Friday, October 28, 2011

Before they were classics

Welcome back!

I thought I'd wrap up "Who am I?" week with a look at a few of my favorite NES games from my childhood. What better way to get to know a gamer than through the games he plays, right?

In all honesty, the idea for this post started as a look at all of my favorite games from my collection, but there were just way too many. I'm sure you can relate! 

That said, here are a handful of my top NES games!

Mega Man 2 (NES)
This copy of Mega Man 2 is the same copy that was given to me for my eighth birthday, 21 years ago. Honestly, I don't know how my parents knew to get me what is, inarguably, one of the best NES games of all time. Also, I didn't know that it was more of the more difficult games to be released for the system, either. I just played it and was happy. 

The music, the bosses, excellent control, and straightforward gameplay--it was enough to keep me hooked until I'd finished it, which--looking back-- is a pretty high accomplishment for an eight year old. With all of the repetition required getting to that point, it's one of the few NES games that I can pick up and still be any good at.

Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)
Along with California Games, Super Mario 2 was one of the games my brothers and I got with our Nintendo back in the Christmas of 1988. And while a lot of people dismiss the game for being so different from the rest in the series, that's precisely the reason I love it (well, that and the healthy dose of nostalgia I hold for it).

At this point, it's no secret that SMB2 is just a reskinned version of the Super Famicom game Doki Doki Panic, but in spite of that, some elements of the game, like carrying and throwing enemies are now mainstays of the series. Heck, the amazing ragtime music of the character select screen and overworld are reason enough to own a copy this game. Plus, it's a great challenge. I finished it a couple of times back in my youth, but I doubt I'd have much luck if I tried now.

Jackal (NES)
This battle will make your blood boil! Good luck!

I first played this game at Eric Stanton's house (I wonder what he's up to these days?) and have loved it ever since. But it wasn't unil probably a decade later that I owned my own copy.

Jackal is the most obscure game on my list, but it's also one of the most fun. A port of the 1986 arcade game, Jackal adds some unique twists to the standard shoot-em-up formula that almost put it in a genre of its own. And while I could go on about the nifty front-only firing machine gun, upgradable weaponry, clever "choose your own adventure" level design, and incredible Konami Drum Machine soundtrack, the real attraction here is being able to run over the tiny enemy soldiers as you tear through the enemy base. They make the most satisfying little "squish" sound. It's a lot for an eight year old to handle.

Ducktales (NES)
Ducktales ah-oooo-oo!

I distinctly remember saving up all of my allowance and birthday money, and buying this game from Toys 'R' Us. In 1989, I don't think I was quite old enough to understand how money really worked, but I was proud all the same. And yup, that's the same copy I bought way back then.

Funny thing about it is I didn't buy Ducktales because it was a good game (actually, it's a great game); I bought it because I liked Ducktales. That was a really lucky break on my part because licensed games have a pretty reliable track record of being absolutely terrible.

As a "wee lad," as Scrooge would say, I got endless enjoyment  out of bouncing him around on his cane like a pogo stick, and collecting every last hidden ruby in hopes of earning the best ending. And as an added plus, the game's a cake walk--and what kid doesn't like winning?


I showed you mine--what are yours? I'd love to hear what some of your favorite game are, old or new. Leave your list in the comments below, and thanks for playing along!

1 comment:

  1. Loved SMB2, but I actually thought it was easier than most of the others. And I'll happily second Mega Man 2 (really, the whole MM series) as having great gameplay and being seriously entertaining.