Nintendo Nostalgia: 3 NES Games I Loved

Can you remember back to the days when Nintendo was the hottest toy you could get your hands on?  These days, modern kids just can’t put down their phones and all the cheap ass games they play on them.  Back in our day, the same could be said by our parents about our Nintendo controllers.  Well, all except that part about the games being cheap ass.  Those things were expensive.

Regardless of the cost, we loved those old games, and a lot of us still love them today.  We all had our favorites, and here’s three of mine.

Simon's Quest

Castlevania 2:  Simon’s Quest

When Konami unleashed the first Castlevania cartridge on the Nintendo world in 1987, I was still too wrapped up in Super Mario Bros., Excite Bike, and Rad Racer to pay much attention.  Even though the original game was much loved and had a lot of hype around it, I was still impervious to the franchise’s existence when Castlevania 2:  Simon’s Quest rolled out in 1988.

How much advertising was put into it?  I couldn’t tell you.  All I know is, that one Saturday afternoon I took all the money I had saved up to the local K-Mart when my Mom went to do her usual shopping.  I went straight to the electronics section and starting scanning the available Nintendo games, as I was intent on picking one up that day.  To this day, I’m still not sure what led me to pick Simon’s Quest.  Maybe it was the only game they had, or maybe the box art just got to me.  But little did I know, that I was purchasing one of my all-time favorite games for the Nintendo system.  Matter of fact, when I bought a Wii several years ago, I immediately downloaded Simon’s Quest for it and still play it now.

In Castlevania 2:  Simon’s Quest, you take the role of Simon Belmont on a journey to undo the curse placed on him and his family by Dracula at the end of the original Castlevania game.  

Castlevania 2

The quest of Simon to destroy Dracula was the simple premise, but the much more complicated facet of the game was just where in the heck did you find Dracula, and what weapon do you use on him when you find him? You spent your time traveling through towns, forests, and mansions killing skeletons, wolfmen, sea creatures, and everything else that got in your way, including spiders and floating eyeballs.

You earned “hearts” that were like money and you used that money to upgrade your whip and buy additional weapons like Holy Water, Laurel Bushes, Diamonds, and numerous other curiosities. You also had to talk to the townspeople to get clues on which direction to go to find Dracula and how to beat him. All this wrapped into the game made it one heck of a time waster, and I can’t forget the Saturday afternoon that I finally beat this game.

Castlevania II was the first role-playing game that I can ever remember playing, and even to this day, role-playing games are not my cup of tea.  But Simon’s Quest has stood the test of time and holds a special place in my heart as one of the best, and most fun video games I’ve ever played.

Castlevania 2:  Simon’s Quest is readily available on the numerous Nintendo emulator and rom sites you find on the web.  If you never played it back in the day, I highly suggest you give it a shot on some rainy Saturday afternoon and see what you think.

 

Contra

Contra

Is this the best shoot ’em up game the Nintendo ever had? If not, it made a heck of an attempt to be. The big lure to me for this game was the co-operative aspect for two players. My cousin and I loved to team up, put in the code to give us each 30 lives (UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT B A B A SELECT START!), and set out to beat this game on Saturday afternoons. We usually succeeded and celebrated with high fives and pizza slices. This was the ultimate game for two friends to play together and strive to win together. Until a special gun became available and you both tried to be the first one to get to it, and then argue about who got the last special weapon.  Or, when one player ran out of lives and stole one from the other.  That was a small price to pay for such a fun time though.

Contra

The gist of the game was a simple one.  An alien race had landed on Earth and two special forces type men went to snuff them out.  Along the eight levels of play, you could pick up several types of special guns to assist in the battle.  A lot of obstacles stood in your way like exploding bridges, rotating guns, alien creatures, and other assorted challenging terrains to overcome.  

This title has become one of the most loved games of all time, and with good reason.  It was super fun to play, had the cooperative mode, and the storyline was interesting.  This gets one of the highest ratings I could give a game.

 

Rollergames

Rollergames

Well, the NES game certainly wasn’t anything like the television show.  It didn’t feature two teams battling it out for points on the figure-8 track in a classic roller derby battle.  No, in this game, you took control of one of the players and skated around the streets, back alleys, and sewage tunnels battling various bad guys.  And not for points either…you were fighting for your life.

They took the Rollergames themes and just applied them to a side-scrolling fighting game.  And surprisingly, I was ok with that.  I say surprisingly because I was a huge fan of the television series, and when I saw that there was a game available, I was salivating at the thought that I could make my way around that track.  Hell, maybe I could even get up enough speed to go up and over the wall of death like Mr. Mean.  Or I could manipulate the game into going to overtime so we could do battle by the alligator pit!

Rollergames

But no, just a standard fighting game.  Even though the concept was grossly misconfigured in the game, it was actually quite enjoyable.  Well, if you were using the player from the Rockers.  If you tried using the girl from the Hot Flash, she just wasn’t powerful enough to take out the enemies.  And if you tried using the fat tub of goo from the T-Birds, you couldn’t get the speed or jump length for a lot of the challenges in the game.  Using the player from the Rockers was your best hope at beating this thing.

But I got it for Christmas one year, and nearly wore the thing out that Christmas day after all the presents had been opened.  I can’t remember whatever ended up happening to this cartridge, but it’s not in my current collection.  I may have to remedy that.

Well there’s three of my picks.  There’s going to be more coming for sure because I loved a whole lot of games.  Whats some of your favorites?

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