laylee in Plan Bee but the name was ultimately scrapped after the developers thought that consumers might consider their work a “back-up plan.” I’d be more worried that consumers would think it’s some form of insect birth control.

Honorable mentions:

Spring Weekend
(Windows, 1997)

Screenshot of Spring Weekend PC game
From the Microsoft Entertainment Pack: The Puzzle Collection.

Buzz Bee
Secret of Mana 
(SNES, 1993)

Screenshot of Buzz Bee from Secret of Mana

Donut County
(Various, 2018)

Screenshot of Donut County game with bees

The Charlotte Hornets
(SNES/Sega Genesis, 1994)

The Charlotte Hornets as shown in NBA Jam

1. Queen Bee
Super Mario Galaxy
(Wii, 2007)

Queen Bee from Super Mario Galaxy
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule… let me live that fantasy.

An entire Honeyhive galaxy with Queen Bee presiding over it all, it’s no wonder that this buzzing baroness is number one! In the first mission alone, Mario must don a bee costume, scale a wall of honey, and then rid the Queen of her “terrible itchiness” by collecting five Star Chips that have gotten caught in her hair.

The Queen can also be found in a few other games. A similar task befalls our hero in Super Mario Galaxy 2. She makes her first playable appearance, calling herself Honey Queen, in Mario Kart 7. Lastly, she is a teacher of spirits in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate where players can learn the secret of her “Big-Bee Style” technique.

All hail the Queen Bee!

Thanks for stopping by to read my article! What do you think? Is Queen Bee deserving of the top spot? Can you think of any other bees in games? Let me know in a reply below. Also, be sure to FOLLOW or subscribe to my blog via e-mail so you can have content delivered directly to your inbox!

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Published by erichagmann

Arranger / Pianist / Vocalist / Educator / Gamer

2 thoughts on “Sting Like A Bee: Bees in Games

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