This fall the Nintendo Entertainment System will become 35 years old! This was the first video game system that me and my brother owned. I remember he got it for his 7th birthday in 1986. Our mom was picking us up from school and when we got in the car, the NES and the game Ghosts & Goblins were in the back seat. We immediately freaked out and couldn't wait to get home to hook it up. Of course, I was only 6 and my brother 8 so we had no idea what needed to be hooked up where, so we had to wait for Dad to get home. Once he did, he hooked up the NES, we pushed in that "Power" button on the front and as soon as that little light went red, we were in a brand new world of fantasy controlled by us! Our system came with R.O.B. the robot, the game Gyromite, the NES Zapper & Duck Hunt. Since that October day I have been a die hard Nintendo fan and in the 80s Nintendo was king. Here are a few of the games I had growing up that still bring out the warm fuzzies in me!
Contra (Konami, 1988)
This game is probably on most people's top Nintendo game lists, but the reason it is on mine is because of the fun we used to have trying to beat this game. This was before the age of internet and we had no idea of the "KONAMI CODE" at the time. When we did discover this code that is now burned into every 80s kids brain (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Select, Start) our minds were blown! At that point it wasn't about if we could beat the game or not, but how fast we could beat the game. This opened our eyes to the possibilities of other cheat codes and hidden treasures in our favorite video games.
Double Dragon II: The Revenge (Acclaim, 1990)
Back in the day, myself and my brother had to save our money and then pool it together so we could buy a new game. This meant money from allowances, extra jobs and birthdays all were spoken for. Most of the time we had an idea of what game we wanted and this was one of those times. We loved the first Double Dragon and couldn't wait to sink our teeth into the sequel. The reason this game stands out to me is because, this was a co-op game which meant me and my brother had to work together to defeat Willy and avenge the death of Billy's girlfriend Marion. We had a ton of fun doing so, but mostly when we played the 2-player game "B". This was the version where you would play side by side, but still have the option to beat each other up. My brother took full advantage of that!
Dragon Warrior (Enix, 1989)
My family got their copy of Dragon Warrior as part of the great Nintendo Power giveaway campaign in the early 90s. We subscribed to Nintendo Power Magazine for 2 years and got the Dragon Warrior game, strategy guide and a cool Nintendo Power pin! I honestly, didn't like the game to begin with, but my Dad became hooked. He would play the game every night after us kids would go to bed and every morning when we woke up, he would tell us what he had accomplished the night before. My Dad's enthusiasm for the game and the game itself introduced me to the world of RPGs. Eventually I became hooked and beat the game on my own, which was very satisfying. Not bad for a FREE throw-in game!
Major League Baseball (LJN, 1988)
This was actually a game from LJN that didn't suck! I remember my Dad got this game for us the summer of '88 along with the NES MAX controller. I remember playing this game on cool summer evenings, with the windows open in our house and listening to the motorcycles drive by. I always played as the NY Mets and to this day I am still trying to top 100 runs in a single game!
Gyromite (Nintendo, 1986)
This was the first ever Nintendo game I played. What a crazy introduction to the world of 8-bit video games! We played the game with R.O.B. the robot initially as we were sucked in by the novelty of the toy, but over time we got bored watching how slow he would react. You would walk up to either a red or blue colored pillar and R.O.B. would recognize this, he would grab a spinning top off the spinner, and slowly turn towards another controller that had a blue or red button. Once the button was pushed by R.O.B. dropping the top on it, the pillar would move. Eventually it evolved to either us being able to push the buttons with our toes while controlling the character on screen or we would play co-op style which led to many unfortunate and deliberate squashings of our character.
Well, there you have it! Some of my fond memories from the early days of gaming. Of course there are a million more like playing Ice Climber and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or that time I left an ice pop on top of our NES and it melted (I can never forget the look on my Dad's face as he took the thing apart and tried to clean it at the dining room table in the dark), but those can wait for another time. Let me know about some of your favorite NES games or memories in the comments below and always remember when your playing Nintendo, you're playing with POWER!