Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left right...

B, A, Start.

If you smiled/nodded/laughed in recognition, read on.

Today is the 20th anniversary of the original Nintendo Entertainment System reaching American soil.


I remember getting it when I was young, a few years after it came out. I remember playing it like crazy. I remember when my MOM beat Super Mario Bros. before I did. I remember playing Duck Hunt and getting close enough to the screen that my mom yelled at me for hitting the TV with the barrel of the gun. *tink, tink*

I remember being a subscriber to Nintendo Power Magazine for YEARS. Many years. And I saved almost all of them. I think they're all still in my parents' attic.

I remember vividly the day I got Super Mario 3. An overcast day. Riding home from 4th grade in my parent's old 1980 Plymouth Champ. My dad says, "Reach under your seat," with that half-smile he wears when he has a surprise. I reach under the beige vinyl seat and feel a plastic back, and through it, the familiar rectangular shape of a video game box. I start freaking out a little, but had no idea what it was. I pulled it out, pulled off the plastic to reveal the bright yellow box and Mario's smiling face. And I went NUTS. (My dad told me later that it cost him $65. Unbelievable, that. Even now, with $300-500 game systems, the games never seem to go past $50.) I played the game until dinner. And then after dinner.

I remember one Friday night, staying up with my mom (who was the other quasi-gamer in the house) until 5:30 in the morning, fueled by Pepsi (Mountain Dew for her), playing straight through, and only getting to World 6 (the Ice World, remember?).

I remember beating SM3 the first time. A Friday night. My parents were already asleep. I woke them. They were mildly irritated, but congratulatory.

I remember birthday parties that included Contra marathons. It took us all night, and we couldn't finish. Now, it takes mere minutes (as Trev can attest).

I remember Rob the Robot. The Power Glove. The NES Advantage that I wanted for YEARS and never got. The Power Pad.

I remember Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Trojan, two of the most frustrating games ever.

I remember Blades of Steel. Double Dribble. Super Spike V-ball. Major League Baseball. Tecmo Bowl. Tecmo Super Bowl (HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT). Paperboy. Metroid. Maniac Mansion. The Goonies II. (Whatever happened to Goonies I? just kidding.) Ninja Gaiden. Double Dragon. Castlevania. Excite Bike. Marble Madness. Final Fantasy. StarTropics. Countless crappy movie tie-ins. Bases Loaded. Tetris. Dr Mario. Yoshi. Smash TV. Rampage. Rolling Thunder. Code Name:Viper. Metal Gear!!! The Guardian Legend. Mega Man!!!!! THE LEGEND OF FREAKING ZELDA!!!!!

And then, of course, I remember the day the SNES appeared. I was already an avid gamer. Then, I became an ADDICT.

I still have my original grey NES that i got when i was six or so. And it still works.

So thank you, Mr. Miyamoto, and Happy Birthday, NES! Though I ultimately made the transition to Playstation, after YEARS of Nintendo brand loyalty (including that bizarre but cool 3-D system), I still reserve a special place for you.


So, PBB Readers: What was your favorite old-school Nintendo game, and why?


[On a mildly related (though rather sacreligous, considering the context) note, I picked up my first PSP game yesterday. MLB. Oh yes. Pretty.]

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