Favorite NES Games. Part One.
[I was going back through an old video game blog and had forgotten about this list! I’m reposting it over here on the medium account so I can have all of my list writing in one spot. Enjoy (again)! These are from January of 2016.]
After going back through Mega Man 2, I jumped onto the Wii U and 3DS and was going through the old NES games and really just wanted a different vibe. It had a lot of those games that I had enjoyed playing, but ultimately felt like there were very few that I really genuinely wanted to download and spend the time on. Not sure what it was. But I started waxing back and realizing that there were so many games back on that system that I wanted to return through and spend time on and really get all the way into.
So here comes a list! By no way will it be definitive or concrete or even based in fact. This one is fueled almost entirely on nostalgia and my perception of the games as they were back in the day. I was able to jot down a bunch of titles that I really loved just from memory. I pored over a few wikis and googled a few best-of lists to jog my memory a little bit, but the list has ultimately remained the same. I’m trying to break it up a little bit because I’ve become an expert, for the most part, at beginning an endeavor and wanting to do this full, huge list and spending so much time on it that I eventually lose interest in it by the time it’s supposed to be finished and I have nothing to show for it.
So the first part is a little bit of a two parter within that. One is a super memorable title in my brain for all the wrong reasons and the next four are games that I just wasn’t ready for at the time I was playing them. Hit me up with some of the games that fit this/these categories for you!
The Game I Never Should Have Bought
Man. So, this is really my lowest point as an NES gamer. This wasn’t even taking a chance on a game at the local game rental place, dubbed Cheap John’s (which we would later migrate to Mister Video due to the fact that it was right across the street. WHICH BTW was an elementary school kid’s DREAM). This was Mom asking me if I wanted to pick out a game from Toys R Us and I just went OFF. I wanted something new and I wanted something that I could just pick from ANYTHING I wanted. I went up and down the aisle of slips and I remember it took FOREVER. I took SO LONG to pick this one. And I settled on it simply because of the color and the name. And the back of the box just looked like, eyy, a platformer and the dudes talk like DUUUUUDES and… it got me. What a bummer. I found out just now that this game was called “Magic John” in Japan, and if it had been called that here, I never would have had the experience I had with this game. It was awful, man. I think you could change into different forms of yourself which would give you different guns that you shot? And the boss battles were hard and irrelevant. I don’t know. It stands out in my mind as one of those moments where my Mom really wanted to do the right thing and young, chunky Steven squandered it. No joke, I think from there, that’s a major moment of me not just wanting to go into a store and “just pick something.” Woof.
The Games I Wanted So Badly To Love But Just Didn’t Understand
A large part of my interest in the “Games That Were Way Too Much For Me” category are thanks in part to someone who I’ll probably mention often, as the interest in video games started so early on in large part thanks to him. My cousin was always into these RPGs in a major way. He was into the video games, and also got me into the tabletop stuff. And I was always trying really hard to keep up, although so much of what I was trying to get into was WAY over my head. But looking back, I can’t believe the amount of patience he had with me. I can only imagine how many times he would just want to trudge through his game and I was asking questions and asking if I could get a turn at it. it’s just not how that genre is laid out. OOF. Sorry, cous. But this one, even thinking back, it really took the cake in terms of being in too deep. There were a bunch of races, a bunch of classes, and fairly vague and numerical/roll based combat.
There was just so much information on the screen at once. In my mind, it’s always been burned into my mind as a super complex game and really meant for true fans of the genre. Just not easy to digest at all. Thinking back, I really want to get into it and really “get it.” Probably won’t. It’s still, to me, just like The Abnormal from that episode of Doug. Maybe I can actually see the zipper if I go back, though….
Same concept as Ultima, different level. Patiently leveling up and going back to the castle and saving and not understanding that sometimes you should just be fighting slimes for a few hours instead of hoping you can run away enough times to make it to the end of the game just wasn’t my deal. But I remember loving the visuals and the fact that you could fight a happy-looking slime really touched me when I was young. Its kind, 8 bit graphics really made me feel like I could make something happen there. Boy, was I wrong.
Clash At Demonhead
I remember loving this game. I think the soundtrack is burned into my head. The weird goat bray or whatever it was when you die is still in my brain. But also in my brain is the Metroidvania style of item collecting and getting purely stuck at a certain point and not knowing what items to bring to certain areas and not knowing how to get past a certain zone. Mentally, I have DAYS worth of time in that game and just couldn’t get by this certain part. I seem to remember a massive boss character that none of my weapons would do any damage to and also an area where I would NEED a lava suit to get past. I think? But I just don’t remember. I remember playing through the game several times, just to get caught up at that one single place every time. Still no clue what was actually going wrong. But I know it was a great game and I know I spent full weekends playing it, sometimes leaving the game on pause overnight just to be able to come back to it. It was such a deep game. With shops and money and trying to earn enough money to eventually get items and stuff. I don’t know. It was just great. But my young mind was a few steps away from really grasping it properly to be able to take it where I needed to go.
A Boy and His Blob
A game I always wanted to get good at but was too young to really put together the concept of a puzzle game. To put together that there were context clues strewn throughout the level and I really needed to know when and where to appropriately throw the right bean. Instead, I was throwing beans in the blob’s mouth and just marveling that I was changing his shape based on what I was feeding him. So rad. Glad that Wii eventually rereleased a version of the game. And also that it’s coming to Xbox One at some point soon. I’ll probably play the newer cuter version just as an homage.
Over the next week or so I’ll drop another few games and show my favorite 25 NES titles. As always, would love to hear what else you guys remember and love from that phenomenal console. For me, yo, what started it all.