Round Table: NES Memories

The staff wrap up NES week with some of their fondest memories of the legendary console.

By Nintendojo Staff. Posted 04/26/2014 12:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

For gamers old enough to have experienced it in its heyday, the NES was a magical console. Not only was it the most powerful piece of gaming hardware available at the time, giving rise to some of the most colorful and imaginative titles to grace any platform, it helped revitalize the ailing games industry and established many of Nintendo’s most prominent franchises, captivating gamers and turning younger players into lifelong fans of the company. Now that our week-long tribute to NES has come to an end, the Dojo staff want to take one final moment to share some of their fondest memories of the legendary console.

Anthony Vigna

I’m too young to know what it was like to own an NES at launch, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have memories of the console. In fact, I got my first NES last year as an awesome birthday present by one of my good friends, and I’ve been playing it a lot ever since! So far, my favorite NES game is “Clean the Cartridge and Re-adjust it in the System a Million Times to Start Your Game,” which is totally a real game that I didn’t just make up.

But in all seriousness, the NES is a fantastic console and I really do love it. After all, why would I write an article about how modern consoles should learn from the NES if I didn’t actually like it? Retro games truly fascinate me, so being able to play NES games on the actual console instead of Virtual Console is a real treat.

I especially love to break out Super Mario Bros. 3 every once and a while, since it’s my absolute favorite Mario game to date. I love the fast-paced design of each level, the interactive map with branching paths, and the glorious Super Leaf that turns Mario into a Raccoon. Everything is so perfect about that title, and I’m proud to finally own the actual NES cartridge.

I’ll probably be looking out for more NES games to buy this summer, so if you know of any classics that I should pick up, let me know in the comments!

Jake Shapiro

As a small child, my favorite NES title wasn’t Mario or Zelda or Donkey Kong… it was Paperboy, for some reason. In retrospect, Paperboy is a fairly terrible game, but that doesn’t matter to young kids. Fun fact: Paperboy was the first NES game ever developed in the United States!

The first NES game I ever actually finished was Metroid, and I didn’t even play it on NES. Remember when it was included as a bonus mode in the original 2002 release of Metroid Prime on GameCube? That’s the first time I defeated Mother Brain… sixteen years after the game hit shelves.

Jon Stevens

Like Anthony, I also wasn’t around when the NES launched– not only that, but when I was old enough to start playing games, my brother went for a Megadrive, so I never even owned a SNES!

This means that my memories of playing the NES centre around the summers I spent at a friend’s house. Super Mario Bros. 3 kept us going for around two months one summer, and it’s a real testament to the game that it still played so well, years after its release. Even now, where most NES games are actually quite difficult to play and simplistic compared to some of their sequels, it still stands the test of time. Sadly, an argument over Punch-Out!! ended it all, but it was good while it lasted.

Thinking back, it also reminds me of a time when Game Genies could (and were!) used for almost all games, and people were unafraid to have pieces of plastic sticking out of their console. Ah… simpler times.

Maurice Tyler

Unfortunately, my family couldn’t afford to get an NES when it first came out– though I wanted one very badly. The video game market was in decline, but my fascination with video games persisted throughout the crash. The NES came out right about the time I began to grow tired of playing all of my aging Atari 2600 games and started making my own games on my trusty old TI-99/4A personal computer from Texas Instruments.

My dreams of playing an NES were finally realized when I discovered that my local Boy’s Club purchased one for the entertainment of its members. I must have been first in line every single day to play Super Mario Bros. and Russian Attack. Super Mario Bros. is one of my favorite games of all time. I still remember the location of every warp zone and can beat the entire game in a matter of minutes. The graphics on the NES put the Atari 2600 and every other system in its class to shame. Not too long after this experience, I began my first summer job at the Boy’s Club and saved enough money to get my own NES along with Rob the Robot and the Light Gun peripherals. I also had copies of Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and Gyromite. In terms of graphics and gameplay, Duck Hunt was almost exactly like its arcade counterpart, which was unheard of at the time; and, using Rob the Robot to play Gyromite was fascinating to watch. In fact, I wish there were more games today that required some type of real world interaction.

The NES harkens back to the days of instant load times where you didn’t have to wait a few minutes for the fun and excitement to begin. Nor did you have to wade through several different menus or apply huge, day one firmware/software updates to fix games that were sold to you with known flaws. The only thing you had to worry about was blowing on your cartridge contacts every now and again to ensure that your game made a good connection with your console. Ah, those were the days…

Marc Deschamps

Wow, all of you guys are making me feel like the old-timer at Nintendojo just for owning an NES! I covered a lot of my original Nintendo memories earlier in the week, but Jon brings up one of the things I didn’t quite have a place to mention, and that’s the Game Genie. It was a must-have item back in those days, despite Nintendo’s protestations. It’s no secret that games were a lot tougher back then, and in many ways unfairly so. I never would have played past the first couple of stages in Battletoads without owning a Game Genie, and I still never managed to get past the Turbo Tunnel stage.

Battletoads Screenshot

Unfortunately, like the NES Zapper before it, the Game Genie code book was ultimately lost to me. The only way I could find new codes was to borrow a friend’s book, or find codes in an issue of GamePro. Ah, the days before the Internet!

Angela Marrujo

Though I was born in ’90 and didn’t have the pleasure of growing up during the NES era, my very first memory of being alive involves me standing in my crib at my grandma’s house, watching my uncle play Super Mario Bros. 3, in the level where Mario is normal sized but everything else is huge. I remember that very vividly, and the console that I learned how to play video games with is the NES.

From the first three Mario games, to Duck Hunt, to those really eerie Star Wars games with the top down view and the Spider-Man game with the chubby sprites of Spidey and Electro, and even fuzzy memories of Little Nemo, Duck Tales, and random Disney games, the NES stands out in my head as the console that taught me the basics of gaming: run, jump, fire. Battletoads and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle games got the most play at our house after the Mario games, and I remember getting to that one stage in Battletoads where you’re on these speeding sort of floating platform things and never being able to get past it. The memories of the TMNT games often involve my bro because he was a big Turtles fan as a kid and I watched him play that a lot.

As I got older, my taste in games broadened and my brother and I sought to find the two games we didn’t have as kids that we wanted as adults: The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Despite the fact that we have them in the Virtual Consoles of our 3DS’s and Wii U’s, it felt good finding those classic gold cartridges and adding them to our small collection of NES games.

Our NES is still in its original box, still has the orange gun for Duck Hunt, and despite the fact that it doesn’t really get much play anymore, it’s been a real trooper and survived the decades, even with having to blow into the cartridges occasionally to get the games started.

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One Response to “Round Table: NES Memories”

  • 12 points
    Sunnyleafs says...

    My family couldn’t afford a NES, but I managed to play about once every week at my cousin’s house. We played a lot of Mario Bros 1 and 3, StarTropics, and Darkwing Duck (my favourite NES game). About a year ago, I wanted to re-live those childhood memories, so I bought a NES and started collecting games – the Virtual Console is great, but there’s nothing like playing on an old TV on original hardware.

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