I have been a gamer ever since I was four years old. My earliest memories of gaming was back in the early eighties. I was then the proud owner of the Commodore Plus 4 computer. Amongst the games which I can remember playing in those early years of my existence were Fire Ant and a game called Icicle Works (in which you played as Father Christmas) collecting presents to form the main toy or gift you would make at the end of the level.
Following on from that I was then donated a Spectrum 48k and played all of those classics such as Wizball, Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy and Daley Thompsons Decathlon. As much as I enjoyed those formative years in gaming. No other console resonated with me as much as the fabled NES (Nintendo Entertainment System).
The NES is and probably will be my favourite console of all time. It could be argued amongst the gaming community that the NES also had the best library of any console that has been released. So much choice, so much variety. What stands out more for me is how many IPs started out on the NES and are still going today. We just need Konami to get a wiggle on and sort themselves out with some of their creations.
Some of the best gaming days and experiences I had with the NES. Back in the late 80’s and very early 90s hardly anyone had a NES or even a games console. Most people I knew had a Spectrum or a Commodore 64. It was a wonderful sight and treat when I was out shopping with my parents and if we ever walked past a Currys, Dixon’s and Toy and Hobby we got to play on a demo NES system which was in these stores.
You could choose a game to play out of five or six I think, then get to play said game for five minutes before it would reset again. Suddenly I started noticing Nintendo everywhere. More shops had the NES in, it was featured more on television adverts and more than anything word of mouth was getting around my school about as we called it. “The Nintendo”.
At Christmas 1990 myself and my brothers received the NES Action Set with the Zapper, Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt. My main present that year was a Yamaha Keyboard, it hardly got touched due to the NES. That’s how powerful and addictive it was back then .
My parents resigned themselves that I was not going to be a world class pianist and I’m pretty sure they ended up either swapping the keyboard back at Dixons for more NES games. As a couple of days after Christmas we had gained Excitebike and Bubble Bobble to our library. What a Christmas.
It is hard to believe the Super Mario Bros 3 has yet to be spoken about on here. It is one of the all-time classic Super Mario Games albeit slightly different from the original Super Mario Bros but still an absolute diamond of a video game. So much so that Super Mario Bros 3 received a 16 bit upscale for the release of Super Mario Allstars on the Super Nintendo. We could re-live the entire experience in a much better resolution back in the 90s.
Nintendo released Super Mario Bros 3 in 1988 on the NES. Back then the new top down perspective overlooking each world looked stunning and certainly influenced the styles in numerous other Mario game namely Super Mario World and the New Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo DS. So there’s a legacy right? Of course there is. This is a Super Mario game after all and it seems fair to suggest that most Mario game games leave a long standing legacy. Name a series or gaming franchise that is more popular that the Super Mario Bros (including spin offs)?
Super Mario Bros 3 contains eight worlds that Mario must battle though over fifty levels in order to rescue the the pesky Princess. Why pesky? I could not help but feel annoyed with Princess Peach throughout my younger years. I used to wonder how can she be so helpless and why is she constantly getting herself caught? The answer is obvious. Super Mario Bros 3, like many Super Mario games, adopts a classic formula of Hero saving the damsel in distress. Ta da. It works very well and provides an excellent story for Super Mario Bros 3 to build upon. Throw in some amazing Power-ups like the Mushroom, Tanooki Suit, Flower and more and voila.
Amidst the eight world’s are eight big bosses and eight mini bosses that are half way though each world. That seems like a pretty basic fact but it’s a pinnacle part of the game. As a kid I found the mini bosses very difficult which often left my confidence decreasing the closer I got to the final boss (of the world). Don’t forget that Super Mario Bros 3 was the first game to adopt this type of structure: overhead world’s containing two bosses. This holds true in Super Mario World also.
Guest Blog by Justin @JQWits
DuckTales was easily one of my favorite NES titles growing up as a kid in the 90’s. It was a game that I played so often that I literally have multiple images of it burned into my brain like some old, beaten up arcade cabinet from that same era. And even though I owned the physical cartridge for DuckTales, it remained a game that I had never beaten until just recently; over twenty years later. Remember when games were next to impossible to beat? Well I do (mostly because I wasn’t very good at them), and although I was never able to defeat the final boss in DuckTales as a child, there was still something about this game that made it stand out from the mostly mediocre titles that plagued the NES during the console’s lifespan. But what really makes DuckTales such a great game? Why was it so much better than the majority of games available at the time? Well, for starters the soundtrack is one of the best to ever grace the Nintendo Entertainment System; a bold statement if I do say so myself.
Or maybe it was because the game had characters we all knew and loved due to the popular DuckTales television show of the time. (Who didn’t come home after a long day at school to find Scrooge McDuck diving into his money pit, swimming around like a kid in a candy store)? Or maybe it was because the game was made by Capcom, and how basically everything that Capcom released on the NES in the late 80’s - early 90’s was nothing short of spectacular (see: Little Nemo: Dream Master, Ghost ‘n Goblins, or Strider). Or maybe it was the striking resemblance DuckTales had to the Mega Man series (another insanely popular Capcom franchise at the time). Whatever it was, it's more than just nostalgia that has kept me coming back to this wonderful game, time and time again.
In fact, this game was so popular that in 2013 it was remade into what can only be described as an abomination against video gamers everywhere and should never be mentioned again, like that strange bird-man from the Harry Potter movies...but, I digress. It's often said that if you want your happy childhood memories to remain...well happy, then you shouldn't go back and try to re-live them (because it won’t go well, like some pathetic high school graduate going back to school to party with the new freshman). And sometimes this can be true, like in the case with DuckTales: Remastered. But luckily for myself and for NES enthusiasts all around the world, this couldn't be further from the reality when it comes to DuckTales for the NES. Because when it comes down to it, a great game is a great game no matter how much time has passed since it was released, and nothing, not even some sub-par remake, will ever change that.
Guest Blog by Kevin K @Agent_Prince
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has been going through a massive resurgence in the last couple of years, coinciding with the purchase of the rights by Nickelodeon. This has led to the production of a great new animated show (which is now on season 4 and it’s rather good), toys, merchandise, and a return to grace in its originating comic book medium.
With the upcoming Activision/Platinum Games collaboration imminent, what better time than to recommend 4 of the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games of all time, each one representing one of the team. Cowabunga dudes!
Michaelangelo = TMNT the Arcade Game (Arcade, 1989)
Video gaming at its classic best. Back in 1989, this style of arcade was everywhere: Scrolling beat em ups. What was cool was the original cabinets allowed for 4 players on screen at once, for the full team experience. It was challenging.
In typical coin-op style you had little health that soon depleted, having to part with your cash for more credits. That might sound terrible, but such was the appeal of kicking the crap out of Foot Soldiers and the supporting bosses such as Bebop, Rocksteady, even Krang, it is tough to walk away because kicking butt is what the Turtles are all about. Like Michaelangelo, TMNT Arcade is fun in short bursts, but just simple and repetitive.
Masayuki Uemura; a mild mannered, friendly engineer from Kyoto, Japan is the brains behind the Famicom and Nintendo Entertainment System. The NES is just over 30 years old and still seems to be going strong within the retro gaming community. To commemorate the esteemed 8bit console Uemura travelled to the NYU Game Centre last year and presented a talk about the development of the Nintendo Entertainment System. That very same talk was presented to a small group of individuals, including myself on Tuesday 29 January 2016 at The National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham, England. A few hours before the seminar began myself and Retro Gamer Magazine had the pleasure of a more intimate affair in an exclusive interview which can be viewed above.
Uemura (with the aid of his remarkable translater, Aki) presented a two hour talk that began right at the beginning with a few slides that reminded us at just how important Nintendo are as a company. Beginning in 1889, Nintendo began to develop Hanafuda cards, Japanese playing cards that could be used to play numerous games. Nintendo went on to develop other kinds of toys and games (including a form of Lego called Block). Slightly before the Game & Watch craze swept across Japan, Nintendo were busy making a range of Plug and Play. The company was eager to create TV Games to allow families to have their own gaming experience from the comfort of their own living rooms but as with everything, nothing lasts forever. It seemed to me that the Plug and Plays were limited and Nintendo wanted to push their creative juices further in to the consumer market.
Retro Game Reviews. Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, Sega Dreamcast and more
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