News Article

Round Table: Let's Talk About the Famicom / NES

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Oh, the memories

This week we've written some features and re-published some select reviews to celebrate the Famicom's 30th Anniversary, this particular landmark reflecting the Japanese release of the iconic original design. Naturally, not many of us in the Nintendo Life team have played that original system, but we have all indulged in the NES in some form or another. And so the only logical thing to do, in order to acknowledge the occasion properly, was to have a good natter about it.

Joining features editor Tom Whitehead for this chat are editor-at-large Jon Wahlgren, US reviewers / contributors Dave Letcavage, Morgan Sleeper and Stephen Kelly, and last but not least our resident Nintendo 64 expert Martin Watts. We talk over various aspects of the famous old 8-bit machine, while occasionally diving off on silly tangents. Enjoy!


Thomas Whitehead: To start us off, please introduce yourselves to the readers.

Jonathan Wahlgren: I'm Jon Wahlgren, motion-controlled Editor At Large.

Dave Letcavage: I'm Dave, US Reviewer and platforming enthusiast.

Martin Watts: Hi, I'm Martin Watts, Retro Reviewer and N64 addict.

Morgan Sleeper: Hey everybody! I'm Morgan, and I can't stop dreaming about SMTIV demons. It's been an interesting week.

Tom: And I'm Tom Whitehead, the features editor with the misfortune of editing these round tables. Right, so talk (briefly) about your first experience of the NES.

Martin: I can't remember exactly when my first experience with the NES was, but I was quite a young child and recall playing Super Mario Bros and Ghostbusters II. It wasn't my own system, unfortunately, as it belonged to my cousins!

Jon: First? Well, I dunno about that. As far as I know, our family always had one. I definitely predated it in my household and vividly remember having a bucketload of great and crappy games, like the Super Mario Bros. trilogy and Dick Tracy.

Dave: I honestly can't remember my first experience with the NES either, but many memories of late nights playing the original Super Mario Bros with my Grandma always come to mind.

Morgan: I've never owned an NES, so my first experience was picking up Controller 2 on a friend's system with Bubble Bobble (I guess making me Bob?) - it was well after I'd already experienced the wonder of the Super Nintendo, but it still blew me away, and I didn't want to stop playing!

Jon: A lot of my friends owned one when I was little too so a lot of games, like Zelda, got the most playtime with a group of us gathered 'round the warm glow of the TV.

I also distinctly remember my brother cheating at multiplayer games. Somehow.

Tom: Well my first Nintendo home console experience was a cousin’s SNES. Honestly, I never saw a NES growing up, as the distribution wasn’t great (as I recall) in the UK. So for me, the first NES game I owned was on the Wii VC.

Morgan: Me too, Tom! As soon as I found out about it, I went straight to the Wii Shop Channel and bought Bubble Bobble. Still one of my most played VC games!

Tom: Technically I don't even own those VC games, they're leased digitally! Hello, can of worms…

Jon: Bubble Bobble! All-time classic and one of my favourites on the console.

I anticipate me repeating game titles excitedly today.

Morgan: That theme tune still gets stuck in my head from time to time!

Tom: I don't know how old we all are here, but did the NES have a wow factor when you played it as a youngster, or was it more "cool" than amazing?

At this stage we’re joined by Stephen Kelly, one of our U.S. contributors and reviewers.

Dave: It was my first home console, and I was mighty young, so I'd say it certainly "wowed" me. Especially Duck Hunt. I couldn't comprehend how that darn blaster could interact with my TV!

Jon: Let's say I'm as old as Link. The NES was sort of the baseline, the standard-bearer, for me. I didn't have an Atari or Commodore prior to an NES so I didn't know how else games could look. The 16-bit generation is when "wow" kicked in.

Morgan: I'll mark myself out as Youngster Morgan by saying that the NES has always felt retro for me. That was a lot of the appeal though - I remember thinking the two-button pad felt so simple compared to the SNES pad I'd grown up coveting, and I liked it!

Tom: I imagine the NES would have wowed me, as in those years I had a ZX Spectrum; the NES would have been quite a leap, especially those platformers.

Stephen: The NES is older than I am and I never purchased one for myself until the mid-2000s. It was purely a historical dig for me, but I had a blast unearthing all those old classics.

Martin: Same here for me, Stephen!

Dave: You guys are making me feel old...

Tom: What do you think made the NES so definitive in the 8-bit era, considering it had competition such as the Master System etc that got nowhere?

By which I mean the Master System didn't sell 60 million+ units...

Dave: Mario. Do I need to say more?

Jon: Well, there's Zelda.

Martin: I think Nintendo's iron grip over the industry was perhaps the defining feature of it all. It was smart to approach third-party developers in the way that it did, even if it was perhaps a bit restrictive/controlling by today's standards.

It ultimately resulted in far better releases in terms of quality.

Stephen: Business-wise they were smart, agreed — but the NES created characters and worlds. Simple as they were, they left an impression. I think that was a real factor!

Dave: Obviously not the only reason, but I still remember the older folks talking about the NES like it only played Mario games.

Morgan: Yeah, I think you guys are right. I love me some SEGA (I'm literally wearing Sonic boxers right now) but the NES witnessed the birth (or early entries) of a ridiculously wonderful group of characters and worlds. Mario, Link & Zelda, Kirby, Pit, Samus...

Jon: I don't know how much influence Nintendo's grip had on the quality of third-party software but with Nintendo's own catalogue literally defining genres, it wouldn't do to put out garbage. Not like people didn't.

But, yeah, games. It had the best ones by a good country mile.

Morgan: Amen!

Martin: There were still duds, as with every console, however, the quality was far better than on previous systems prior to the 1983 crash.

Dave: I think Stephen summed it up the best, Nintendo created some phenomenal worlds and characters that were alluring to a broad range of people.

Tom: Jon makes a good point. Before we get all rose-tinted and generous, there was a load of old doody on the system, right?

Heck, the VC on Wii has plenty of them.

Jon: I went to a retro expo this past weekend and spent a good amount of time rummaging through bins of NES games. Most of them were garbage.

Morgan: Urban Champion, amirite?

Stephen: I suppose the real treasures rose to the top. Word of mouth and stupid TV ads sold games, and those games have become legends of a sort.

Jon: And shows! And comics!

Tom: Was part of the NES' power that it was pre-internet, so some products essentially suckered kids in? Marketing was so vital then, and Nintendo seemed to nail it in the US.

Stephen: Well, Nintendo Power, for example. That was a huge factor in the lives of youngsters back in the day. Nintendo could more or less use those magazines as coordinates for their guided missile customers!

Morgan: Oh man, Nintendo Power. I didn't start getting it until the N64 days, but I think it's fair to say I wouldn't have bought half the games I did if it weren't for NP's features. I can imagine it did the same thing for NES kids!

Jon: Nintendo was pretty inescapable, no? Between the games, the breakfast cereals, the cartoons, comics and magazines, they really had the marketing muscle in full flex.

Tom: Again, I'll give some UK balance and say the NES wasn’t as big a deal here, I think there were two different suppliers and it cost an arm and a leg.

Dave: That's wild to hear, Tom. I always assumed that the NES had a similar impact in the UK as it did in the US.

Tom: Not to my knowledge!

Morgan: UK was Master System turf, right?

Tom: I think Mega Drive was dominant here too, SEGA bossed it for a good while in old Blighty.

I did have a friend or two with Master Systems Morgan!

Morgan: Nice!

Stephen: I feel like this could lead into an argument about the American vs. European Sonic CD soundtrack... and I'm okay with that.

Morgan: Toot Toot Sonic Warrior!

Jon: Nintendo controlled their message pretty hardcore in the US and when you control the message you can get pretty much whatever you want across. If Nintendo said Kung Fu was a good game then Kung Fu was a good game.

Tom: One thing that's interesting about the NES is the accessories. The Wii got teased for useless hunks of plastic, but did any of you sample the various NES delights?

Martin: Is there anyone out there that hasn’t used the Zapper?

Jon: We had the Zapper, which I'd press up against the TV to shoot ducks without mercy.

Stephen: CLANG CLANG CLANG (playing Duck Hunt) CLANG CLANG!

Tom: JON'S A CHEATER!

Jon: Eh.

Actually, yeah, haha, when it came to those peripherals I totally was.

Like, whenever I'd play Track and Field with the Power Mat at a friend's house I'd get down on my knees and slap the **** out of those buttons to go faster.

Whenever I'd play Track and Field with the Power Mat at a friend's house I'd get down on my knees and slap the **** out of those buttons to go faster.

Morgan: John, that's the spiritual precursor to shaking the Wii Remote on the couch to win Wii Fit!

Jon: Yeah, except without the pretense of "losing weight"

Tom: Anyone have anything more extravagant than the Zapper?

Martin: I've always wanted a R.O.B.

Morgan: Haha! Martin, I'm ashamed to admit I've never used The Zapper. I did spend an entire afternoon trying to help my friend figure out how to use R.O.B.

Dave: The Zapper was probably the only peripheral that I had exposure to. I can confidently say that I've never been in the presence of a Power Glove. That's a good thing, right?

OH, R.O.B! I had ROB and Gyromite. Never understood what R.O.B did, though. Futuristic DJ or something?

Tom: DAVE HAD R.O.B!

Jon: DAVE IS NOW KNOWN AS BEAST DAVE…

Tom: So how was Rob?

At this point Martin had to leave us, but a big thanks to our N64 expert for joining us. Apparently his Power Glove lit up and he had to run off into the night…

BEAST DAVE: Haha. I really never understood what R.O.B's functionality was! Eventually he met his demise when I decided it would be a good idea to "dissect" him. Curiosity is why you don't give young kids nice things.

Morgan: Haha! Poor R.O.B!

Stephen: I did that with a Power Ranger once.

BEAST DAVE: I regret that decision SO much these days. I'd love to have a R.O.B sitting in my office. I'd never use him, but he'd make a fantastic decoration.

Jon: We had a "talking" Snoopy that my brother and I tied a sock around its snout to see if it would still talk. Needless to say, it broke.

Stephen: Oh, for sure. I'm re-designing my whole game room for a "new" retro setup, and I would kill for a fancy-pants R.O.B chilling on the shelf.

Tom: So R.O.B is a great decoration, but a rubbish gaming controller.

People will be saying this stuff about the Balance Board in 20 years.

Jon: That's generous.

Tom: Yeah, I realise that now!

Stephen: At least R.O.B made it into Super Smash Bros. Nothing about the Balance Board will ever... um... ever...

BEAST DAVE: What's the balance board? (nudge nudge wink wink)

And R.O.B showed up in F-Zero GX, didn't he?

Jon: It's a thing that you get down on your knees and slap the **** out of to win at Wii Fit.

Click on through to page two to read our thoughts on how NES games stack up today, their influence on modern titles and our personal favourites.

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User Comments (51)

ForeverIgnited

#2

ForeverIgnited said:

I think I played ExciteBike 1st. It was either that or the original Super Mario Bros. My dad hooked it to a TV in the den and showed me how to play.

Giygas_95

#3

Giygas_95 said:

Hey, while we're on the subject of the NES, what ever happened to the results of the vote for your favorite NES games article done a few months ago?

Giygas_95

#5

Giygas_95 said:

It had some amazing games all right! I've never owned an NES, so I've played NES games mostly on VC and some on the Game Boy Advance. I really wish they'd release SMB 3 on the 3DS soon, but I know it'll come at some point.

@ThomasBW84 Ah, I see. Thanks for the quick reply! That actually works out well because now it has just been the Famicom's 30th anniversary!

Dogpigfish

#6

Dogpigfish said:

Greatest NES game was Iron Tank; like Sonic received some really lousy sequels, but unlike Sonic it disappeared into distant memory. In the 80's top down rail shooters were the most popular in my opinion.

3DSAllDay

#7

3DSAllDay said:

Aww the memories of my first time playing an NES game was on the Wii with Super Mario Bros.

shuis

#8

shuis said:

My first time I played the NES we were at my mother's friend's house where she was cooking dinner. I remember being glued to the TV and and wanting my turn so bad as Mario broke blocks in world 1-2. My dad had to buy the NES through a Rent-to-own store because it was too expensive at the time. It was a huge deal when he brought that huge box with Mario and Duck Hunt in it. It was not terribly long before I was enjoying it way more than he would. There were so many times I just wanted to play but could not because he wanted the TV and we only had one in the house. To me, off-screen play on Wii U is a realization of a childhood dream. That dream was realized growing up when we finally got another TV, a small black & white, turn dial TV. It had channels 3 & 4 which is all the RF cable requirement needed. I remember many games I liked. My brother liked Bubble Bobble. I have fond memories of Bad Dudes, Double Dragon, & Mario Bros. (You know the pipes and bumping from underneath), the original Contra, Mike Tyson's Punchout (not Mr. Dream), Dragon Warrior series, Tiger Heli. I had my experience with the original Batman game and thought it was incredible! I remember the frustration and wanting to throw the controller at the screen so many times with the Ninja Turtles game, Kung Fu, and Battletoads, and Ninja Gaiden. What a huge sense of accomplishment to memorize the patterns on the racers in Battletoads, or where to use the candle to open up the latter levels in the Legend of Zelda. I remember when the best football games came from Tecmo and not EA. Reading the posts on here make me feel so old and I'm only barely into my 30's. Good memories with the NES, even more amazing memories with the Super NES. You Nintendo Life guys need to do a series like this on the SNES sometime.

Darknyht

#9

Darknyht said:

Finally beating Contra with 3 lives, no continues, no power-ups for the first time. That and accidentally finding the second quest on The Legend of Zelda because I named the three saves Link, Zelda, Ganon.

Ryno

#10

Ryno said:

A round table about the NES with a bunch of guys that didn't actually own a NES or don't remember it during its prime? At least Dave showed up. Where is Corbs when you need him?

shuis

#11

shuis said:

@Ryno LOL! Ironic is it not? At times it is like hearing what I would sound like describing Pearl Harbor from watching the movie. :-)

Ryno

#12

Ryno said:

@shuis: lol, I enjoyed your reflection on the NES more then this NES roundtable. At least you owned it and have the memories of the system (and so do I) when it was the thing to have as a kid.

unrandomsam

#13

unrandomsam said:

I remember shoot em ups being pretty terrible on the NES. (Crisis Force was Famicom only). Power Strike / Power Strike 2 / R-Type on the Master System were much better than any of the NES ones I played. (Gradius / Xevious).

(Power Strike 2 was released at about the same time as Kirby's Adventure and is probably the best the Master System is capable of but it isn't buggy like Kirby).

When was the NES's prime ? (The TG16 was out by the time Super Mario Bros 3 was released).

Zelda 2 / Super Mario Bros 2 - Lost Levels (Japan) / Crisis Force / Super Mario Bros 3 are probably the only NES games I am bothered about. The rest are inferior in every way to PC Engine versions of the same game. (Other than sometimes having English text).

Castlevania III maybe but I don't like the NES version being inferior to the Famicom one. (Not bothered about the text).

unrandomsam

#14

unrandomsam said:

The UK had the NES version and the Mattel version with different writing on the front of the control deck. One of them was more expensive but I don't know why.

craigmoss19

#15

craigmoss19 said:

My memories of the NES in the UK are vastly different to that of Tom's. I remember it being very popular. I Knew a few people that had a NES when I was a child and I remember every time me and my family went to Toys R Us, there was a whole aisle dedicated to NES games and then there was a tiny section for Master System games. I only knew one person that had a Master System...

element187

#16

element187 said:

Feels kind of weird reading a round table of people too young to experience the NES as it originally was.... To really understand the NES you had to understand what video games were like back in the early 80's just before the NES launched.

The Atari was the console to have just before the NES launched... The backgrounds were static on every game. You had to walk off screen for the background to change to the next scene. NES delivered the first sidescrolling video game which made the game world really come alive. It really brought exploration to video games.

The NES allowed consumers to have almost arcade caliber of graphics in your home. Thats what wowed people the most. Before you had to go pump quarters into a machine to play the latest and greatest graphics.

Video games were EXPENSIVE back then.. NES games cost anywhere from $30 to $40. Which adjusting for inflation is $100+
The NES console itself at $199 which was absurdly expensive. That would be equivalent of almost $500 USD in todays dollars.... My parents rarely ever purchased games for me. Twice a year, once on my birthday, once for Christmas, and the rest of the time was filled out with renting games from the video store.

All in all, I wouldn't trade my early video game memories for anything (1984+)... The games don't stack up to todays standards, and its fun to watch my kid brother play these NES games (he's like 18 now),... But the games are still cohesive enough to still play for fun, compared to Atari games? They are TERRIBLE, the only reason why anyone ever purchased Atari and games is because it really was the only thing out there if you didn't want to purchase a home computer (which were like the cost of 2 or 3 game consoles together).... Nintendo literally saved video games. And if we have another contraction, I bet Nintendo will save the industry a second time ;)

ajcismo

#18

ajcismo said:

There are so many great personal memories with the NES, especially since I got to be part of that generation as a kid. Beating games like Zelda and Zelda II, Dragon Quest, Legacy of the Wizard and the NES versions of Ultima in an age where there was no internet, and sometimes on a b&w tv, was something to be proud of.
Don't miss blowing on the carts, or having to use one cart wedged on top of another cart to hold it in the machine if the spring broke, one bit tho.

thesilverbrick

#19

thesilverbrick said:

I recently had a fun NES re-visit. I play a lot of modern Nintendo stuff with my 8-year-old nephew and recently while playing Mario Bros. U he asked what Mario 1 was like. I dusted off my old cartridges and controllers and we played little bits of my NES collection. He was amazed by the old technology, and I felt old, myself. The best part was teaching him how to blow the dust out of a cartridge, old-school style. I think we'll soon be re-visiting the SNES so he can further his Nintendo education. :)

unrandomsam

#20

unrandomsam said:

@element187 Never did that for me really. Consoles were always gimped at 50hz (PAL) whilst the arcades weren't. Sprite flicker didn't happen either on the arcades either. (The one thing that puts me off nearly all NES games). If they had just put a 50/60 switch on it might have been different. (I got one added to my SNES and played no 50hz after that). Zelda 2 is the first NES game I remember having any real interest in. The Amiga was the first home computer that had any real impact on me. (Don't remember specifics never owned one). Followed by the Archimedes version of Lemmings. The NES was not in the same ballpark.

Dark_Link

#21

Dark_Link said:

Wow the NES. I still remember getting this on my 7th birthday in 1987. I will never forget it. I got Rob, the gun, Gyromite, Super Mario Bros and Dunk Hunt. No gaming experience will ever top the day I first played these games. All we would talk about at school was Super Mario Bros. I remember later on my godfather brought me thi gold game, we all know what this is. I could not believe how great it was to explore anywhere you wanted, metroid came after. The NES saved gaming, things we take for granted now all started from the NES to even the controllers we use. It may not be the best console from a game stand point but its the greatest because it saved video games and it's the most influential by far!

ThomasBW84Admin

#22

ThomasBW84 said:

@Ryno & @Element187 A couple of the guys did have an NES back in the day, and we were also talking about its legacy. I was old enough to have owned one back in the day, but we had a Spectrum (so I know what pre NES gaming was all about) and that system actually allowed us to learn basic programming. Sorry if not owning one "in the day" offended anyone, though frankly the idea that's a flaw of some kind is offensive to me.

unrandomsam

#23

unrandomsam said:

@Dark_Link Dunno whether it did. The Master System and TG16 did much worse than they would have done otherwise because of the NES (And not because of its quality).

arrmixer

#24

arrmixer said:

@shuis
your story is very similar to mine... though it was elevator action that first caught my attention...
but all the games you played i also played gradius.. r-type.. and of course temco bowl!!
that was the first game me and my friends would do some trash talk... awesome!

aaronsullivan

#25

aaronsullivan said:

Super Mario Bros. looked exactly like it did in the arcade. That was a big deal to me at the time as I'd never seen such a feat accomplished. Did extra summer work to buy the NES and was completely swept away. My friend down the street got the entire deluxe set and ROB was kind of fun for awhile with his spinning gyros. He's definitely a one trick pony, but I'm glad I was able to try him out. Of course once my friend and I started to tackle Zelda ROB was quickly forgotten.

bizcuthammer

#26

bizcuthammer said:

My parents had an NES before i was born in early 1989. We didnt get an SNES til 1993, so the NES my parents owned and the Sega Genesis my grandma had were my first gaming memories. Since we're talking NES, i have a few specific memories from my very early childhood.

Punch-Out!! - I remember this being my dad's favorite game. I just recently got to play it with him again on WiiU. It was like a blast from 20 years ago. I couldnt wait til he got home from work every day so we could try and get to Tyson.

Super Mario Bros 3 - The first game i remember begging my parents to buy after renting it several times. Also the first game i remember playing with my younger brother. The super leaf and frog suit are still 2 of my favorite ever Mario power ups.

Bubble Bobble - The only game i ever played in which my mom was better at it than me (at least when i was age 3 or so anyway).

Battletoads and TMNT 3 - I played these games with my cousin at his place for hours on end. Co-op beat em ups were simply awesome for us. We never did beat Battletoads...

Zelda II - I didnt play the original til years later, but the gold cartridge was awesome to me as a kid. I sucked at this game, but i loved exploring the world of Zelda, something I still love to this day.

There are so many other games I remember playing on NES. Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros 1-2, Kid Icarus, Mega Man 5, Kirby's Adventure, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr, Double Dragon II, Double Dribble, Metroid... It was a great system, and started a love for Nintendo games that will always be with me.

Ganon35

#27

Ganon35 said:

Dave was wrong. This actually wasn't the first console to have Mario on it. The Atari 2600 Had Mario Bros. on it.

Relias

#28

Relias said:

Man... my first time playing Nintendo.. was so long ago.. I got to play Zelda.. at the time the NES was still going for like 800 to 1000 dollars believe it or not and the games were 150-300 dollars a piece.. my cousin had one... and.. I was addicted to it... I was already a gamer.. cause I had a Atari 2600... and loved it.. but Nintendo was just awesome.. my jaw hit the floor on the graphics.. LOL.. believe it or not.. those were as realistic as you got... it is a great system.. and has such great games.. that even in this day and age.. it still is the home of many priceless memories.. just awesome..

Sideswipe

#29

Sideswipe said:

Oh the NES, I remember spending so many hours playing games on it.This being my first console I had ever owned.

ecco6t9

#31

ecco6t9 said:

I don't remember my exact first game but my first games were Excitebike,Super Mario Bros,Donkey Kong,Zelda,Metroid.

Very goodtimes for a kid at the age of 2. For the record I am about as old as The Legend of Zelda.

OorWullie

#32

OorWullie said:

At the young age of 35 I am proud to say I've been there basically from the start.I remember my uncle having a 2600 with a collection of games that might have been built in to the system,Adventure I think was the first game I ever saw.I may have been as young as 2 or 3 at that time and I remember getting my own soon after.I then upgraded to the Spectrum 128k +2A and along with my best mate became obsessively addicted to any football manager games.Then it was on to the Master System where Alex the Kidd became the greatest thing I'd ever seen.My first experience with the NES I can vividly remember being Blades of Steel and thinking how great it was as 1 thing I'd never really played before was a decent sports game.We used to regularly swap consoles after that and I used to hate giving him it back,especially after playing Mario 3.Then I saw my mates imported Japanese Sonic,my first and most memorable Wow moment and my allegiance swung back to SEGA.My blind fanboyism made me dismiss anything Nintendo through the majority of the 90's,although I did have a Gameboy for a short time.Most of my nostalgia for Nintendo really began with the N64 but after playing all those amazing SNES games on VC I kind of regret missing out on them.Just like music was at it's best and most creative in the 60's and 70's,the same can be said about gaming in the 80's and 90's.The sense of wonderment and the unknown made for magical times that will sadly never be seen again!

Lobster

#33

Lobster said:

I was born in 1987, so the NES was the first console I can recall, though I never owned one (I was a PC gamer from '89 onward, haha). Several of my friends did, though, so here are some memories.

First off, I never exactly got that "wow" factor because I just accepted the NES as how games were. It took until partway through the SNES lifecycle before games really started to blow me away. (We're talking DKC, Super Mario RPG...)

The first game I remember playing was either Duck Hunt or Mario. Of the two I preferred Duck Hunt because I got to shoot a gun! I also thought the clay pigeon mode was UFOs and I was shooting aliens.

One friend had Fester's Quest. We were in preschool at the time and as you can imagine that didn't really improve things. In fact, we played for maybe an hour and got absolutely nowhere. We had no idea what we were doing. It stands out in my mind because we got SO MAD at it!

Super Mario Bros. 3 scared me because of the level where the sun comes down after you. I would actually start crying. I would refuse to be in the same room with the cart and if I saw someone playing it, I would hide behind my hands and ask, "Is this the level with the sun?"

In preschool I had a babysitter who had a son with an NES. He and a friend would sit there playing it all the time and never let me play, so I would just watch. It was usually a racing game. I don't know which one, but I really wanted to have a turn. When I would ask the babysitter to make them let me play a bit, she would tell me, "Video games aren't for girls." Even though they were the same age as me, she would always make me take a nap and they got to stay up and play the NES instead. I was sooooo jealous.

That about covers it!

aaronsullivan

#34

aaronsullivan said:

I did have a master system, too, and there colors were more vibrant but the platforming games were so awful to control. R-type was great and miracle warriors and then especially Phantasy Star eventually kept it in use but gradius was a far more interesting power up system for shooters. The NES had far better action games. Oh but fantasy zone was a stand out too. It was pretty amazing with the little-used trackball accessory for the Master System. I also really liked Zillion despite its wretched controls.

For the most part the best Master System games were always the "yeah that's pretty good too" games compared to the amazing variety depth and smooth gameplay of the best NES games.

Varia01

#35

Varia01 said:

Great conversation, guys!

I am several years younger than most of you guys, so I started out playing NES games on the Wii Virtual Console. My mom and dad first bought Super Mario Bros 3. It was fun and the idea of the Wii remote sideways did seem very clever to memorialize the NES controller. Then there was Metroid which also had its fun, though it wasn't as great as the other Metroid games I have played. Mega Man 3 was the third NES (I think) game I played and was also really good. I can see why the NES sold well, because the games seem very great. I really think the NES is an amazing gaming console.

TheAdrock

#36

TheAdrock said:

It was 1985, NES was brand new, came with ROB, Gyromite, and Duck Hunt. A friend and I stayed up all night trying to figure out how to use ROB. You cannot understand how awesome it was unless you lived those times. You could go to the arcade (kids today don't even know what that is) and see the same games that you have at home on Nintendo. Capcom games especially. NES is responsible for the video game culture as it stands today. You have to realize that the home console market was dead when NES came out — Atari was old and fail at that point.

Pj1

#37

Pj1 said:

My memories a friend had a nes and we would play, Super Mario bros and Duck hunt. I wanted to buy a nes at the time but the guys at school no wait for the snes! I couldn't in the end I bought a megadrive. After a couple of years I traded in my mega drive for the snes for the Super Mario All Stars pack and even to this day I prefer that collection to the nes versions, one day I am going to play the Zelda series but I will start with the Nes version first....

TheAdrock

#38

TheAdrock said:

While we're waxing nostalgia: to beat a game in those days was very communal with your friends at school. There was no internet to find out secret levels and stuff. For example on Zelda, we'd spend an entire weekend bombing rock walls to find a secret, then make maps on paper of each screen, and share with our friends at school. We'd designate tasks to each other and share what we'd found. It was a special time. You don't get that today.

thepitt

#40

thepitt said:

The first time I played the NES I wasn't aware I was playing it. After a large get together and a bonfire on a family farm I stayed at the Ranchers house over the night. My buddy who I was staying with had a NES and we played Duck Hunk, but after munching down on a lot of good food and staring at the fire I was too tired to even hold the gun straight.

Some months later down in my neighbourhood I was introduced to the NES again this time with Super Mario Bros. I was actually more intrigued with the console itself and wanted one, but knew the pricetag was too much as some years back I wanted a $20 toy for Christmas and that never happened.

Well, for whatever reason my entire family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc ...) all chipped in and I got a brand new boxed NES that came with the light gun and the SMB/Duck Hunt cart. My next game was a hand down from someone who had the earlier NES that came with ROB. The game way Gyromite.

Other games included Super Mario Bros 2, 3, Zelda I, II, and some great shumps. Even though I had the NES I really didn't play it much unless others came over. Due to the fact I was one of the only people to have one in my age group others liked to play too, but we spent most of the time outside acting like kids in the Country. I wasn't restricted to certain hours or days that I could play; I just wanted to be outside with people more then I wanted to sit in front of the TV.

That changed with the SNES :)

Prof_Elvin_Gadd

#41

Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

The most important gaming console in history... Unless there was some super advanced civilization hundreds of thousands of years ago that was into gaming as well ;)

rodoubleb

#46

rodoubleb said:

Like most kids in the USA circa 1988 I got the box that included the Mario/Duckhunt cart for Christmas. Between that and my birthday I had a cool 50 bucks saved up and couldn't wait to go purchase my first game. 50 bucks was A LOT of money back then.

I walked into a Toys R Us that had all the games behind glass. I spent a long time looking and considering. Should I get Zelda? Contra? I knew those were awesome games that would give me hours of joy. But something else caught my eye. A purple game box featuring a muscle ripped barbarian wielding a sword. With a title like Deadly Towers how can you possibly go wrong?

As it turns out, game purchases could go very very wrong. I actually endured the game long enough to beat it, but I also learned a very important lesson in those days before the internet and 3rd party reviews. Always always always rent games first, before you plop down 50 bucks on a steaming pile of excretion.

globalisateur

#47

globalisateur said:

@DRL That's right! I didn't notice the second page of the article...

I have maybe 4 or 5 complete boxed (used don't get too excited) copies of this game. I know, it's weird.

One of the most underrated game of all times! Well, along with Toy Commander on Dreamcast.

FullbringIchigo

#48

FullbringIchigo said:

"distribution wasn’t great (as I recall) in the UK"

really my dad got me one in 1988 for my 4th birthday with no problem (i even still have it)

ThomasBW84Admin

#49

ThomasBW84 said:

@FullbringIchigo Yeah, I didn't mean they couldn't be obtained, just that they weren't particularly visible in game shops etc where I grew up. They were there, but not really much of a "force". Pretty darn pricey too, I believe.

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