Thirty and Thriving: 14 Reasons to Celebrate Retro Gaming
The Godfather. Yoda. Short Round. Alfred. Gandalf.
All great stories have them – Some are the beginning of an epic tale, others are the mentor and friend that we didn’t know we needed, some are the wise old man saying, “I told you so” while drinking whiskey and reminiscing about days gone by.
Then sometimes, once in a great while, a revolution happens. It becomes a movement that revives an ideal we thought was gone. It paves the way for greatness and gives the people hope for a new thinking. It is the grandfather we hear about during graduation celebrations and locker room speeches. It is the misquoted inspiration of your favorite Instagram photos.
The Nintendo Entertainment System.
Mana of our forefathers
In honor of the NES celebrating its 30th anniversary of North American release this coming July, we here at NerdCorps have come up with the 14 games still thriving as their 30th birthday looms on the horizon.
Without further ado, 14 reasons to celebrate Retro-Gaming:
14. Wrecking Crew: Mario has fallen on hard times (I mean, who wants to hire a plumber who thinks a princess is trapped at the end of your pipes? Something is trapped, but it certainly ain’t a princess…) and takes a side job as a demolitions expert. Shit gets blown up. Hammers are thrown. Also, snakes.
13. Wild Gunman: Who needs a shooting range when you have 8-bit zapper games? A delightfully racist way (think Speedy Gonzalez) to improve your quick draw skills.
12. Gyromite: Your very own Robotic Operating Buddy, or R.O.B. for short, plays beside you and makes moves based on your moves and visual cues on the screen. Johnny 5’s predecessors may very well have been the R.O.B.’s who helped Professor Hector and Professor Vector navigate the sleep-walking, 8-bit bird-creature world of ladders and platforms. I know what you’re thinking – 80’s robots are creepy. I get it, I really do. But this little dude is interacting with you and the game in a way we didn’t see again for another 25 years with the release of the Kinect…
*It must be noted that this game will not work without the R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy).
11. Dig Dug: Our hero, Dig Dug (presumably named so because of his affinity towards displacing dirt and other materials below ground level… aim high Dug, aim high) likes to dig. Poor Dug seemed unaware of the dangers lurking in his (or more likely, his parents) backyard. That Dug though, he’s got some tricks up his sleeve. Adventure through the mud and sediment with Dug and together you can inflate/blow up the goggle-wearing tomatoes, “Pookas” and fire-breathing dragons, “Fygars.” Daenerys would be so disappointed…
10. 10 Yard Fight: Sunday football in HD on your 60-inch TV not getting you close enough to the action? Why not be the action in 10 Yard Fight?!? You play quarterback, or a linebacker on defense, or a kicker, depending on what is happening in the game. Only, you’re more like the bird above the player who magically controls his/her actions… Hilarity ensues.
9. Clu Clu Land: So there’s this fish, named Bubbles, and she has to find gold. Purpose of what Bubbles plans to do with the gold still unclear… Some evil urchins don’t want Bubbles to find the gold, so she hits them with sound waves.
Now that’s unfair. I don’t know that the urchins are evil. Presumably keeping Bubbles from the gold she so desperately needs is an evil thing, but for all I know, Bubbles is a gold-digging fish trying to break up the happy union of Mr. and Mrs. Urchin. Or a thief. Regardless of intentions, your goal (as Bubbles) is to uncover the gold. Just try not to think about the urchin lives you have ruined in your greedy quest for gold…
8. Donkey Kong Jr. Math: Donkey Kong is trying hard to help his son learn addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. (Indirectly he’s also teaching critical thinking, problem solving and algebra without those pesky “word problems,” but let’s stick to the obvious for our current discussion.) Someone probably should let Mr. Kong know that a death pit is not critical to learning basic math skills…
7. Kung Fu: Walking down the street, attacking every person you meet. Some of them are armed, some I’m not even sure were out to fight, but casualties of war and all… I’m no martial arts expert, so I can’t precisely say whether what is happening is actual Kung Fu (which, as I understand it, refers to any skill achieved through hard work, patience and practice…) or is just 8-bit fighting with robes and belts, but the point is you get to walk down the street and beat people up.
8-bit version does not look like this…
6. Mach Rider: The game opens with the message, “In the year 2112, the earth has been invaded by evil forces.” Well, right there I am IN! This game has everything I need! Futuristic, motorcycle riding evil forces? Check. Machine gun equipped Motorcycle? Check. Great catch phrase to utter while shooting bad guys? “I AM Mach Rider!” Check. Saving the world? Check. Just watch out for all the spilled oil on the road… or are those dead evil forces? Whatever, just try to avoid them…
5. Ice Climber: A giant Pterodactyl-like bird has committed some unspoken atrocity upon two children (Popo and Nana). Being the worldly and fully matured folks that they are, they decide to climb the mountains and seek revenge with naught but their good sense, wits and a hammer. Oh, and there are Topis and Nitpickers and polar bears that show up too. Just watch out for icicles!
4. Hogan’s Alley: When you get tired of using the R.O.B. accessory, switch to the infamous Zapper Gun and try your hand at shooting “gangsters”. Just be sure that you don’t miss and shoot the “innocent bystanders.” I don’t know what the back story is here, but they don’t seem very innocent to me…
3. Excite Bike: Why buya dirt bike when you can have such realistic game play here? From the mud puddles that very kindly only stay in their lane to the “zoom” patches that give you a boost to get up the hill, this is like real dirt bike racing! But in all seriousness, the gameplay is good, the crashes are funny and you can design your own courses! Plus, it’s nice to know the references in MarioKart 8…
2. Duck Hunt: Oh Duck Hunt, where do I begin??? Not only is it Duck Season, but there is an adorable dog who loves you unconditionally and retrieves your ducks! Ignore the haters, that laughing is his dog way of blowing you kisses…
And of course, our number one pick of the Rapidly-Approaching-Age-30 NES games is….
1. Super Mario Brothers! Was there ever a doubt?
So there you have it. What did we leave out? What were your favorite Nintendo Games? Ready to celebrate 30 years of Nintendo?
by Kelley A.
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