Thursday, September 23, 2010

Retro Gaming

Yesterday, my FC Twin arrived in the mail. I purposely chose the one that was silver with purple accents because it had the closest color scheme to the original SNES. Normally I'm not one to pay $10 more for the sake of a color, but I had gift certificates that shut up my frugal side enough to allow me to splurge.

I've spoken on here before how the NES & SNES era of gaming is definitely the most important to me. I managed to lose both those consoles to circumstances beyond my control. The NES was in my mother's apartment to give us something to do when we would visit her every other weekend as pre-adolescents. Unfortunately she eventually got an asshole for a boyfriend who tossed out anything he decided wasn't important, like our NES and its games, as well as my Smurf and Strawberry Shortcake miniatures. This wasn't out of malice toward me and my brother.. I never even met the guy. I'll admit I had just left them behind there and as an adult they weren't on my mind until I was informed that nearly everything in the apartment had been thrown away, and I realized I would never see them again. My SNES and its games I foolishly brought to a friend's house. Foolish because I didn't see the possibility of having a falling out with that friend. That friend eventually went to jail (don't ask) and all his belongings transferred to the house of some other former friends I wasn't on speaking terms with at the time. Their house got flooded to the roof in the aftermath of Katrina. Just like that, no more SNES, no more Final Fantasy III, no more Mario RPG, no more Spiderman and the X-men. Sigh.

Neither of those stories are probably that interesting, but along with the trials and tribulations I once went through in an attempt to get a keyboard back, they stick out in my memory of things I really wanted and lost. Sure, I know ROMs have been available for ages now. You can play every game you had then, plus all the others you couldn't afford or weren't available at the rental store to your heart's content without it ever costing you a penny. I'm guessing if I searched hard enough on the internet these days I'd probably find someone selling USB computer joysticks that resemble NES or SNES controllers, but I know all I've ever had to use on my computer were more generic controllers, and the feel just wasn't the same. I also spend too much time on a computer these days thanks to work so I'd much rather be gaming on a TV.

Virtual console was so exciting when it first came out. The Wiimote is built to resemble an NES controller, and the classic controller is essentially a SNES controller with analog sticks. My current Wii Menu plays host to a large number of Mario and Link titles, along with some lesser known classics like The Adventures of Lolo. I was able to play both Zelda: A Link to the Past (which I never owned but rented many many times) and Super Mario RPG this way again. However, Nintendo has slowly but surely given up on releasing titles on there on a regular basis, and the titles they do release are sometimes highly questionable.

While doing my Bill & Ted research, I was reminded of the NES game. Most people sell it for only $5. After looking through the inventory of one of those sellers, I realized a vast majority of other NES titles were available for the same, and SNES ranged in the area of $10. So much better than the $50 - $60 you have to pay for modern games, and thanks to the internet we know which titles stink and which are great. Of course, rarer titles will raise in price. Sadly, I doubt I'll ever be getting a copy of Earthbound unless I hit a windfall of cash I don't mind splurging.

This past Saturday my boyfriend and I made a trip to the local used game store and picked out a total of 3 games: IronSword (which has Fabio on the cover!), Air Fortress, and Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest. That last choice was mine. I rented that game so many times as a kid I really should have just paid for it outright. This weekend we'll be making a stop at the store's other location nearby to see how their selection differs. I'm sure I'll end up selecting some from ebay eventually too. We also have his entire NES and SNES collection to go through since he was fortunate enough to keep his games.

I fired up all of the games last night to make sure they and the system worked. I'll be honest, the FC Twin is made out of some seriously flimsy plastic. You know how you get all frustrated at a game and you grip the controller in your fury? You probably shouldn't do that with this console. It might snap. It's a nice feature to have a top loader for NES games, thereby eliminating the need to jiggle like you had to do with your original NES, but I had trouble getting the games to actually sit in there. I found I had to open the little sliding doors, look down, then insert the cartridges in the magic spot to make contact. They really should have just made the opening tighter so you wouldn't have that problem. Beyond that it ran great and the A/V hookups made the 8bit and 16bit graphics look as well as they could on my HDTV. Of course the moment you go to play you're going to realize just how great those wireless controllers are on the modern systems. I haven't had to sit that close to the TV to play a game in a while. I wonder if they sell extenders for those controllers like I have for my Gamecube and PS2?

I imagine it's only a matter of time before you see reviews of some of these older games here on this blog. What were your favorite NES & SNES games? Got some lesser known gems to recommend to us? Please share!


  1. NES: I cannot extoll the virtues of the Kemco/Seika trilogy enough. Shadowgate, Deja Vu and Uninvited are adaptations of old Icom PC point-and-click adventure games, and they are unbelievably fun. They definitely take some left-field thinking to figure out some of the puzzles if you don't look online. (Or call the Nintendo Power Hotline like I did when I was 10.) I honestly can't understand why somebody doesn't acquire the license to these things and port them to the DS. Point-and-click adventures would make a MINT as rereleases on a handheld that is all about touching!

    SNES: Get the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers game. (Not "The Movie" title. The original.) It's a fun side-scroller that's pretty easy to beat and has some great controls, and it's Power Rangers FFS.

  2. I'm all about the point and clicks. I've been playing through the Monkey Island series again on the PS3, and I'm excited because I can now play Jak's copy of Maniac Mansion. I used to love that game so much. I'll definitely add the trilogy to my want list.

    And you're right, DS ports are a no brainer.. they've already adapted quite a few for the iPhone so they really should be taking advantage of the other touch based system.

    Power Rangers, huh? I definitely wouldn't have thought of that one. I may check it out via ROM first.

  3. There was one NES game I LOVED, and I royally stunk at the games compared to my brother, but I was actually good at this one. We only rented it. It was something about the Magic Kingdom, you had to find keys, and I remember the Haunted Mansion level I was actually better at than he was (a DEFINITE rarity). I can't remember what the game was called, just that it was fun and was actually playable as compared to many of the other Disney titles at the time that just seemed to have this bizarre level of complexity or challenge that eluded us (hence the lack of Disney titles in his collection).

  4. I'm pretty sure the game you're referring to is Adventures in the Magic Kingdom. I never played it but I recently watched the Happy Video Game Nerd's reviews of Disney Capcom games and he covered it there. Skip ahead to 8:27 on that link to see him mention it. (Warning, he does curse.)

    Jak has Talespin and Rescue Rangers but not the BEST of all Disney NES games, Ducktales, so he may as well not have any at all. ;)

  5. Yep. That's the game. Will have to watch the video clip when Kaity is napping since she is becoming quite the little mimic. LOL


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