Monday, October 19, 2015

The NES is 30! Here are the games that started it all for me.

It was my older brother's NES. But my parents were adamant that he share with the family, so I got to play occasionally. I was stuck in "younger brother" mode most o the time, having to settle for Luigi, dying too quickly, and having to watch my brother progress leaps and bounds further than me. But I was just happy to be hanging out with my older bro. Which never really goes away.

I was born the year after the NES launched, and my brother was 4 years older than me. So you can see how the dynamic played itself out.

Anywho, here are the games we owned, and what I remember about them.

Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt

Like most people this game probably came with our system, though I have no memory of that. What I do remember is cheating at Duck Hunt. Whenever I got to play by myself, I would sit as close to the TV as possible and practically touch the tip of my orange gun to the glass. I don't know why I thought it was so fun. Maybe I didn't have a lot of experience being an expert at video games, so it was nice to feel proficient. Even if I was cheating.

Super Mario Bros. I have fond memories of. 2-Player with my bro, discovering new levels as I got better at the game... But everyone talks about Super Mario Bros. Let's get obscure!

Destination Earthstar

If you've never heard of this game, you're in the majority. This game is half first-person space piloting (and not the fun, dog-fight style, but the boring "point your ship in a direction and wait" style). You do fight other ships, but the controls and visuals were a bit confusing. Eventually, you get to a side scrolling Gradius style gameplay portion, which looked really fun as a kid. But I could never get there. I only ever watch my brother do it.

Thats a hot beat! However, today, this game can be found at the bottom of bargain bins at your local retro game store.

Lunar Pool

Oh, Lunar Pool. There's no logical reason why I played this game so much. It's top-down pool, and every level presents you with a different shaped pool table. The real interesting feature however is the "gravity" control. Which basically scales the friction of the table up or down. If you turn it all the way down (which is what we did frequently) the balls seemingly never stop moving. you could hit your cue ball and watch your pool balls bounce around the table for tens of minutes before getting every ball in a hole, including the cue ball.

We never really played the actual game. It was more of a fun, zero gravity toy to us. But we played it for HOURS.

Dragon Warrior

If I play any turn-based RPG today, I can always find something that reminds me of Dragon Warrior. It was my first introduction into the RPG genre, and I had no idea what I was doing. I remember booting up the game and getting frustrated instantly because I couldn't figure out how to go up the stairs and get out of the first room of the game... Later I found the "Stairs" command in the menu.

I have a memory of my brother getting REALLY upset at me for playing Dragon Warrior one time. Apparently I have such little understanding of the game that I unknowingly erased his save file.

He is yet to forgive me for that.

The Three Stooges 

This was my dad's game. And it was confusing as heck for a kid. Watch the video below and feel my pain. My dad can keep it. I remember playing this collection of mini games and being totally lost. "Why are we digging for clams in soup?" I'd ask. My dad later would show us episodes of The Three Stooges, and we would grow to love them. But this game was bad. The mini games were bad. The menu was bad.

I never played it on purpose.

Lode Runner

This was probably the most fun my brother and I had playing a video game together. Thought there's no real 2-player mode to speak of, it was the level editor that gave us most of our enjoyment. We would take turns creating levels for each other, and it was great. We actually got along for once! I don't remember being able to save any of those levels, which is sad. They're lost into oblivion.

I'll gladly fire up Load Runner today on the Wii U Virtual Console.

That are some of your fondest NES memories? Let's chat in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. Your article reminded me very much my childhood, great memories, thanks a lot! You know, after an hour of searching I have found this website where I downloaded all this games and could play on my PC.