July 24, 2005
They Don't Make Em Like They Used To
This weekend, my old 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System showed up while my sister was finally going through all the crap she brought home after four years of living at ISU. I hadn't known where it was for two years, and it turned out she had it in her apartment in Normal but never played it much (if ever). Don't get me wrong, it doesn't bother me that she had it, it was just a mild surprise when she said it was in the basement. Anyway, to make a long story short, I had the old NES hooked up and it was glorious. To commemorate the discovery of the not-so-long-lost NES (and to alleviate some boredom) I've compiled a list of my favorite games for the classic NES. While I'm sure I forgot about a few games we don't have, the list is pretty complete as far as I can tell. I'll be referencing This contest held by GameFAQs.com last spring to decide the best game ever on any platform.
1. River City Ransom
River City Ransom has been my favorite NES game since i first played it way back win. If you've never heard of/played this game, it's basically a combination of your Generic RPG with a Double Dragon-style fighting game. If I remember right, it came out at about the same time as Double Dragon III. Even if it didn't it still was in Double Dragon's shadow a bit even though some, like me, loved the incorporation of RPG elements like collecting money to buy power-ups and new fighting techniques. The only downside was an extremely complicated password system that had at least 30 letters (case-sensitive), numbers, and symbols. GameFaqs.com had this game seeded 10th (NCAA baseketball style seedings were used, i.e. 4 divisions with 16 teams each) but alas it was defeated in the first round by Pong.
2. Super Mario Brothers 3
This may very well be the most popular NES game. The GameFAQs.com contest had it as a number one seed and it managed to make the semi-finals of the tournament where it lost to Chrono Trigger. This game was great because of how different every world was and all of the secret stuff within the game. To this day, when and why the coin ship shows up is a mystery to me. Playing on a dream cast emulator I went through a phase of trying to catch this guy before I found out it's not legit. I forget the exact number, but my time was somewhere between 15-18 minutes. Now that we have a real NES again maybe I'll give it another shot. Lord knows I have the time :P
3. Double Dragon III
Definitely the best pure fighting/beat em up game for NES. This game is pretty tough which is nice for a game in it's genre. I never did beat this one but i made it to the final boss a few times. I liked how the different guys had different fighting styles to keep the game from getting too repetitive.
4. Legend of Zelda
It's Zelda. The original. What more needs to be said? If I had a nickel for everytime I went broke playing the stupid rupie gambling game by the waterfall, I'd have a shitload of nickels. This game was a 3 seed and lost in the quarterfinals to Super Mario 3. Apparantly, these GameFAQ.com people have good taste.
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I-III
Not only were the my favorite cartoon growing up, but they were my favorite NES game series. All three games were different but great at the same time. When i was like 8, I remember calling my friend when I beat TMNT III by myself...we were both addicted to the game.
6. North Vs. South
Very well could have been my introduction to Realtime Strategy Games (like Starcrat or Command and Conquer) although the Realtime part left a lot to be desired. The game is incredible in how it actually managed to combine some historical effects into the game. Not many, but enough to make it seem somewhat like a historically accurate game.
7. Nintendo World Cup
Has the same animation as River City Ransom and it has the theme music of Double Dragon III. Pretty Good start. The game actually is a very good sports game with enough variation among players and teams to keep you interested.
8. Guerilla War
In this game, you are a guy whose home has been taken over by some army and you're going to fight to liberate it (now where have i heard that before...). It's a bit similar to the planned Bay of Pigs invasion (the islands's even shaped kind of like Cuba) except the good guys win in this one. We used to play this game for hours on end when we were younger. Pretty simple game: keep hitting B and shooting until the screen clears, but good enough for impressionable young kids who want nothing more than to blow shit up.
9. Road Runner
I didn't discover this game until I was a bit older buying some games from a video rental place that was no longer renting out NES games. For a dollar I figured I 'd try it. It's a damn good game. Avoid the coyote at all costs...and don't forget to eat your birdseed.
10. Marble Madness
This game I'm basing on memory but I remember enjoying every minute playing this game. With any luck, I'll have a version for NES, Computer, or something else. All it is, is guiding your ball though an obstacle course. I know, it sounds stupid, but think about trying to describe tetris to someone that's never played it. Obviously, I'm not the only one that liked it.
Honorable Mention: Tetris, Duck Hunt, Bart Simpson Vs. The Space Mutants, Mega Man Series
I never much liked Tetris until I was older so I had to relegate it to Honorable Mention. Duck Hunt wasa classic but a bit to repetitive. I remember finding a glitch or something that allowed me to shoot at the same spot and almost never miss. Space Mutants was defintiely the best simpsons game. Hard as hell but good. Of the Mega Man game, either III or VI is my favorite, although all of them before VI kind of run together in my memory since we only own VI.
Well there you go. This list wasn't easy to make, but it did make me suddenly want to go play Mario 3. As a side note, despite playing many games for NES, I do have to admit I missed out on really enjoying some classics like Final Fantasy I, Metroid, Contra, and Ninja Gaiden. I've played them all but not very much. Someday, I'll play them and I may have to amend my list, but for now: Grass Land, here I come.
You'd better bring that thing to school with ya... I have to see what this River City Ransomething is all about
Comment by: Dan at 3:44 AM, July, 24, 2005
Comment by: diddyp at 4:28 PM, July, 25, 2005
Well truth be told I don't actually have a copy of River City Ransom. My cousin always had it and it lived at my house up until a year or so ago and then I played it at ISU on an emulator and remembered the greatness. I'm working on getting a copy of River City and Marble Madness for my own though.
I'll bring it down but be warned: it's a bit old and crotchety and doesn't always cooperate. Part of it's our old games I know but part of it's still the system.
Comment by: Neil at 7:33 PM, July, 25, 2005
Oh yeah, as of my latest attempts, my best time to beat Mario 3 is 17:21 but another time I was at the final castle at about 12:30 and lost my composure and couldn't get through it in three lives. If I'd gotten through on one try it would've been a little over 14.
I'll catch you yet Mr. "I have to cheat to get 11 minutes"
Comment by: Neil at 7:37 PM, July, 25, 2005
I think I have to add a few more games to that list.
Adventures of Lolo
Super Tecmo Bowl
and a few others that I can't remember. I'll have to go bust out all my old games when I get back.
Comment by: andy at 1:49 PM, July, 27, 2005
SMB 3 time is officially down to 15:30
Comment by: Neil at 8:21 AM, July, 31, 2005