When I was growing up the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was it. Almost every game was gold and it was fun. Super Mario Bros., Castlevania, Bad Dudes, Duckhunt and others were at the head of the game. My personal favorite was Mega Man and to me this game was the most challenging. The video games of today are awesome and way beyond the games of the NES and Sega Master System age but you can’t beat the classics. With all the awesome games that hit in the 80’s and 90’s, and the pure fun of it, there were some downsides to the NES. Now, the following downsides blew when the game was good but looking back at it now, almost everyone dealt with the same thing. In that sense, it makes it funny how everyone did the same thing when it came to the cartridges and the system in general.
So let’s think about this. You’re up late and at the end of Mike Tyson’s Punchout. The NES is pulled out onto the floor, so that you can sit comfortably against the bed. I’m sure we all remember the cords being rather short. Mike Tyson goes down and you watch as Mario counts to ten. Your younger brother is very excited and jumps in the air and lands close to the NES causing the game to pop up. Your jaw drops and all you see is the blinking green screen of death laughing at you. Game Over! Did this or a similar scenario ever happen to you? I know it did to me and that’s what sucked about the NES but it made it that much more challenging because you had to start over and get back to where you left off. Another thing was having to blow on the cartridge to make it work. I have spoken to a lot of people regarding this issue and I believe everyone had their own special ritual for this.
I remember turning the cartridge vertically and blowing, “Heeeee, Haaaaaa. Heeeee, Haaaaa.” It worked almost every time and when it didn’t and the game was very hot it would go into the freezer. Yep you read that right, it went into the freezer to cool down for about ten minutes and it worked like a charm. It makes me laugh to think about all the stuff that happened with the video games of my youth. I remember when I discovered a cheat for Super Mario Bros. 3 on the second level of World 8. I was pissed that I couldn’t beat it because I kept falling into the water and couldn’t get back up so Mario would drown. I finally gave up and decided that on my final life I would try to swim underneath the boats as a fluke. Well, it worked! I remember waiting for the first boat to pass and I let Mario sink beneath the boat and then I hit the B button as fast as I could and I made Mario swim all the way to the end. I couldn’t believe what I had done and I sent the cheat/tip to Nintendo Power but it never made their cheat section. I was crushed but I didn’t care. I ended up beating the game and I felt like a king.
Another video game memory involves a Christmas when Santa came a day early. I had to have been around 9 or 10 at the time and it was Christmas Eve. My father was in Texas because my grandmother was ill and it was just us at home for the holiday. The whole day had been a blur as we tried to find something to do to pass the time until we opened our presents. We were jumping off the walls by nightfall and my siblings and I were eager to tear open our presents. We immediately went for the larger boxes while my mom worked the video camera. As I opened up a present I heard my younger brother scream.
“Richie! Richie! Look at this!”
I turned to see what he had and I figured it was an action figure of some sort but my jaw dropped when I saw the box in his hand.
“You see this Richie?”
“Yes! I can’t believe it Nando!”
My brother and I stared at this glorious box. The roof opened up and the angels sang as light shined upon it. The box he held was that of a Sega Genesis controller. I looked over at my mom and she covered her mouth as she continued to record us. I remember shaking my head as I smiled at her. All she could say was,
She ended up taking the box from us and said it was just a box but the next morning she gave it back when my brother and I opened up a large present that held the Sega Genesis, Sonic the Hedgehog bundle. It was all caught on camera and if I get the chance I am going to convert it and post it but for now this will suffice. I have to say though, watching the video as an adult is pretty funny. All in all, I have had many great adventures in video games. I’m 30 years old and I will always be a big fan of the classics. My favorites were Mega Man, Castlevania, Battletoads, Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, Mike Tyson’s Punchout, Ninja Gaiden, Tecmo Bowl, and many more. I have passed on the torch to my 7 year old and he’s actually the one pictured in this post. He loves Mega Man but out of all the characters his favorite is Proto Man so that is what he was for Halloween ’09. What are your favorites? I have named a few of mine but I could add so much more. Let me know what your favorites were and if you too had a specific method for making your NES games work. Also don’t ever forget, Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start! It’s the Konami code for Contra that gives you 30 lives. Cheers!