Me & My Nintendo: A Love Story

Posted: 19th October 2010 by That Ghoul Ava in Video Games

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Nintendo Entertainment system. And while I was too young to understand the concepts of “lust” or “infatuation”, I’m quite sure this was exactly what I experienced back then.

I was 7 years old, and I remember stopping by my friend Jason’s house after school to see it. I sat in jaw dropping delight as I watch Mario jump on Goombas’ heads, slide down pipes, and throw turtle shells. The colors were so vivid! The graphics were amazing – it was like playing a cartoon! Surely I can’t be expected to go back to my Atari 2600 after this!!!

Thankfully, I didn’t have to for long. Fast forward to Christmas Eve, where I unwrapped a brand new NES System, complete with 2 controllers, a light gun & Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt.I was in shock. Life couldn’t get any better for a 7 year old, right?

Hardcore, yo.

Now I give my mother a lot of shit for being hard on me & slightly neurotic while I was growing up, but this Christmas will live in my memory forever (Just like when I got my AT-AT and Ewok Village). On top of all my presents Christmas morning, Santa had brought me a brand new 20″ TV for my room! Now while I want to believe it’s because I was such an awesome kid, I really think it’s because my mom didn’t want to deal with groups of screaming kids in the living room, or to avoid fighting with me over the TV when she wanted to watch Dallas. Fine by me!!!

And a monster was born.

I’m in my 30s and I have owned almost every video game system. In my late teens, I discovered PC gaming & a new obsession was born. I’m a gamer, and I’m not ashamed to say it. But the NES – this is the one that started it. I don’t want to get up on my old lady walker & start screaming about how good games used to be but….I’m going to anyways. Gamers today are spoiled.

We didn’t have no god damn save points. Fucked up at the end of the level? BACK TO THE BEGINNING AHAHAHAHA! Hell, some games didn’t even save your progress! Mom making you go to grandma’s 75% into Master Blaster? Better pause it or you’re starting over!! And if you came to a level that was just so hard you couldn’t get past it? There were no developer forums to go cry on and beg for a fix! YOU FIGURED IT OUT AND LEARNED TO PLAY. Or you found the cheat code in a magazine or paid $2.99/minute to a help line – there was no internet to look this shit up on. I remember spending an entire Saturday to beat Ghosts n’ Goblins – that was a feat. Beating that separated the kids from THE gamers.

Maybe it’s indicative of how society is now. It seems no one wants to work for anything, or even try. Someone sees their neighbor has a Porsche, rather than work hard for it, they whine & cry that they don’t have a Porsche too. Yes, I realize it’s a stretch, comparing video games to real life, but maybe if everyone played on a NES, the world would be a better, less stupid place.

So tell me – do YOU remember your first NES, or similar platform? What games were your favorites? What’s your best memories?

  1. Rubymalvolio says:

    I had almost the same experience as you growing up, the highpoint for me was getting my snes when about 13 with streetfighter 2. Games are so much easier these days with autosave,checkpoints etc. The adrenaline rush you get knowing that if this boss fucks you over again its back to the start of the level, you don’t really get that with most modern games. I think the only thing similar in recent years was when the counter strike mod came out. If you get killed you sit out of the round, no re-spawn. It made C:S a massive success, it is still very popular online while quake/unreal death matches are frantic but quite shit. I do try old nes games on emulation now and again and cannot believe how hard they are, contra on the nes I used to be able to get through almost the entire game without getting hit. Today I am lucky to make it to the first sub-boss without getting my arse handed to me. How I managed to complete zelda/final fantasy games without google I will never understand.

  2. Samodean says:

    I’ll see your Mario/Duck Hunt and raise you a Super Track Meet with the Power Pad pack-in.

    Favorite NES games: Gauntlet, Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, CASTLE-FUCKING-VANIA, Contra, Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man 2 and Super Mario Bros 3.

    Save points? Remember those 48-character passwords?
    In-game maps? I DREW MY OWN for Simon’s Quest.
    GameFAQs? Nintendo Power, bitches!

    It makes me sad when I realize I’ve lost those old-school gaming skills and I’m half the gamer I used to be. Downloading Earthworm Jim on Xbox Live Arcade was a sobering experience. That game was EASY when I was 14.

    • That Ghoul Ava says:

      @Ruby
      Oh yes – SNES was a happy happy day too. I was more into DoD, and actually played competitively. I still find the UT fights fun (I’m such an asshole with a flak cannon) but you are absolutely right – I enjoy those way more.

      @Sam
      ha! I remember when I borrowed that pad from my cousin and my mom said it sounded like the ceiling was going to fall in from us. I never got my own after that :D
      I subscribed to Nintendo Power for YEARS. That was my favorite day, coming home from school to see it standing out on the counter on top of the other mail.

      I hate to agree, but yes – we’ve lost the edge. Ranedor can kick my ass at games I was a god damn prodigy at, and it’s embarrassing.

    • SoulTermination says:

      OMG, Simon’s Quest. I had most of a notebook of notes for that damn game, and loved it. :D

      I actually kind of miss reading Nintendo Power mags, heh.

      The original Legend of Zelda is the first video game I touched when I was about 6, and it’s responsible for my being a gamer today. <3

  3. Lady Erinia says:

    I remember my first NES! I was 3 years old :P Yes, my father raised me right and got me an NES as soon as I was remotely capable of playing. I vividly remember playing Super mario bros everyday.

    Oh, NES, I love you.

  4. Engineernerd says:

    7? I was in High school before I got one. I’ve made big leaps in games. Atari 2600, NES, PS1, Wii. I don’t think I knew anybody that one when they first came out. I do remember a store display at Woolworth’s with the robot thingee.

    I have more memories of Pitfall on the 2600 than any other game. But I do remember renting Golgo 13 the original Punchout for NES. I got a copy of Dragon Quest with Nintendo Power subscription that took up some of my time, as well.

  5. Tomaj says:

    Ah, console games. My favorites were the first time I got to level 99 on Tetris on the NES and the first time defeating the pig level of Virtual Bart on Sega Genesis (SNES version of Virtual Bart was shit). And let’s not forget the utter frustration that was Metroid Prime and the fun of Sonic Spinball. I’m not old enough quite to have had an Atari, but I started on the NES and either played or owned almost every console out there. Still not an XBox fan though. :x

  6. Fondre says:

    I got my NES on Christmas Eve in 86. I was the Nintendo freak out kid that year. With the cost of the system, my parents and grandparents joined forces(wallets) to get me the system and a couple games, Gradius, 10 yard fight, Pro Wrestling.

    The NES was like the second coming for me. I was playing my Atari, Commodore, Coleco for longer than I could remember, I was hooked on River Raid, Enduro, Pitfall, Mousetrap till my fingers were numb.

    Then the NES came out, could not believe the game (Super Mario Brothers) I popped so many quarters into was now in my house. The upgrade in graphics, the strategy needed, the length of the games, I was floored by the NES

    I loved that you didn’t get continues, you pay for your mistakes until you could beat it with precision. I do miss that but now I am older, I need games that help me save time with continues, endless lives and accommodate my busy life with marriage, kids and WoW. Without the NES being so relentless though, there would be no gaming for me.

    As a whole though, the timing of the NES couldn’t have been more perfect for my generation and others to come, it helped get the video game industry back on its feet and people interested in technology that would come, or would come because of the system.

  7. Rezznul says:

    Well, my *first* video game experience was the old-school Pong game, which had 4 controllers fixed on the base (man, I wish I remembered the exact name). I played Pong and Skeet Shooting so much.

    Then, a few years later, we got an Atari VCS for Christmas. I remember walking into the living room after Midnight service, and finding that big old box. Combat and Space Wars were so simple, but they were so much fun. My oldest brother bought Atari Football (well, it was the Sears brand, Tele-Games) — I loved steering those passes. Oh, and Adventure. How could I forget?

    I’d have to say Pitfall! and Kaboom! were my two favorite games. I admit, when I beat Kaboom!, I sent a Polaroid to Activision, and got my patch. I played that damn game so much that I’d start hallucinating due to the waves of bombs and the back and forth motion… it felt like the screen was 12 feet tall. Of course, that just encouraged me to play more.

    However, the NES was a treat, only when I went to a friends. When I decided to get a new console, I went with the Sega Master System — Phantasy Star ate up so much of my time.

    But it still goes back to Christmas Eve, playing Combat with my brother. So, it’s all his fault.