Saturday, August 2, 2008


Video games are wicked awesome. It's a fact of nerd-life. Kids today play video games a lot, but unfortunately, they haven't had the experience of living through the entire video game era. If you're oh, say, 21 right now, then you're at the absolute perfect age. You've seen it all. Like a parent with a child, you've watched video games transform and mature over the decades from squeaky, pixelated headache-boxes to the sleek, 3-dimensional behemoths we have today.

And although many other systems came before it, all gamers would agree that the true era of video game coolness began with one little grey and black rectangle: the Nintendo Entertainment System.
I'm sure most of you out there have spent your share of hours holding that two-buttoned NES controller in your hand. I know I have. So, I've compiled a little list: my top 10 favourite NES games ever. You might agree or disagree with my choices, but hey, that's what the comment box is for! Give me your own thoughts on your NES experiences, too!

In all honesty, this game gets boring pretty fast. But back when we were kids, there was nothing quite like holding that big, blocky orange-and-grey gun and shooting at your TV screen. If it wasn't for that fucking dog laughing at me every time I missed (which was quite often, because i SUCKED at Duck Hunt), then this game might have been higher up on my list.
But that dog is just an asshole. Did I mention I hate that dog?

Go ahead and laugh, but Disney video games are usually awesome, and this was no exception. The fact that you could encase your enemy in a bubble, then launch his sorry ass at another enemy to take them both out with one loud POP almost makes you forget that you're playing as a sixteen-year-old mermaid with a seashell bra. Getting up to Ursula (the last boss) was a huge achievement for a four-year-old. Good on me!

This was one of the few NES games that really tried to give the graphics a more three-dimensional feel, and it looked superb (for its time). Wheeling down that sidewalk at breakneck speeds, tossing newspapers and dodging punk-ass little skateboarders was one of the biggest NES rushes around. Plus, the fact that you could encounter dogs, angry fat women, tornadoes, F-1 racers, and even Death himself brought this game from Awesome to Wicked Awesome.

I don't care what anybody says, Dr. Mario is a zillion times more fun than Tetris. And Tetris is extremely fun, so that is saying something. The colours were bright, the germs were cute n' wacky, and the music was insanely catchy (which is an important thing for video games). Dropping all those little pills on top of a bunch of flu and cold germs gave one an intense feeling of satisfaction. Try playing it when you're actually sick for extra effect!

"I hold your city captive and Ryan's girlfriend hostage". With these fateful words, slimy bad-guy Slick brings you on into one of the coolest games ever. Play as either Ryan or Alex, two greasers who look exactly the same but with different shirt colours, and bop your way through a huge city crawling with punks. Use chains, brass knuckles and other weapons to slug those douches in the face, then steal their coins and use them to buy sushi, waffles, hamburgers and books! This game set the bar for similar games to come later, including the popular GTA series. Seriously.

Again, Disney games are off the fucking chain! This game puts you in control of Bob Hoskins' rough-around-the-edges private dick, Eddie Valiant. You and Roger have to crawl through two VERY big cities, sneaking into buildings and hotel rooms, to gather clues as to the identity of the killer in one of the funniest murder mysteries ever. But the best part? If you get tired of walking, you can hail Benny, the talking cab, to drive you anywhere in the city!

Even though it's based off a lame game show that lasted from 1987 to 1991, this game was incredibly addictive. Pick from an assortment of contestants (the women of which come complete with 80s hairdos, and the men of which all look like they have Down syndrome) and then begin playing! This game has several layers of fun: trying to match up all the cool prizes, solving the rebus puzzle, then trying to win a sexy car at the end of it all!

Possibly the most beloved video game in history (ever). The music and visuals in this game will be forever etched into the minds of anyone who owned an NES console during its prime. And why not? This game has it all: you can swim, you can climb beanstalks, you can shoot fireballs, you can break bricks with your head, you can sink into pipes and emerge in an entirely different location! Like a grandparent we all love who has since passed on, older gamers of today will forever think of Super Mario Bros. with a small grin and a single tear of nostalgia in their eyes.

Nothing like it had ever been seen before. And everything like it that has been seen since has been seen BECAUSE of it. The Legend of Zelda, an epic, enormous fantasy quest, puts you in control of a little dude in a funny green hat named Link. Without any explanation, you're whisked into a massive world full of fucked-up monsters and hidden weapons. Because of its size and difficulty (I STILL haven't actually beaten it), The Legend of Zelda became the first game ever with the ability to save your progress, so you don't have to hack your way down from the beginning every time you switch the damn thing on. As soon as you hear that slow eerie title music and see that cavern waterfall with the word Zelda floating over it in big, bright letters, you know you're in for a treat.

First, they took everything that was great about SMB 1 and expanded it. Then, they took everything that was shitty about SMB 2 and got rid of it completely. What they were left with was single-handedly (in my opinion) the coolest, funnest and most memorable game for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
On February 12th, 1990, the world got a game so good that they made an entire movie just to promote its upcoming release. This game had everything: tons of super-fun levels, huge maps, fortresses full of creepy villains, mini-games, treasures, pyramids, flying battleships, epic battles with the Koopa Kids, secret islands, magic flutes, flying suits, and a really angry sun that tried to kill you. Repeatedly.
This game is so hard and lenghty, I've only beaten it twice. But there are so many secrets and side quests and fun little things to do, that even if you don't beat it, you still feel fulfilled. You've had a great gaming experience, which is what counts. If you haven't played it, play it NOW.
Power off.

"Thank you, Mario! But our princess is in another castle!"
-those fucking Toads

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