NES Retrospective – Final

I started this project exactly five months ago yesterday, and today marks the conclusion to my first console venture. I’m not really sure how to write this post, hell, part of me wasn’t sure I’d even have to. I guess I’ll start it off just like any other…

History:

My earliest memories are of me playing my NES, on my little TV in my little red plastic chair. My mom worked at a video store when I was young, and during the summer I’d go with her and sit behind the counter, plugging in rental systems and picking games off the shelf. For a tiny gamer I was truly living the dream. I also meant I got first crack any new games that were coming out, notably Sonic 2 and 3.

I remember my mom looking at the game boxes, and the on screen warning, telling me to MAKE SURE I tell her immediately if I start experiencing any muscle spasms or eye twitching or… seizures… These were interesting times.

When I wasn’t lining up empty rental boxes like dominoes I was almost exclusively playing NES games. Everything from GI Joe to Base Wars, a baseball games wherein your team was comprised of giant robots who would sometimes fight.

At home it was all Mario and Mega Man, with a bit of Kickle Cubicle mixed in for good measure. My whole family played games. Before we had a NES in the house my parents would sit and play Master System games like Ghostbusters and Fantasy Zone. The memory alone has me shopping around for a Power Base Converter, if not a Master System itself. We had an NES around the same time we had a Sega Genesis, and while my parents would whip out the notebook for Might & Magic: Gates to Another World on Sega’s console, my cousins and I were would be held up in the bedroom taking turns on Super Mario 2. I think, in that regard, I was lucky, as even now my family has a reasonable understanding of my obsession hobby.

Sadly, once we got an SNES in the house and my dad and I discovered the unparalleled joy that is Super Mario World, the NES was forever relegated to dust collection duty…

Expectations:

I was actually probably more excited going into the NES than I am going out. I am SO ready for some 16-bit gameplay at this point. Still, I wanted to go in and find some gems that I missed as a child, and I definitely accomplished that! I knew I’d be spending the back half of this one playing most of the games I remember growing up, and may have even played recently, but it was the front half that I was hoping would deliver.

What I wanted in the NES were some fun games that ranked low in complexity. I knew all about “NES Hard” going into this, and that held true for sure.

Finally, I wanted to go into this hoping to prove to myself that “retro” didn’t have to mean “quaint”. We all like to talk about these old games and how AMAZING they are compared to today’s selection, but the reality is most of us wouldn’t really be all that entertained if all we had to play was Super Mario and Legend of Zelda. I certainly wouldn’t tell anyone I didn’t hate to play Final Fantasy I over, say, 4 or 6.. or 5… 3… maybe 2…

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NES – #1 – Super Mario Bros. 3

History:

Another defining game of my childhood, though I probably never really gave it the attention it deserved at the time. I think I may have beaten it once, I definitely remember World 8, but it’s blurry. Actually, one of my more vivid memories of this game was from the end of The Wizard, which at the time I thought was AMAZING!

Expectations:

I remember world 1-4 and 8, so, I’ll be making my attempt without warp pipes. I think I’ll be able to beat this one, which would be nice considering my current track record with NES Mario games. Friend of mine says I won’t be able to beat this one in a single night. We’ll see…

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NES – #2 – Mega Man 2

History:

This was one of my favorite, if not my actual favorite, games as a kid, right there with Mega Man 3. I’ll never forget Air Man and Bubble Man’s stages and even now various music tracks from the game are running through my head. It’s been over a decade since last I played it, and I’m looking forward to playing it again. Additionally, the copy I’ll be playing was my actual copy of the game from ~25 years ago, so there’s that, too!

Expectations:

I beat Mega Man 3, so I should be able to get through this one as well. Either way, it’s gonna be awesome.

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NES – #3 – The Legend of Zelda

History:

My real history with the Zelda franchise doesn’t really start until the N64 era. Still, I’ve rented this entry more than a couple times and have never made any real progress with it. Every time I play this game I get lost, then get bored. Come to think of it, I don’t know that I’ve ever even been in a dungeon!

Expectations:

I recently tried to play Link to the Past and just couldn’t really get into it. I feel terrible for it, but it’s true. The original game is even worse in that regard. Still, I’m going to give it best effort, and plan on at least seeing a decent chunk of the game.

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NES – #4 – Metroid

History:

I never played the NES Metroid game.

Expectations:

So… Hm… I don’t, much, actually, care for the Metroid series. There, I said it. I don’t think that Super Metroid is the gem of the SNES and I got bored after spend a short amount of time with Metroid Prime. I don’t see myself looking at this game much differently. Regardless, I’m going to try to have fun with this one.

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NES – #6 – Super Mario Bros. 2

History:

I tend to relate every game console to where I was in my life, or maybe it’s the other way around, I’m really not sure anymore. Anyway, when it comes to the NES, I remember that being the time when video games were this new, fun, family activity. When adults would talk about finding warp pipes and breaking high scores without being embarrassed about it as would become the trend in the mid-late 90’s. With Super Mario 2 specifically, I remember spending more time watching my dad and uncle try to navigate this game, than actually playing it myself! As much as I try to tell myself that I hate this game for being some kind of bastardized, simplified reskin of a game for us poor Americans, all I have to do is hear those opening notes of 1-0 and I’m immediately sent back to my childhood.

Expectations:

I don’t think I’ve ever beaten this game. I remember a lot about it, bits and pieces, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the end credits. That’s obviously my goal here, and I think I might be able to pull it off this time. After playing the first Super Mario earlier in this project though, I definitely want to try to do it without warp pipes!

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NES – #7 – Metal Gear

History:

I’ve actually never played a Metal Gear game before… Like… At all. Never been a fan of the series, never bothered to sit down and actually try one of the games before outside of the occasional minute or less at a friend’s house.

Expectations:

I’ve been told that this is a very difficult game, but I seem to have more luck with shooters than any other genre on this console, so I’m hoping for a good time. I really don’t know what to expect.

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