Wednesday, May 14, 2008

8 Bit Goodness: Best Nintendo Games EVER!

Pull out your Game Genie and dust off your old controllers, cause we're kicking it old school with the system that put console gaming on the map, the Nintendo Entertainment System. Everybody had a personal ritual to get their games to work, using hot breath on the cartridge opening, shaking the games violently, a gentle tap, or swabbing the chip with a "fool proof" mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. Even though you owned a zillion games, you treated every single one like the most precious commodity on the planet. Even if the game totally sucked, you played it until you developed something called "controller thumb", the Nintendo equivalent to carpal tunnel syndrome. Here is the fan requested (Patrick S.) list for the five games that changed your life!

5. Tecmo Super Bowl

While sports titles were not a strong suit of the 8 bit entertainment system, Tecmo was the first game to make you feel like you were actually playing the sport. Combining for the first time team logos and sports figures, now you could take control of your favorite players on this side scrolling NFL title. Tecmo also revolutionized sports gaming with season mode and the ability for you and all your friends to play in the same season and playoff bracket to determine who was the most awesome gamer. While Madden has become the definitive football franchise, few realize that without Tecmo Madden may not exist.
(Honorable Mention in Sports gaming goes to Bases Loaded, Blades of Steel, Mike Tyson's Punch Out, Ice Hockey, and Double Dribble)
4. Contra

You know the code...up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start. The select button was optional if you wanted to rock the game out with a friend. Despite the fact that this game only provided for 45 minutes of playtime, was there ever a short game that you played more? Seriously, what was it about this game that sucked you in over and over again? The unfortunate aspect of this game was it ruined many friendships when competition over the Spread gun erupted into physical violence. No matter how much people try to convince you, the laser sucks. The only consolation to missing out on the Spread gun was the Machine Gun. Die hard gamers know exactly what I'm talking about. If you want to renew your love affair with this title you can still find Contra on Xbox live arcade for only a few bucks. After all, kicking alien ass never gets old.

(Honorable Mention in Action Platforming goes to: Bionic Commando, Mega Man, Double Dragon, River City Ransom)
3. Metroid

This was a tough call putting this game here. It can easily make number one on many lists, but Metroid lacks the mass appeal of the two titles that edged it out. This game was so unparalleled in its depth and control scheme that you barely felt like you were playing a side-scrolling 8 bit title. Much like the number two game on the list Metroid combined action platforming and problem solving. It's unique array of weaponry immersed the gamer in a enigmatic universe taking game development to a whole new level. The only thing that could top this games mastery was its shocking ending whereby you learned this macho alien hunter was in fact a heroine. Served! It's no wonder the Nintendo empire has built every generation of Nintendo around a solid Metroid Title. This game would deserve a spot on an all-time list, even if it were side by side with graphically superior opponents.
(Honorable Mention Action RPG Hybrid: Castlevania, Metal Gear)

2. The Legend of Zelda

This is the only title that could possibly end a Metroid bid for number one game. You knew that you were in for an amazing game when you opened the package to reveal a gold cartridge. While I praised Metroid for its depth and breadth, Zelda surpasses our number 3 game in virtually every aspect. Zelda perfectly combined platforming, puzzle solving, and role playing with the right amount of attitude. Like Metroid, Zelda offered gamers a plethora of weapons to choose from and an equal amount of baddies to vanquish. Thank God for saving (also revolutionary) because I theorize that many gamers would have done intestinal and bladder damage to finish this game in one sitting. Like Metroid, Nintendo has created so many incarnations of this game, but none can compare with the original.

(Honorable mention Role-Playing: Dragon Warrior, Earthbound, Star Tropics, Final Fantasy)
1. Super Mario Brothers

I'm not going to cheese out and tell you that all the Mario games for Nintendo qualify for number one. I'm going to take a stand and hope that you argue with my decision. While some may say Super Mario III was the best because of Mario's ability to fly (which was HOT!) it would have been nothing without the original release. Super Mario Brothers IS the Nintendo Entertainment System. Regardless of age, sex, or race, Mario appealed to everybody. You could always tell a Nintendo Newbie (gamer-speak for newcomer) because when playing Super Mario they would physically move the gamepad to help Mario overcome longer jumps. Sidenote: And it took this long for Nintendo to think of motion sensitive joysticks? The game had a super high replay value regardless of how many time that douchebag Toadstool told you that your "princess was in another castle". Honestly who wears a mushroom on their head...tool! Fifty years from now, this game will still be the benchmark upon which the gaming industry measures success.


JamesBedell said...

There is of course no question that Super Mario Bros is the top title. However, I'm gonna have to go with SM III. Here's why.

SM-I was the start of something great but the psychedlic sequel (remember that acid trip?) was a dud. It was SM II that proved Mario could be a franchise, and the magic continues to this day.

Bryan Pol said...

OUTSTANDING post! The next NES-related list should highlight NES accessories. The Power Pad. The Power Glove. The Joystick that allowed you to repeatedly hit 'A' or 'B,' just by holding either button down. The Gun that came with 'Duck Hunt.' And, chances are people have difficulty remembering this one: the NES Robot! What did that thing even work with, anyway?

Patrick said...

METROID FTW! And yes, SMB3 was the definitive Super Mario game. I can't tell you how many hours I spent playing SMB3, and I can tell you my brother spent even more.

Pol: Damn good idea. The robot was called Rob and as far as I can remember it was only good for acting as a soda can holder. The only game that worked with it was Gyromite if I remember correctly....this stoner kid I knew was the only kid that had it, and he still had it years later.

Good lord, the Power Glove. We didn't have it, but thats a good thing. Every damn time I tried to use it, it ended with a friend's mom being pissed at me since I usually threw it somewhere.

One of the funniest memories of the 8-bit era was when my brother had finally got to Chaos in Final Fantasy. Well, the cart just decided to get bitchy and crapped out on him. I don't think my brother ever truly recovered from that moment.

I have been more of a computer gamer than a console gamer (being a web developer does that to you) so I probably can't hang with some of the crazy accomplishments on consoles, but I will tell you that the weekend I got the original Quake for PC, I stayed up 3 straight days playing it. Suck on that bitches! :)

Michael said...

a virtually flawless list

Patrick said...

ah know what can't be forgotten? Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. Some of that stuff in that game was so WTF.....kneel down next to a cliff and wait what seemed like a school year for a "tornado" to whisk you away to the next level? How the hell was I supposed to figure that one out short of reverse-engineering the damn cartridge and paying off Konami? But when you did figure that out, it was pretty damn sweet.