Whether you’re an avid gamer or not, you have to admit that at one time in your life you played the classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The video game console was introduced in 1986. The system was headlined with Super Mario Bros. and some releases included Duck Hunt. What made this system revolutionary was the use of the zapper that came with it. Ducks would fly from the field and you could shoot them down. If for some reason you missed one of the ducks the dog in the game would stand up and start laughing at you. I hated that dog for laughing at my crappy shooting, but that would all change when taking down the ducks. The dog would then stand up and smile while holding them. I suppose the laughing made me try harder but still! The NES was an excellent gaming console and I still play it to this day. Last night I played a couple games with my 7 year old and like any NES game I had to blow on it a few times in order for it to work. Despite the cons of the system it all turned out funny because everyone used to do the same thing to make it work. Even if the games were dirty we all knew not to fall for the cleaning kit because all you had to do was clean it with rubbing alcohol and a couple Q-tips. The cleaning kit was expensive and was a way to take money from those who didn’t know the tricks. There were many games for the NES that are considered classics but the following games are my top 5 of all time.
Coming in at #5 is Mike Tyson’s Punchout! I have this game on my iPhone and I play it every now and then but back when I was younger I played this game for hours. In this game you play a tiny boxer named Little Mac who is working his way up the ranks to fight in the dream bout against Iron Mike Tyson. In the original Punchout! the dream bout is fought against Mr. Dream but with all the popularity of Tyson, he was added as the final opponent. The game had some memorable characters and each one had a weakness that made them easy to defeat. One boxer that I thought was just as hard as Tyson was Super Macho Man. This fool was hard to beat and his special move called the “Super Spin Punch” was killer. There were two versions of this and the second was devastating because he would simply spin until it was too hard to dodge but I did it. I was able to do this one time when I played this game along with my cousins. It was my claim to fame with them since they were much older than I and they couldn’t do it but I did and I will never forget it. Mike Tyson was always a challenge for me because of his quickness. You always had to watch for his wink or that split second flash to get a punch in but that’s what made the game fun. If you missed your shot he’d knock you out with one punch. If you want to take a crack at him and don’t want to work your way up the ranks use the following code at the title screen (007 373 5963). It’s been said that he was designed to never lose but I witnessed his demise by a cousin of mine. Others have defeated him and you can see it here by someone who posted a video on YouTube.
The number 4 pick of my top 5 of all time is Contra. Everyone knows Contra! I don’t care who you are but if you were gaming it up when it came out then you definitely know Contra. What was awesome about this game was that two people could play at the same time and cause massive destruction. The characters were able to use different guns but you had to shoot in the air at flying pods in order to make them drop the power-ups. There was a downfall to the game where if one player fell behind the other would be stuck and it sucked because you would more than likely end up dead. This sucked even more because you only had a certain amount of lives and continues. With one shot your character would be dead so the lives would go quickly. This made for a hard and challenging game but there was something that could be done about this. Thanks to Konami, the company that made the game, they included what’s known as “The Konami Code”. If you entered up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B,A at the title screen, you would gain 30 lives. It was hard to beat the game with minimal lives but with that code one could make it to the end, conquer it, and bask in the glory of defeating Contra.
3. Ninja Gaiden
Coming in at #3 is Ninja Gaiden. This was the game to have and play when it came out. The game was very challenging and you needed to have some ninja skills of your own. What I mean by this is that your fingers had to be quick on the gamepad or you were bound to get hit by something and jump back. This was fine when on a flat surface but if you were jumping from platform to platform you were doomed. With that said there were sections where you would have to cling onto a wall and jump up by pressing back, the jump button, and then forward in order to scoot your way up. It sounds complicated but it was pretty easy once you got the hang of it. I would say that it was the “Haduken” of that era. The game also had other elements that made it superb. There were moments where your character would fall off a cliff and you would fall from the sky and get a second chance at life. Those were the best and the storyline was good too. The introduction of the game is classic and it gets you pumped. After watching the intro you want nothing but to avenge your father’s death. Well, at least I did because I dug the game so much.
The year was 1988. I had just finished watching some saturday morning cartoons and my parents said they were going to take me to Mr. Music’s, the local video store, to rent a couple movies and NES games. I was 7 years old and I was stoked! We ended up renting movies and one game but that one game turned out to be epic. I didn’t have Nintendo Power Magazine at that time so I had no idea what Megan Man was let alone that there was a sequel. When I started it I began to read the storyline in the intro of the game. The music starts out slow but builds up and fast. Its ends with the sight of the hero character standing like a bad ass with his hair waving in the air. I have included a video of the intro because my words don’t do it justice. You play as Mega Man, a robot that has sworn to fight against the evil robots of Dr. Wiley with the help of his creator Dr. Light. There are 8 different robots to defeat before getting to Wiley’s castle and out of all the Mega Man games out there, part 2 has the best music. I love this game and it was hard to put it at number 2 but I had to do it.
Now for the number 1 of my top 5 games of all time! Out of all the games I have played Super Mario Bros. 3 is my top pick. This game was such a big deal when it came out it was only revealed in a movie before any commercials hit television. The movie was called, “The Wizard”. It was about three kids, one of which is a genius gamer, who runaway from home and hitchhike their way to the ultimate video game tournament. Along they way they meet another kid named Lucas who is also headed to the competition. This was one of the first times I ever saw the Power Glove in action while playing Rad Racer. Seeing the games accessories were awesome and to be honest the whole movie was pretty much a 2 hour commercial for the NES. Once the genius gamer Jimmy and Lucas make it to the finals with another kid, it is announced that the final game will be a game that no one has ever played or set eyes on. The final game is none other than Super Mario Bros. 3. I remember my jaw dropping as I watched them play this in the movie. After the movie premiered in theaters, the commercials began to roll out. When I finally got my hands on that game I played it for hours and discovered many secrets. I played and played until I finally defeated Bowser. It was epic and to this day I still remember all the secrets. Just last night my 7 year old and I were playing it and he was amazed at what I was doing. These are my top 5 NES games of all time and I know what you’re thinking. What about The Legend of Zelda? What about, Castlevania, Tecmo Bowl, Double Dragon, and on and on and on? I know there are many epic NES games out there but this is my list. These are the ones I remember most. Shoot me a comment and let me know what your top 5 are. Happy gaming folks!