Ahh the glory days of gaming. The original Nintendo entertainment system. I still remember the greatness of smashing my games down with the front of the game hitting the lip, blowing on the cartridge, or any other number of tricks to get those games loading and working. Recently, I have been enticed into re-visiting the glory and fun of the old school games again, and they were and are still fun! Old graphics and all, that system produced countless classics that are still enjoyable. Why are these games still so dang good?
One thing I noticed is that in general these games are pretty hard! You get hit once and usually you are dead. Jumps and timing of moves need to be near perfect. Your skill in general has to be a lot higher, even for simple games like Kung Fu! There is a simple mindless side to these games, then there is another level where to progress you have to actually be pretty good. You’d think you could pick up the title now being a seasoned gamer and just destroy it, but it just didn’t seem to work that way. I’m sure with more days playing I could get used to it all again and master those games I used to burn late into the night on, but the most important aspect is still there, the games are still providing me a challenge and a sense of accomplishment when winning.
Another great aspect of these games were the little things they put in there back then to make them good such as the high five cut scene for a touchdown in tecmo bowl or the dunk cut scene in double dribble. After you have done those things a couple times its totally old and lame, but guess what, super memorable and a point of conversation. I’m not saying I want games designed like that now, just saying if you bring it up to someone who enjoyed that game back in the day, you will share a moment for certain. All these little nuances and glitches that today are silly are now made classic. How about getting a turtle stuck on super Mario and jumping on it multiple times to achieve a high level of free men so you could pass the game? The great thing about some of these things is they weren’t even intended but gamers found them.
Another thing about old school games is when you got too good, and finally mastered a difficult game, you generally upped the stakes artificially. Like going for a high score against friends, passing the game the fastest, or other player imposed ideas to make it more of a challenge. I remember back in the Atari days playing Super Cobra I was so good I turned the contrast way down so you could only see the peaks and valleys of the stages and the obsticles, and was still able to pass it.
Anyhow I’m enjoying a blast from the past right now, its amazing how little space these games actually take up on a computer now days (less than 5MB for probably around 50 games!). I’ll continue to enjoy em for a while, maybe even teaching my own children someday or grand children for that matter. Much love for NES. What are your favorite old school games?