Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, NES

As a child of the '80s, there's a lot of pop-culture influences on my childhood. But nothing, and I do mean nothing, influenced me quite like the Nintendo Entertainment System. I remember playing the games, but I also remember stuff like the Power Glove, Captain N, Nintendo Power, the Nintendo Cereal System, the Super Mario Bros Super Show, GamePro TV (ok, technically that was early '90s), and Video Power (again, technically early '90s). Pop culture of the late '80s and early '90s was heavily influenced by the NES in a way that modern gaming couldn't possibly replicate. And without the NES, I probably wouldn't have spent the last 25 years playing way too many video games instead of doing something worthwhile like curing cancer or something.

Well today, October 18th, marks 25 years since the NES's debut in America. And in honor of Nintendo's iconic console, here are my 10 favorite NES games off all time. They might not be the best, mind you, but they were the ones I played the most and have the fondest memories of. So, in no particular order...

Mega Man 2 - The game that introduced me to Mega Man, which went on to be one of my all time favorite series (I had all of the NES games except 6).

Mega Man 3 - I know I'm a minority, but I've always thought that this was the best of the NES Mega Man games. The soundtrack was awesome, the bosses were awesome, plus you got to fight the Robot Masters from Mega Man 2. And Proto Man!

Super Mario Bros 3 - Pretty much every kid that had an NES had the original Super Mario Bros. I remember when SMB2 came out thinking how disappointing it was because it wasn't much like the original (it would be years before I'd learn why). SMB3 wasn't just a return to the gameplay of the original, it was a vast improvement in every way. The result was probably the best NES game of all time.

The Legend of Zelda - The instruction manual to this groundbreaking game explained the story, but the game itself had you start, alone and unarmed, in the middle of the screen with absolutely no direction. And this was before the internet, so you couldn't just look for where to go or what to do next on Gamefaqs. I remember roaming the land for weeks looking for dungeons, heart containers, and other secrets, and sharing what secrets I found with other kids at the lunch table. You kids who grew up thinking Ocarina of Time was the greatest game ever don't know what you're missing, as later Zelda games fail to capture the magic of the original.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 - As a kid who loved the Ninja Turtles, I thought that the arcade game was about the coolest game ever (indeed, much better than the first TMNT game on the NES). I was super stoked when I found out that it was coming out on the NES. I remember saving up my allowance to buy it. Ah, memories...

Punch Out!! - The best boxing game ever made, until the new one came out for the Wii. Never could get past Bald Bull, though.

Final Fantasy - Technically, I got this game because a friend of mine already had an SNES and let me play Final Fantasy II, but I'll be damned if I didn't have an awesome time with it, trying out different parties, hunting down and beating a WarMech, etc.

Dragon Warrior III - While Final Fantasy might have reigned supreme for me during the SNES days, this was the definitive RPG of the NES era.

Castlevania III - I never did get Grant, but I still got further in this game than the first one. I didn't like the second one.

Duck Hunt - The only game I ever owned that used the pack-in Zapper.

Honorable mentions go to Super Mario Bros, Castlevania, Mega Man, Mega Man 4, Mega Man 5, Rescue Rangers, Batman, Super Dodgeball, and Skate or Die 2... they might not have had quite the impact the other 10 did, but I still spent way too much time playing them.

So how about you guys? What 10 NES games were your favorites? Sound off in the comments.

1 comment:

TOONZi said...

Ninja Gaiden 1 & 2, Mega Man 2, 3, & 5, Duck Tales...i remember all those in my regular rotation among others.