lists NES

Top NES Games

9:14:00 AMPaul

There is no doubt that Nintendo has been a gigantic part of our lives. We would spend countless hours in front of the TV playing a game from sun up to sun down. There would be nothing more exciting that going to Network Video (in Plum PA) or Iggle Video and picking out a Nintendo game. We would manically read the poorly Xeroxed instruction booklet over, and over during the car ride home. Once we pulled in the driveway we would call dibs on who got to play first, with me pulling seniority most of the time, and our weekend was set. Here are some games we invested countless hours into, and in return received these wonderful memories behind them,

These are listed in no particular order:

1. Battletoads - I don't really recall how we came across this game, although I can count on it being featured in Nintendo Power or something. This game was great for a couple of reasons, first and foremost, it was a two player co-op game. It also combined humor, and violence something even at a younger age we had such a passion for. I can also recall this game being close to impossible. The difficulty level even for today's standards if off the charts. Ian and I would play this game to where we had every move and enemy pattern memorized to where completing the first 3 levels was like breathing to us. What was amazing is that the levels we did complete, were all unique and fun to play. Even with the assistance of the Game Genie, I still don't think we ever completed the game. One level I remember particularly was the jetbike stage (level 3?) where you had to simultaneously time all the jumps, and movements so precisely that you wold think it was a military training exercise.

2. River City Ransom - There were so few games as cool as River City Ransom. Technos at the time had a bunch of games that used the same little characters, and animations - they were all amazing. This game was also two player co-op which meant Ian and I got to play together for hours at a time. The game was like an RPG mixed with a button mashing street fighting game. You could beat the piss out of strangers, and collect money to buy food, clothes, books, and other strange things that would help you get stronger throughout the game. I remember Ian, and I spending almost the entire day on the first stage to earn enough money to buy all the special moves early on so that the rest of the game would be cake. We would give silly commentary when beating up the guys, and try innovative ways to cure the boredom of beating up dozens of guys named "Blade". I remember this game so fondly due to the fact that Ian, and I got to play together while satisfying our need to violence.

3. TMNT II The Arcade Game:  There were very few other games I remember being more excited about being released for Nintendo. The arcade game was out a few years before the release of this game, and it was stunning. The graphics were so amazing, you could play all 4 turtles at the same time, and there was so much button mashing joy involved. I remember Ian and I standing in front of the unattended arcade cabinet, and watching the free play demo over and over at Hills or Nesbit Lanes (it was an extremely rare occurrence we would be allowed a quarter to play). When the game was in Nintendo Power I could barely contain myself. Although I did somewhat understand the limitations of the Nintendo system, it was no where near the arcade quality I was looking for. It did have 2 players which made it fun, and of course Ian and I played it endlessly.

I expected this ...
Kinda got this ...

4. BaseBall Stars:  What really can be said about one of the best baseball games of all time? We played this game so much I'm surprised it's still in working condition today. What set this aside from all other games, was the ability to edit and rename your teams, and the fact that it saved your accumulative stats throughout a "season". We renamed teams everything from different X-men, classic rock icons, to video game characters. We always had a "straight pitch rule" where we would always throw a hittable ball to each other to keep the game interesting. We would spend all day editing a team and about 10 minutes actually playing a game, before dismantling our team just to rename them again. You could also jump, slide, and steal bases at will which made things extra fun, as we would catch balls with maximum style as you caught a homerun at the wall. Since Baseball Stars, no other baseball game really measured up, and will always hold a special place in my heart.

5. Double Dragon II : It was tough to pick between the first Double Dragon and this one, but this one was such an improvement over the first one graphically I'm pretty sure Ian, and I played this one more over the previous one. This one had all the right things 2 player co-op, violence, and it seemed like we enjoyed the beat 'em up style games over most. This game was a consistent renter since we were not allowed to own this game due to the "violence" in it. We would always play this game when our parents were pre-occupied  and us playing was not the center of attention. This game was incredibly fun, and we played this one the whole way through. This game was far from a button masher though, you needed to employ s good mix of moves to move forward, or just cyclone kick the shit out of everyone. It was another great game you can work together to beat up strangers, and get "revenge".

6. Maniac Mansion: This might be one of the few 1 player games we both shared without too much fighting. This game was basically a video game version of a choose your own adventure book. There was so much creativity, and humor involved in playing this game. As I remember as well, is that there was more than one way to finish the game with 5 unique people that all have their own special abilities. We had to have finished this game in every possible way with all characters. I remember having so much fun trying new and stupid things to interact with.  I was not sure how we came across this game, or even how we owned this, but this is something that holds a place in my hall of fame.

7. Super Mario Bros. 3: There was such a mania surrounding this game. In a world before pre-ordering our parents in a rare act of kindness scoured the greater Pittsburgh area for this game. We pulled together our limited money, and let our parents bite, scratch, and claw through hordes of shoppers to find this game. I remember the call from a payphone telling us they found a copy, and the dance filled celebration that followed. The game was everything it was hyped to be. We read about it, drew pictures of it, and talked about it at school this game was weaved into our being for years.  We gladly took turns and probably was the only game allowed in our Nintendo for ages. This is a no brainer for the fact of the unusual kindness our parent exhibited to get it, and the excitement of actually getting it.

8. World Cup Soccer: This game was basically River City Ransom with soccer. It was another co-op game, but its wasn't usual soccer. You could tackle and kick your opponents, do special kicks to score automatically, and play on ice/rocky ground/ ect.. Ian and I used to play this game to death, where we would win the World Cup, run up the score, or try to injure all of the players on the opposite team. Winning the Cup would take an entire afternoon, and then we would fire up the game again to play with different imposed rules.

9. Castlevania: Simon's Quest: This and Double Dragon II were ones we rented all the time, and never owned. I know it's cool to hate this game, but this game had some sort of magic power over us to where we played it obsessively. The game was impossible, and I don't even recall even progressing anywhere in the game, due to impossible secrets involved to move forward. I just remember reading about it in How to Win at Nintendo about crouching at a certain spot and a tornado would warp you away, and I would beg to go back to Iggle Video to rent the game again. I don't remember any game we played more with such little reward, but it does hold fond memories with me.

10. Megaman 2: Megaman 2 was one of the first games we ever owned on the Nintendo. When the Nintendo was brand new our parents were very involved with us playing, interested in the games, and actually played when we went to bed. Megaman 2 was incredibly difficult, as all of those games were in the series. I remember the morning I woke up to learn that my dad beat Airman, and earned his tornado cannon, I actually looked up to him for a hot second or two. It wasn't until the purchase of the NES Advantage where the field was leveled in our favor. It was cool to use the different powers you got for beating the robots, and figuring out what worked against who to beat the game. One memory I recall was jumping onto one character long blocks in Dr. Wily's castle and concentrating real hard, when a huge robot dragon burst onto the screen scaring me out of the room. I was then yelled at for the outburst.

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