Everyone over the age of 20 has a favorite Nintendo game. I think the original Mario holds a special place in my heart because it was the gateway drug that got me into videogames. The Legend of Zelda is a game I can still play for about 10 hours in a row to this day. I tried many times, but never was successful in shooting the dog from Duck Hunt. I used to think Zelda II stunk until about two years ago until I got it for GameCube (still one of only two GameCube games that I own – the other being all 7 Sonic games for Sega Genesis) and loved it. I still look at Tecmo Bowl as one of the greatest sports games ever. I didn’t get into the Megaman or Castlevania games. I remember Ninja Gaiden was the hardest fricking game in the world. I didn’t get into the Final Fantasy games until VII for the Playstation although I’d like to go back and revisit the old ones. There were many great games on the original NES. I think part of what made the NES a great system was a fact that there were so many quirky (there is that word again) games that didn’t try to do too much. There were just a ton of decent of platformers and RPGs. They had sports games for sports you really didn’t care about in real life, but they made great games anyway – Super Dodgeball, Skate or Die, California Games, Black Bass.
When it comes down to it, there were two games that made me fall in love with the NES. The first game was Contra. It had quite possibly the lamest ending in a game ever – “Congratulations! You’ve
destroyed the vile Red Falcon and saved the universe. Consider yourself a hero.” That’s it? I just destroyed the mother freaking alien and all you can do is give me a pat on the back? Of course, had it not been for a little cheat code (up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-b-a-b-a-start), I wouldn’t have ever beaten the game in the first place. By the way – when I was at my buddy Cory’s apartment this past June, I found a cheat code that gave me unlimited spread. I had 30 lives, unlimited spread, and I was playing a game I’ve probably beat 100 times. Mother alien didn’t stand a chance. I just actually learned today that if you play it through again a second time, it’s even harder. How did I not know this? How did one of my friends with a subscription to Nintendo Power not fill me in on this bit of information? For well over 15 years, I’ve been playing Contra and quitting after I (cheat and then) beat the game the first time. Are you telling me that I could’ve have been doubling up on my Contra fun all of these years and didn’t even know it? This is so unfair…
The other game that I can still play all day and actually still have never beaten is Mike Tyson’s Punchout. I can’t touch Mike Tyson on this game. I think I still think of Mike Tyson as a good boxer to this day solely because of this game. I know he won all sorts of championships and he was untouchable for about a ten-year period of time, but all of his matches were on pay-per-view. In some ways, Mike Tyson of this game is the boxing equivalent to Bo Jackson in Super Tecmo Bowl. How can you not love a game where a 17-year old weighing 107 pounds is thrown into the ring with the scariest of scary fighters? A few random thoughts about Punchout:
- How did Glass Joe keep his boxing license? He was 38 years old, he weighed a whopping 110 pounds, and he always got walloped on. A 17-year old is able to beat on him in ways that Ike Turner only could’ve dreamed of. Can you imagine how bad Glass Joe would’ve gotten killed had he faced anyone decent? I’m imaging that the fake world of videogame boxing would place a star against a scrub just like the old WWF days where the Ultimate Warrior would fight some jobber named Steve Rosenberg who was wearing a single color wrestling singlet. Before this fight with Glass Joe was sanctioned, he had to apply for a boxing license and possibly go before a board. Someone would have had to taken a look at his record and said “yep, let’s let this guy with 99 losses in 100 professional fights get in the ring one last time.” Did they not think of things like liability in the 80’s?
- How does Piston Honda pretty much stink the first time you face him and then dominate the next time you face him? Do we need more proof that performance enhancing drugs were prevalent in 80’s videogames? Have you seen the size of his head? What exactly was the drug policy of Mike Tyson’s Punchout?
- Has anyone noticed that Don Flamenco is balding pretty bad for a 23 year old guy? How did they make this guy the “lover” character? He’s quite possibly the ugliest character besides the massively obese King Hippo, Glass Joe who looks like he’s about to have a panic attack, and Bald Bull & Soda Popinski who both have extremely mishaped heads.
- King Hippo taunts at you “I have my weakness. But I won’t tell you.” Should he really need to tell us? Did they not have some sort of boxing scouts? The guy has nine losses, so obvioiusly nine guys before you have figured out if you punch him in the mouth, you can knock him out by punching him over and over in the stomach. Why wouldn’t you know this information going into the match?
- Did you know that Soda Popinski’s original name was Vodka Drunkenski? How cool of a name is that? How much does originally naming a Russian character Vodka Drunkenski tell you about the Cold War? Seriously… had they gone through with this name, it would easily be the best videogame name in recorded history. By the way – I love the fact that this game is just chock full of polically incorrect racial stereotypes.
My parents never let me have a Nintendo. They were wonderful parents, but don’t think I won’t hold this against them for the rest of my life. Because of them, I nearly missed out on the golden era of videogames.
Dot… Dot… Dot…
Wow… two days in a row with decent updates. Someone mark this day down in history. It’s been awhile since I’ve done that! Anyway, thanks for checking out the site. I’ve been updating an average of 2-3 times per week, but the message boards stay pretty busy in the mean time. If you are looking for some more reading material, why don’t you check out five quick websites recommended by yours truly:
- Sethspeaks.net – Seth is active on the message boards plus he has quite possibly one of the best independent baseball blogs around with an emphasis on our beloved Twins.
- Sports Guy’s World – I’m currently reading Bill Simmons’ book about the Red Sox. He’s easily the funniest sports/pop culture writer around. I honestly don’t see how any guy could not like the Sports Guy.
- Digg.com – Covers tech as well as “tech culture” news. Constantly changing…
- 80’s Server – a message board where people like myself reminisce about the good old days.
- Prince of Persia – My favorite computer game from back in the day presented here in Flash.
If you’re out on your bike tonight, do wear white,