Thursday, 14 July 2016

Classic Video Games

Nintendo just announced this:

For anyone who played video games in the 1980s and 90s, they can clearly see what this is.

It's a small version of Nintendo's very first console (the one that saved the industry) pre-packaged with 30 games, and with HDMI ports for those who have those newfangled TVs. And, personally, I think it's a great idea.

Just looking at the list of games, you would be hard-pressed to deny any of their importance:
  • Balloon Fight
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr. 
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • Galaga
  • Ice Climber
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Mario Bros. 
  • MEGA MAN 2
  • Metroid
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros.  2
  • Super Mario Bros.  3
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Now, one could quibble with omissions. The lack of Contra, Crystallis, Adventure Island, Ninja Gaiden II, Castelvania III, or Jackal, is fairly inexcusable. But, the line up is a good summation as to what made that era of gaming so great, and why the system essentially built the whole industry.

Looking out at the current crop of grey and brown military shooters with ham-handed plots and comparing it to what built gaming in the first place, is a real eye-opener.

The list includes puzzle games, adventure games, fighting games, action games, racing games, sports games, and simple arcade style games. That's more variety than you'll find on your average Gamestop shelf these days.

But let's use one example.

It is my opinion that the NES version of Double Dragon II is one of the best, most underrated games of all time. The stylized graphics, music, and overstuffed controls, gives off a sense of wonder and creativity to the setting that I never get tired of.

Also, unlike the mediocre arcade version, this one has an actual ending, which is pretty rocking. Listen to that final boss music and raise your fists in triumph!

In an era that takes itself too seriously, while not taking important things seriously at all, it is a nice reminder that we can still have fun while being lifted up at the same time.

It's more than just nostalgia. Once games entered the 3D realm, it became harder and harder to find games with a sense of wonder or pure fun as the years went on. You can even look at a fairly early 3D adventure game like Thief and compare it to the recent mediocrity of Dishonored to see all the joy sucked out.

So, good luck to Nintendo on this. Hopefully it is enough of a success that the SNES, N64, and Gamecube, and get the same treatment. And hopefully their next system is a reminder to them, as well as us, what made the hobby so much fun in the first place.

Before I go, let's put one more Double Dragon track out there. Because, why not?

Now I'm all pumped up! I hope you're happy.

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