Friday, July 4, 2008

Top 5 Games on the NES

All I can say is I can't believe we didn't think of this before. So here's to all the wasted hours of my youth spent with the Nintendo Entertainment System!

Dan's Top 5:

1. Super Mario Bros. 3 - By far the best game in the entire system's history. It's hard to take a side-scrolling game - much less a Mario game - to a new level, but SMB 3 did it. This game was so huge, it required a major motion picture to unveil it. Of course, a more thorough review of both the game and the movie can be found courtesy of James Rolfe, the Angry Video Game Nerd.

2. Dragon Warrior - I really need to thank this game for saving me from what could have been an unhealthy obsession with the Final Fantasy series. I got the game free somehow - I seem to remember it being associated with my subscription to Nintendo Power magazine. Anyway, this game is the entire reason I've ever touched any subsequent RPG, and why I've never been surprised that I need to keep walking around outside to level up.

3. Marble Madness - The soundtrack to this game is burned into my memory. Really, it's a remarkably simple game taken from the arcade where you steer a marble towards a goal, trying to avoid both obstacles and the effects of physics. Like the board game Othello, it takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. Unlike Othello, this game will make your eyes bleed.

4. Battletoads - It seems that there might actually be mixed opinion on Battletoads. If so, then that's bullshit. Battletoads was such a unique idea that was so well-executed that it really breathed new life into the side-scrolling action genre later on in the platform's lifetime. In essence, it was the Vectorman of the NES. Know how much I loved Battletoads? I still remember that it was the cover-page game in issue #25 of Nintendo Power. And no, I didn't look that up.

5. Rampage - A giant lizard and a giant ape climbing and destroying buildings. That's it. This game is awesome enough that I don't need to write any more than that.

Honorable mention: Bases Loaded 2: Extra Innings, Dr. Mario, Duck Hunt, TMNT 2: The Arcade Game

Ryan's Top 5:

Surprisingly, I think this brought up more painful memories than happy ones. (I refuse to consider those fucking asshole crooks in Home Alone, a game I didn't beat until I had an emulator.)

Note: I was one of the rare kids who never owned MegaMan, Zelda, or Metroid. I think there's a support group now.

1. Super Mario Bros. 3 - I'm sorry, this is #1, period, on anyone's list. The day my mom bought me this game remains one of my most powerful childhood memories. If I spent one-tenth of the time and energy I gave this game on something more worthwhile, we'd probably have a cure for cancer by now. My bad, folks.

2. Castlevania - I suppose I spent more time watching my dad play this game than actually playing it, but that's like saying I spent more time on War and Peace than on Les Miserables. (Read it again folks, the weirdest analogy ever.) Anyway, this game scared me when I was a kid in the same way that rated-R movies did; it left me wanting more, more, more. If we ever go vampire-hunting, I'll be the one smashing candelabras and scouring the shards for hearts.

3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 - The first game in the series reminds me of that riddle about the boulder; can God create a game so hard that even He can't beat it? Anyway, it didn't dampen my enthusiasm for all things Turtle (up to and including this), so when game #2 came out, a little more light started shining in my world.

4. Duck Tales - If you never played this game, then you're probably puzzled by its presence in a Top 5 list. If you played this game, you know. You know.

5. Mike Tyson's Punch Out - It was this or Jaws. This game I easily watched more than I played, at my friend's house with every kid in the neighborhood. Who cares? I remember specific bouts with King Hippo or Don Flamenco better than any real-life boxing match. And hey, why has no one ever made a remake of this game?

Honorable mention: Jaws (probably my #6), Super Mario Bros 1, Tecmo Bowl (Joe Montana 94 was the first football game I was obsessed with), Tetris (more of a gameboy thing), Double Dragon 2, Ninja Gaiden (damn it, I did the whole list and left out Ninja Gaiden, damn it, damn it, damn it, all right, let's pretend this didn't happen, move along, move along...), Duck Hunt, Bubble Bobble, Marble Madness, NOT HOME ALONE.

Tim's Top 5:
Because my parents loved us, they didn't have to give my brother or myself a NES until we were almost too old to enjoy it. Emphasis on almost. Thus, we could stop making friends with people based on the available gaming options they had. However, it also shows because I owned...four of the games that get mentioned on the list at all (SMB3, Super Off Road, NES Play Action, Darkwing Duck, Baseball Stars) -- the rest were rentals, so my love for them was developed quickly, but has lasted to this day. I also didn't have any Zelda games (good for me, I've since determined), Metroid, Tecmo Bowl...

1. Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves - I have endorsed this game to everyone I know that I have ever so much as mentioned a Nintendo game to. Basically, four people. I didn't own the game, but I rented it, and that was enough to make me want to play it forever...but then my Nintendo died. The best thing about it was that you could play as multiple characters, including Azeem, which is the closest you'll ever get to being Morgan Freeman. It gives you multiple perspectives (who can forget melee mode?), and you kept adding people to your crew, including Duncan, who is blind. It mixes RPG elements with the actual gameplay. If you never played it, you can see it on this guy's Youtube review, although he hates the game. http://spoonyexperiment.com/games/RobinHood/

2. Super Mario Bros. 3 - I was actually the asshole who enjoyed Super Mario Bros. 2, but I was outvoted 1-1 by my brother, so we never actually owned it. This game just had a lot of great stuff in it. The graphics were a huge improvement on anything we'd seen from Nintendo, it was in the awesome movie The Wizard starring Fred Savage, the raccoon tail that would enable you to fly...that came from a leaf (none of these things are indicative of flight in the outside world), the Tanooki suit that was all but unusable, but cool anyway. The frog suit that would be awesome in some levels and a total hindrance if you managed to keep it beyond the water levels. The only real downside was that it was too easy to get all of these things, so there was no real challenge to the game when you got the strategy guide free with Nintendo Power.

3. Dr. Mario - All right, I only ever played this for the Nintendo 64, but it's one of the greatest games ever concocted by human minds. Even though it's very similar to Tetris, it discriminates against the color blind. Good enough for me. Oh, it also turns out that I'm really really good at Dr. Mario 64. That's all it takes.

4. Ivan "Ironman" Stewart's Super Off Road! - Ah, Ivan "Ironman" Stewart, your fame will never...begin. To this day, I have no clue who you are, though presumably you drive a truck through mud and run over nitro tablets. It was one of the rare games where I could occasionally beat my brother, though even that was rare. I'm not sure what it was that made me so videogame incompetent then, though I know that it probably carries on to this day.

5. NES Play Action Football - This was the football game I played, not that stupid Tecmo Bowl that everyone remembers. It's really not a very good game, and its comical reduction of football teams to only two or three changeable positions and a bizarre ratings system that made Maurice Carthon a tremendous running back and Ottis Anderson a drooling mental defect incapable of outrunning a defensive tackle or breaking a tackle from a cornerback with a 'boop' noise were among this game's many charms. It also reduced the NFL to 10 teams, but still included Sammy Winder.

Honorable mention: The Mega Man series, Darkwing Duck, Ninja Gaiden, Baseball Stars - you could upgrade your players...it was an amazing innovation, though ultimately self-defeating since you would get better ... and then the game would get easier, Star Wars (not The Empire Strikes Back, that game was ludicrously hard, I don't think I ever got beyond the Ice Planet Hoth), Not Bart vs. the Space Mutants. We paid a lot of money for that lousy game.

1 comment:

Dan said...

I actually considered adding Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, but I never did own it and didn't hae very much experience with it.