Games We Play: NES

October 4, 2008 at 3:52 pm Leave a comment

I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated this particular strand of posts, and for that I apologize. (I can tell you were deeply, deeply upset.) Mostly I’ve been too busy playing PlayStation and, like, reading books. Also my job.

But I love the old skool Nintendo. I still have ours, currently plugged in next to my PS2. My list for this system will include a few games I don’t currently own, because even though I bought them the roommate I was living with took them with her when we moved out at the end of the summer. Awkward.

Bases Loaded: I’m pretty sure this is the game I have, but I can’t be bothered to get up and look because my room is freezing and I’m huddled under blankets and a greyhound for warmth. In any event, this is a recent purchase, and one that no one ever wants to play with me because it’s really hard to control.

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest: This is another recent purchase, and one I haven’t actually played for more than five minutes in a stretch. Actually I can’t remember at all why I recently bought a bunch of used NES games.

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse: When my fantastic aunts (and, I suppose, nominally my uncle) bought us the NES when I was young (eight or something? Really hard to say), this was one of the games they sent. It is fantastic. It’s one of the few NES games I’ve come across that includes a save feature, by giving you a password after certain set points. (Consequently, our guest room was often littered with small scraps of paper bearing these pictogram passwords.) The fact that you do have agency over which “worlds” to visit at different times, and which combination of players to use, is fantastic. I finally sat down and beat the whole thing when I was in college, and it felt great.

Duck Hunt: Like many kids, we got our NES with a combination of Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. I still have the gun. This was one of those really frustrating games after a certain level of difficulty–even if you cheated, like me, and sat really close to the TV–and probably the worst part was that you couldn’t at least wound that damn giggling dog.

The Legend of Zelda: Zelda is one of those games that people my age remember fondly from their youth, but I never played it in my youth. I only own it because a former roommate was crazy about it so I bought it and watched her play for a few minutes, and it looked really boring.

Mega Man: I’m not actually sure which Mega Man I bought–apparently there are 6–but this is one of the ones I no longer have, and can’t really remember playing.

Mig 29 Soviet Fighter: This was actually a really fun game. It was the first we bought that had a silver cartridge (instead of the standard dull grey), and I remember we thought that was totally cool. My brother was better than I was at this game (that was sort of a pattern with a lot of games in our youth) but I still had fun playing it, particularly the stages with aeriel views (a la Raiden or other arcade games).

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!: Another I bought in college, and was definitely amused to watch. My roommate at the time was pretty good at it, though it looked pretty difficult to control.

The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants: This is a really good game, but often so hard that it results in thrown controllers. We also bought our copy used, and as a result this game always has to be started with a bizarre series of minute adjustments, the classic cartridge blow, and prayer.

Spy vs. Spy: I actually never owned this one, but spent one long afternoon playing it with a guy who otherwise wouldn’t have given me the time of day. I think I ended up at his house for Odyssey of the Mind and everyone else stood us up or something. Regardless, the game was neat.

Star Trek: Another good game that includes a save feature. Hurrah! Mostly I remember that when you beamed down to a planet with an away team, the two non-Spock/Kirk characters just sort of wandered around randomly and ran into things. Occasionally they’d get stuck somewhere and you had to backtrack to retrieve them.

Super Mario Bros.: A classic. More fun when you learn how to warp, eye-glazing when you try to go the long way.

Super Mario Bros. 2: Why didn’t this game make it bigger in America? The Japanese sensibility shines through much more in this than any other Mario title, I think, and I find it much more interesting as a result.

Super Mario Bros. 3: Another classic. Much more fun than the original, and also one that makes you want to injure someone when you’ve been playing for three hours and someone accidentally kicks the plug out of the wall.

TMNT: I can’t actually remember which Turtles game I purchased in college, but I remember wishing I could go play the arcade game somewhere. Preferably for 25 cents, and preferably in a roller skating rink. Skates, not blades. The distinction is important.

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